Andy Wood's Blog

GB Skeleton Athlete

Altenberg Men’s World Cup 5 Time Sheet

Altenberg Men’s WC5

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December 25, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive, Race Time Sheets | 1 Comment

Altenberg WC Preparations

Next stop on the World Cup tour is Altenberg, about 5 hours drive east of Winterberg and still in Germany.  It’s cold.

The Altenberg track is probably the most technical in the world, which makes it tricky as I haven’t been here for 3 years!  The first 2 days were challenging, the timing of my steers were off and my lines down the track were not very pleasing on the eye!  It was to be expected.  I’m still having trouble with the kreisel, which is the name for a loop in the track, although I’ve managed to fix quite a lot of other problems.  The start area here is also unique as it’s long and flat, meaning we have to run a lot further than we normally do.  This, coupled with the high pressures in a lot of the corners and the concentration needed makes it a tough week on the ice!  I think the Christmas break after this race will be well deserved.

Yesterday we had a group of kids come and watch from one of the local schools.  As you can see in the picture, they were at the start at one point, cheering us all on!  We also had a BBC film crew out with us to get some footage and interview us individually for Ski Sunday.  I think it’s showing on the 27th Dec, but I’ll confirm at a later point.  Today it was the coldest day so far at -8*C but it’s due to drop further over the coming days.  It’s the last day of training tomorrow, with the mens race on Friday morning and the women’s race Friday lunchtime.

Gute Nacht!

December 16, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

News Feed

BBC – Skeleton star Shelley Rudman finishes fourth in Germany

I get a mention too 😉

December 15, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

News Feed

Andi Schmid Winterberg Interview

December 13, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

Winterberg Men’s World Cup 4 Time Sheet

Winterberg Men’s WC4

December 12, 2009 Posted by | Race Time Sheets | Leave a comment

10th in Winterberg

Back on Ol’ Faithful and back to a respectable finish in a race!

Having 6 runs to get used to a different sled again wasn’t ideal preparation, but I seemed to get back into the groove on my old sled pretty quickly.  I have a few people to thank for their 6 hour drive through the night to collect my sled earlier in the week.  The work didn’t stop there, I spent so much time this week working on my sled.  As I’ve put on weight since last season (good weight!),  my combined weight with my sled was over the limit.  I had to change the weight plates for lighter ones, reposition some of the smaller weights so that I was well balanced when lying on my sled and cut loads of bits of foam into funny shapes to fill out all the gaps in the sled!  I missed a couple of gym sessions in the process but maybe the rest from physical training was good.

In the race I pushed 2 PB’s and for both runs I was the 3rd fastest man in the whole field on the start.  The weather wasn’t good – snow on and off and poor visibility so the track wasn’t fast.  I was 12th after the first run and managed to gain 2 spots on the second taking me up to 10th position and my best finish on the World Cup to date.  I stood in the leader box along with my Dad for 2 runs, hoping to gain some more positions and waving a happy birthday banner for my niece Tilly who turns 1 next week!

So all the planning, the trip to Innsbruck, the night driving and the 10 hours of sled work all paid off thankfully!

Next stop Altenberg, also in Germany, for the 5th and final World Cup race before the Christmas break.

Men’s top 6:

1 Martins Dukurs 01:59.06 Latvia
2 Frank Rommel 01:59.81 00.75 Germany
3 Alexander Tretiakov 01:59.87 00.81 Russia
4 Tomass Dukurs 01:59.98 00.92 Latvia
5 Michi Halilovic 02:00.08 01.02 Germany
6 Kristan Bromley 02:00.51 01.45 Great Britain

Women’s top 6:

1 Kerstin Szymkowiak 02:04.72 Germany
2 Mellisa Hollingsworth 02:05.22 00.50 Canada
3 Svetlana Trunova 02:05.49 00.77 Russia
4 Shelley Rudman 02:05.54 00.82 Great Britain
4 Michelle Kelly 02:05.54 00.82 Canada
6 Donna Creighton 02:05.73 01.01 Great Britain
6 Marion Trott 02:05.73 01.01 Germany

December 11, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | 2 Comments

Busy day tomorrow

We had an extra day of sliding on the Winterberg track today.  I had to use my new sled as my old one (which I’m switching back to) is on its way up from Austria.  There seemed to be an issue with the setup today as I kept being dragged left on my way down the track!  Luckily today was all about getting the orientation of the track in my head before the official training starts tomorrow.

