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I put together a little video about my latest skiing adventure. I hope you get as much chuckle from watching it as I did making it!

Skiing

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I just got home late last night from a week of skiing with NEHSA (New England Healing Sports Association).

This was the first sports clinic that I have been too and I now realize how much fun I have missed for the past 20 years.

This particular clinic was held at Mount Sunapee, New Hampshire. I cannot say enough good about the organization, the location and the Veteran’s Administration for putting on such an event.

The skiing was SO much fun! But the bonus for me was meeting so many great participants and volunteers to make the week a huge success.

A special thanks to my ski instructors, Mark and Kevin! They were phenomenal to work with and get to know. And to Ken who joined in with our group and let us use his Go-Pro to capture one of my “finest” moments! lol

The plaque on the trophy that I was awarded says it all! And here is a link to a video to show my comedic moment. Skiing 

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Feb 23, 2014

Greetings and thanks for your interest in the United States Adaptive Bobsled & Skeleton  Association.

We are the only Organization of its kind in the United States who’s mission is to support athletes like Matt Bailey and others who have suffered traumatic life changing illness, Paraplegia or amputation in the new and emerging world class sports of Para Bobsled and Skeleton.

Our Association is completely self funded and currently receives no funding from the USOC or other US Sport Institutions and therefore humbly invites you and your organization to participate as a sponsor for our disabled athletes.

Currently, the International governing body of the Sport of Bobsled and Skeleton (IBSF/FIBT) has embarked upon a mission to see these sports become an official medal “Paralympic Sport” but we need your help.  Athletes like Matt Bailey and others are pioneers of the sport and are looking to represent the USA in current world cup competition here at home but also in other countries like Latvia, Canada, Austria, Switzerland and more. That is where the competition and training takes place in our sport.

Please consider a tax deductible donation to our association at www.USABSA.org to assist those who suffer from Paraplegia, Quadriplegia, Amputations and more to enable them to participate, pioneer, train and compete, representing the USA in the exciting sports of Bobsled & Skeleton.

For more information, please contact our Director and Founder, Dave Nicholls at bobsledgold@gmail.com or call 310-383-6855.

Thank you for your support !!!

 

 

 

 

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bob3I woke up Monday morning trackeager to begin my learning and training of bobsledding. Mornings were relaxed and not rushed which worked out well for me. Gave me plenty of time to get ready each day and feel well rested and prepared.

The next three days were filled with bob2meetings, classes, memorizing the track, and working with a physical therapist 1606841_10201295122241856_856618144_nfor strength testing and my ability of getting in and out of the bobsled. Meetings were fine, classes were fine, memorizing the track was fine, my upper body strength was fine….getting into and out of the bobsled…not so fine. As you can see from the picture, a bobsled is shaped rather like a bullet with a section of the top removed. Also because of the shape of the bobsled, I was not able to get my wheelchair very close. That meant quite a large lift up, over and down into the sled without damaging myself. (The sled was safe from harm) I think if the sled and me were the only two things on the top of the mountain away from prying eyes and my personal embarrassment, I could have eventually made it into the sled. But I assure you it would not have been a pretty sight. Thankfully, once again, there were volunteers on hand to help lift me up and into the sled. Even then it was not the smoothest of activities for me or them. They were trying to lift me up and over, while at the same time, bending over the sled without killing any of us. I need to pick up a few chiropractic bills for their efforts. once seated in the sled as the driver, the only thing that showed above the sled were my eyes. The “brake-man” sits in the back of the sled while leaning completely forward, head between the knees. He/she sees absolutely nothing of the entire trip down, completely trusting on the skill of the driver. Talk about blind faith! After crossing the finish line at the bottom, the driver yells “BREAK!” and hopes that the brake-man hears. Just in case the brake-man did not survive the trip down, there is plenty of run-out track to use up, with a wall at the end of that. So either way, you will stop. 🙂

1559826_10201311057440226_1628743023_n156898_10201311057880237_1212207756_nIf you look at the map of the run I included, you will see at the top of the mountain there is a Men’s and Ladies’ start. Both starts are the same difficulty, so I’m not real sure of the name difference. Our group used the Men’s start. I say our group, but that is only partially correct. Only very experienced drivers start from the top. Speeds of up mapto 90 mph can be reached 1533918_10201311056200195_1488678155_nfrom the top. If you follow the trail down to just above curve #6, you will see the junior start. By Thursday I had passed the therapist’s exams, getting in and out of the sled, and was deemed ready to drive a bobsled from the Junior Start. For those of us who were facing our first driving experience, some of us were a little bit on the nervous side…mainly me. Before the driving experience, the first thing on the agenda of the day was the “track walk.” The able-bodied track crew put crampons on their boots, tied ropes to the back of our wheelchairs, and began walking down the track with us sliding along in front. This was quite the experience in and of itself. Our coach explained each curve in great detail of how we should head into it, when to make slight driving directions to the left or right, or remain in the neutral position. This is where the importance of memorizing the track became very apparent as we would have just mere seconds to make adjustments. I heard the words “slow-rollover” several times which did nothing to improve my jitters.

After the track-walk, a truck took us back to the top and we received our starting number. I was number three to go. I got my helmet, goggles, gloves and courage on as I was assisted into the sled. My break-man climbed in behind me as I heard muffled “good lucks” and “have a great ride” from everyone. The crew pushed us off and after 48 seconds of “ooomphs” and “AAHHHS!” we were sitting at the bottom. If you ever need an adrenaline rush, this should do it for you. I felt horrible for my break-man as I realized my poor driving must have killed him in the back. He was very gracious as he calmly told me “no problem, you just helped me appreciate life more.”  LOL  Me too!

941483_416685865101075_1954001966_nSo that was my very brief moment as a “Paralympian Athlete.” I had a fantastic time, made many new friends, and am very content being home for a while. Maybe I will try origami next.

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There is nothing better after a long day air travel than being met by someone at groupthe airport who is waiting for you. Thankfully that happened to me upon my arrival in Utah. I was met by one of our many volunteers and his family. It was so nice getting to know them and listen to his two young children jabber away about life. Joe became a great friend and earned his keep as a volunteer helping to lift me in and out of numerous vehicles and bobsleds.

They took charge of my luggage at the airport, brought me to my hotel and brought my luggage to my room after check-in. I cleaned a day’s worth of travel grime off me, and then we all left to go to a welcome party at the base of the Olympic Park.

JimmyThe place had video images being shown on the walls of bobsledding, skiing, snowboarding and many other winter sports to wet our appetite for the upcoming events. There was a live band, food, drinks, a local artist with his paintings around,  and best of all, many of the other athletes, friends and volunteers. And a very special guest of honor, JIMMY SHEA 2002 gold medalist winner in the skeleton was there! Everyone was amazing, helpful, friendly and so excited to have us there. The excitement and enthusiasm was a great way to start the week off for me in an arena of so many unknowns.

Cameras were flashing all night and video footage also. I am writing this blog post too early since I do not have any of the professional pics yet. Once I get them, I will do a simple post with nothing but pics and videos.

I went back to the hotel that night eager to face the next day of new challenges. Stephen King said in his 1983 novel, Different Seasons, “Get busy living or get busy dying.” I plan on living.

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