Laura Cornelius

Life on the Road

The Buzz of the Bobsleigh

March 05, 2013

Tags: Laura Cornelius, St Moritz, Olympic, Bobsleigh track, 2013, Switzerland, English, Travel

Its been ages since my last post. My reason? I have not really been anywhere, well nowhere worth reporting about to the world anyway. Chicago was the last trip I did back in September, where I ate myself silly, so I could barely fit in any of my clothes on my return, but hell it was worth it. I have just returned back from Swtizerland a few days ago, the snowy alpine village of St Moritz in particular, which could be described as one of the poshest places in the world (so posh Prince Edward was there!) It reminded me of Monte Carlo in a way that all the people had the same pinned-back faces, metres of real fur draped around them and a pug dog following behind them. Not my scene at all, but interesting and the landscape was beautiful.

The view from the road on which I stayed in St Moritz
The view from the road on which I stayed in St Moritz

Within a few days of being there, I had trekked up to the Bobsleigh club to have a little gander at what went on up there. There were bobsleigh, skeleton and cresta races every morning for those nuts enough to put their bodies through that. I had always wanted to go in a bobsleigh since I was about 8 years old, watching the Winter Olympics at home with my family. Then when 'Cool Runnings' came out, which was such a classic film, it publicised the sport even more and never in my wildest dreams did I think I would actually ever get the chance to do it. St Moritz was not just any place to do this as well. It was THE place to do it, being the oldest bobsleigh track in the world (1904) and the only one that was naturally refrigerated. Funnily enough some of the locals also told me the film was very close to the truth and the Germans really were that ruthless when it came to winning their Olympic medals!

Visitors can walk down beside the track to wait which I did when I got there. As you walk down beside the track you start to hear a faint rumbling in the distance which quickly gets louder then with a flash of colour the bobsled has past, vamoosh, so quick I don't recommend trying to take a photo!

View from edge of the track
View from edge of the track

I wasn't really that worried about going down the run as I knew a professional, Olympic driver and braker would be at the front and back. It might sound a bit big-headed but being the thrillseeker I am, I had jumped out of planes, hang-glided off cliffs, bungy-jumped and dived with sharks before, so I was like 'pah, this will just be like a rollercoaster', but I'll have you know it was no picnic in the park!! I had been told before we set off to try and keep my head up as much as possible because if I let it drop, I wouldn't be able to pull it back up because of the G-Force and then I wouldn't be able to see anything, so with that impaled in my mind, I prepared for the green light. Casual as I was about it, my tummy fluttered a little at this point which I think was pretty normal.

Balaclava and helmet at the ready
Balaclava and helmet at the ready

Okay, maybe this is a bit scarier than I first thought...
Okay, maybe this is a bit scarier than I first thought...

Ready for the Off!
Ready for the Off!

Arrgghhhhhh
Arrgghhhhhh

I couldn't believe how quickly the pace actually picked up from just a little push at the start line. As the speed continued to increase, I felt my eyes start to water and my face get colder from the wintery breeze and snow that was also falling. There had been no bends at this point and I was already screaming, much to the amusement of the driver who I was clinging on to as well. Then, suddenly as the bob turned the first bend, named 'Sunny Corner' I thought my heart was going to leap out of my mouth.

The track
The track

It took me totally by surprise, so much so I actually shut up. I find I usually scream and shout when I am having fun but when I am really s*** scared I am just quiet. My eyes were beginning to stream hopelessly and every time we hit a bend my helmet smashed back and forth on each side of the bob, which probably frightened me the most. After the initial first bend, i got more used to the feeling and started to scream again. We got up to around 100mph which seems mental when you imagine a car going that fast and the bends we were hitting. The 1.2 kilometer long steep slick ice track drops 514 feet with the average race time taking just 75 seconds, though it felt much faster in fact. It all happens within seconds but it is a real thrill to experience it. While the run is over in under two minutes the adrenaline and memory will last a lifetime and I am definitely glad I can tick the experience off my bucket list!

Oh, I did go skiing as well. But that was boring compared!

Back to poker and with the London Poker Festival already having started I am very excited to be helping out PokerNews and PokerStars.tv at EPT London. We start filming on Saturday, ready for the tournament to officially begin on Sunday 10th at The Vic, so I hope to see everyone down there at the felt. Good Luck!!

Laura
www.lauracornelius.com

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