Before our afternoon training starts tomorrow, I’ve got a busy morning!  I have half my old sled here in Winterberg and the main frame is on its way from the sled mechanic in Austria.  I have to fit it all back together, find the right body position on the sled so that its balanced, acquire what we call ‘footprint’ settings (the measurement of how much we bow the runners), then I’ll be on the blower to the London Evening Standard who would like to do an interview for the build up to the Olympics.  I’m not sure when it’ll be out but I’ll let you know.  Then I need to find a hotel in Winterberg for my Dad to stay in, as he’ll be coming out to watch the race on Friday 🙂 and find time to do my gym training!

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

Krampus is coming!

I’m in Innsbruck, Austria for a quick pitstop to change sleds.  My visit here coincides with the Krampus festival.  It’s when Saint Nicolaus comes to town and if the kids have been good, they receive a bag of sweets.  If they’ve been a right pain all year, instead of Saint Nicolaus visiting them Krampus comes after them, which is a big hairy monster who attacks the children by hitting them with a fistful of sticks!  It’s customary for teenagers to dress up as krampus at night and attack people at random.  Time to keep my eyes peeled and have my running legs on I think!

I must of been good this year as I got to meet Saint Nicolaus 🙂

December 5, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | Leave a comment

Slug-like in Cesana

Having arrived in Italy a few days early, we had the opportunity to do a few extra runs before the 3 days of official training started.  This was great news, as it would give me more time to play around with my sled setup and find what works best for the conditions and the type of track here in Cesana.  I tried many different variations of the setup but I couldn’t find one which gave me a competitive down time.

As a result, I went into the race today well prepared and motivated as always, but not really having high expectations for a good finish.  It was just as well as I managed a 21st place in the final standings.  Thinking back over the single run that I had in the race, I can’t place a finger on where I lost so much time.  It was a good run.  Even my coaches who watched me on the big TV as I descended said that they couldn’t see anything wrong with my lines.

With this race result in mind, as well my training and race performances in N.America, We’ve decided it would be best if I move onto a different sled for the next race.  Don’t get me wrong, I think these new Blackroc sleds are fantastic and have huge potential, it’s just that I need to get results now and I think I would need a lot more runs to get the most out of this sled.  Unfortunately time is not on my side.  It’s Olympic season and I need to perform if I want a chance of going to the Vancouver Games.

So now we’re heading off to Winterberg in Germany.  I’m taking a detour via Innsbruck to get setup on a sled which is similar to my Bromley one which I’ve been using for the past few years.  Hopefully then I’ll be back performing at my best again.

Men’s Race Results:

1 Jon Montgomery 01:55.54 Canada
2 Martins Dukurs 01:56.01 00.47 Latvia
3 Jeff Pain 01:56.05 00.51 Canada
4 Michael Douglas 01:56.15 00.61 Canada
5 Sandro Stielicke 01:56.25 00.71 Germany
5 Frank Rommel 01:56.25 00.71 Germany

Women’s Race Results:

1 Shelley Rudman 01:57.46 Great Britain
2 Marion Trott 01:57.81 00.35 Germany
3 Mellisa Hollingsworth 01:58.13 00.67 Canada
4 Kerstin Szymkowiak 01:58.32 00.86 Germany
5 Katie Uhlaender 01:58.61 01.15 United States of America
6 Noelle Pikus-Pace 01:58.76 01.30 United States of America

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Blog Archive | 2 Comments

Cesana World Cup 3 Time Sheet

Cesana Men’s WC3

December 4, 2009 Posted by | Race Time Sheets | Leave a comment