I am now home and another season is in the books. Like all my seasons doing this great sport, this year has had plenty of ups and downs, successes and failures. But overall I would have to say this was the most consistent years we have had, and heading into the 2011/12 season that was one of my main goals.
In the 4 man, which I feel is my specialty and my favorite, we flat out struggled all year long. Our expectations were high coming in and for good reason. The crew of Cody Sorenson, Jesse Lumsden and Neville Wright is the fastest group of guys I have ever teamed up with. In preseason testing all of us tested better than we had ever tested before and our individual numbers added up to be a powerhouse team. But like so many things, just because it looks good on paper doesn’t mean it will be in the real world. I believe our struggles to find our pace in the 4 man can be explained by our lack of experience as a team. Cody living in Ottawa, Neville in Edmonton, me in Sylvan Lake and Jesse being a last second addition to the team meant that we had virtually zero cohesion time. We literally began working together the week of our first World Cup in Austria. It took until the final 2 World Cups of the season in Canada for us to really put down the times that we were capable of. In 4 man the unit really has to come together for the start times, loads into the sled, and the driver to trust all of that to perform at the highest level. Compound that with the fact that all the program’s innovation and technical efforts were focused on the 2 man, we were neither starting fast enough nor slid on as fast equipment as the premier teams. The unfortunate result was we were not a force this season in the 4 man. Other than a bronze medal performance at the Whistler World Cup, (where many of the teams were sliding with skeleton crews in fear of crashing…), we spent the entire season consistently being mediocre, placing in the 6th to 12th range, finishing 7th both in the overall points and World Championships. This is by no means good enough for Team Rush and fortunately the future is much brighter!
First off we have addressed our lack of team cohesion with a long hard year of unacceptable results together, and nothing motivates a group of proud individuals more than that. Cody has decided to move out west for this offseason and we have vowed as a team to train together and push each other harder than ever before. Plus our material Supplier Eurotech who has done such an amazing job with the 2 man sleds has turned their attention to 4 man. With a new sled on the way and a great team, we are confident and exited about the future in 4 man.
The 2 man campaign in contrast was a very successful season. Coming into the year I was uncertain on how things would go in 2 man because of all the significant changes we made from last season. The major change was switching into an all new sled; build by Bobsleigh Canada’s new equipment provider Eurotech. Eurotech is a Dutch company that has a background in building Marcos racecars as well as bobsleds for the Netherlands. The sleds are very good but what really sets this relationship apart the hands on support we receive. The builder and engineer Marc Vandenberg is on tour with us full time with a motorsport tractor trailer while we are in Europe and enough tools and parts to build another sled. The sleds are as good as any of our competitors but our technical support is by far the best in the world. Add to that the world class starts that we had thanks to the emergence of Jesse Lumsden as the 2 man brakeman, and we were in the hunt for medals every time we hit the ice this year in 2 man. Our worst finish of the season was 6th place and we collected a World Cup Gold and Silver as well as finishing second in over all points on the season. Our biggest achievement came a couple of weeks ago in Lake Placid, New York where we won Silver at the World Championships. This was my first ever World Championship medal and really is as big of an accomplishment as winning an Olympic medal. Worlds is the race that all the teams are peeking for plus it doesn’t have the equal representation quotas like the Olympics, so it is a true best on best competition.
2011/12 was a great year over all for Team Rush and we could not have done it without the support we receive from our team and federation sponsors. If you are reading this you are one of those people that helped us, so a big THANK YOU and CONGRADULATIONS go out to you from all of Team Rush for being an member of the Team.