Saturday, February 27, 2010

Van-Coovo 2010

Hello everyone. Due to my former blogging partners meetings with investors, I have been asked to fill in for the time being.

The Vancouver Olympics are winding up. I wanted to pass this along last week at the beginning of the Games but I, like a true TLATL shareholder, am just getting around to it now. Partially inspired by today's events. The USA won their first Gold Medal in Four-man Bobsleigh in over 62 Years.

Most of you have probably read this before, but I have had the occasion to forward it a few times of late and thought I would share my trip down memory lane with you, the entire galaxy. It was by far the most complimented of the e-mails I sent out 8 years ago and is kind of relevant to these games, for both tragic and historic reasons.

This e-mail was sent January 2, 2002 from the soon to be Olympic Village in Salt Lake City, where I was working at the time:

Yesterday, as the ball dropped here in Utah (on a 2-hour tape delay), someone echoed the popular sentiment, "Man, I can't believe it is 2002!" I was like, "It's not 2002, If it was 2002 that would mean the Winter Olympics were like less than a mon----OH CRAP!" Yeah if you haven't picked up the notion from the first couple e-mails things are busy and that is what leads me to work to type you this e-mail hear on New Years Day while my scheduling system attempts to schedule the volunteers. Technology rules.

The subject number may seem a little odd two you. Well, let me add two more to the mix. 0, 200. Making any more sense. Probably, if you've spoken with me since Saturday, December 29. You see that was the day when my Olympic dream came true and burst at the same time.

0 is for how many limbs I lost in getting to accomplish my dream, but 200 is how many dollars it cost me.

52.30 was how many seconds it took to accomplish the dream, and 81 MPH is how fast I was going when it was accomplished.

That's right contestants, I went down the bobsled track, or bobsleigh track. For clarification, Bobsleigh is the event and bobsled is the device used. Details I know, but what details they are.

I know $200 is a lot of money to spend for 52 seconds of fun, but the price is high for a couple reasons. One is that there are only two places in the US that have bobsled tracks (Lake Placid and Salt Lake) and only 16 in the entire world. The opportunity to do this extreme sport is very rare. Secondly, is that they do it at night and have fully operational scoreboards, equipment and staff to assist you. The bobsleds are specially designed to hold non-experienced Bobsledders. The brake has been moved from the back to the front and ropes line the inside of the bobsled for us to hold onto. In short, $200 was well worth it.

We arrived at 7:00pm and went directly to Men's Start house at the very top of the hill. I had no idea how steep a track was. I am no altitude expert, but I would say it was at least a 400 ft. drop in altitude from start to finish. We were able to drive all the way up to the top of the track which spectators won't be able to get near during the games. From there we checked in, signed our waivers, and received our pins and lanyards that identified us as participants in the ride-a-long program. We then had a brief introduction of staff and the format for the evening. We did a "draw" to determine who would go down on what sled. I was on sled number three. We then watched a video detailing our instructions for when we got in the the sled. There was some repetition but the information was very specific and thorough. One of the things that they told us is that we would be traveling at a peak speed of 80-82 MPH. The Gold medal winning team in Nagano reached a peak speed of 76 MPH. This track was built for speed. It also helps that its elevation is one of the highest in the world.

Now it was time to venture out to the start house and send the first sled on its way. We were divided up into groups of three for the draw so I was paired with two dudes from San Diego (I went with a friend form the Village but we were split up do to the numbers game). We got fitted into helmets as the first sled was being pushed from the start gate. No, we did not get to push and jump in though I would not have been opposed to it. In case your wondering I needed a XXL helmet. We only had two sleds and two drivers so when one went down, it was brought up by the sled truck then positioned in the starting gate. They assigned us where to sit and I was given the fourth seat. In that seat you sit higher than any of the four but you also get whipped around more, but I was yet to realize that. We sit in the sled and wait for an all-clear from the track. Once that is given, three of the staff gently shove us down the track and we are on our way.

You know how in car commercials they tell you how this car can go from 0-60 in 5.2 seconds. I'd like to know how fast we we went from like 10-70, because before I knew it we were cruising. They told us to try and count all 15 turns. Come on. Now way was that possible. Really before you know it, it was over and it basically put every roller coaster I've ever ridden to shame. We received a card with our time and top speed, along with a Polaroid of the sled and crew. We then got to go to some of the turns and watch other sleds go down. Surprisingly, the railing for spectators to watch are right up against the track leaving you like two feet from the actual ice on the track. And when that sled rumbles by you it was almost as intense as the ride itself.

That was it. My dream has come true, to ride an Olympic bobsled. However, I also realized that bobsledding, is indeed a sport and any faint fantasies I might have had a pursuing this sport are now history. I mean really you push a sled and jump in. These drivers though were built like brickhouses and you need to be to control a sled going that fast. I think most of the ride-a-long dates are booked but this will continue next year and most likely for years to come. So if you're out here, got some spare change and an interest, call Utah Olympic Park and you will be able to take the ride of your life.

Happy New Year.


The pictures of me, my riding mates and our sled, but they are on my old computer which is boxed up in my storage closet. A real blogger would get that puppy out, extract those jpg's and do this right. I, am not a real blogger anymore.

This link has information on rides should you you find this something that you want to do.

Happy sledding!

Friday, February 12, 2010


It's cold out there, folks. Not just in The Loop or The Lou. I saw one of TLATL's readers buzz about the temperature in his city...

(Inevitable tangent - do you like Google Buzz? I've stated before that I've intentionally avoided the "social" scene. It may be that I'm missing out on all the fun, but for whatever reason I just don't like my name and info all over the place. But, I understand the draw.

The funny thing is that as a result of the buzz launch, all my friends started following my Shared Items on Google Reader, which is what I've been trying to get everyone to do for years!

But I digress... )

It's so cold that the Mississippi River froze! No kidding. A good friend of mine sent me the link to some great pictures of a frozen Mississippi. I bet you could catch some great driftwood if you were to ice fish on our muddy rio.

And speaking of ice fishing, has anyone ever gone ice fishing? I'm not much for fishing myself, so I can't imagine ice fishing would be much better. But that's just me.