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The 'Chicane'... my evil arch enemy thus far this season | RindyLoucks.com

The 'Chicane'... my evil arch enemy thus far this season

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Chicane 1
Not going straight as I would prefer! Curse you Chicane!!!

Lake Placid, NY. A very sweet little village in upstate New York that I am sure I have mentioned in previous writings. A definite ‘tops’ on my list of the routinely scheduled stops on the sliding circuit for the area’s charm, the quaint architecture and, under most circumstances, a track that I immensely enjoy.
Last week was essentially no different. I was there for the Americas’ Cup races number 5 and 6. And although I still enjoyed the track the ‘rhythme’ of it, its little nuances, evaded me this time round. Try as I might I just could not put all the sections together to get a top run. For the most part I actually had some great runs for the top half of the track. Or for the mid of it. However the bottom eluded me. In fact, and more precisely, it was actually the darned Chicane that got me. And to mess up in the Chicane means to bleed heaps of speed, and thus time, off your run.
The ‘Chicane’ is, for the most part, a straight chute that has a wee uphill at its start but more importantly, and dastardly, it has two sections of opposing slanted ice such that if you come out on the wrong side of the slant it pushes you to the opposite and ultimately sets you up for a late entrance to the rather large corner 17. A corner that entered correctly is rather benign. Entered late and it has the potential to set off a train wreck (or bleed even more speed/time)for the final two corners.
Chicane 2 Entering the Chicane where I don't want to.

To master the Chicane one basically wants a great exit out of corner 14 - a bit of an evil all unto itself as there is a pretty drastic drop out of it that creates a wicked dip as one immediately hits the start of the uphill in the Chicane, such that if one has one’s head even a smidgen too high it gets unceremoniously slammed into the ice. Suffice to say one really doesn’t see much coming out of 14 and yet you need to set yourself up with a good exit point so that you can ‘thread the needle’ through the slanted ice sheets of the Chicane for a lovely entrance to corner 17 (in a perfect world). Also suffice to say that I not once got that good exit out of 14 to thread said needle. So...I spent my Chicane steering and skidding to get over for a not late entrance to 17. The reality is I should have just tucked head, pointed toe and whizzed through to correct once I determined what my entrance to 17 was. Fix it in the corner as it were rather than try to sort it in an area that kills time.
In the end I finished the two races with a 10th and a 9th place respectively. I came away from the week licking my wounded ego a tad as I should have done better on that track. However the silver lining is that a 10th and 9th are still ok points towards my overall ranking and ultimate qualification for Worlds. And the other positive is that all week, each day my push got faster. It is still nowhere in the realm of what I need it to be but that takes time.
And time I now have, at least a bit, as my next race is not until the first week of February. And then it is two more races here in Calgary for the ICC (Intercontinental Circuit). A track I know probably the best out of them all. But…a track I need a push for. The work to improve never ends!

PS - My thanks to Nathan Crumpton for the photo credits and for supplying them to us pro bono!