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USA Bobsled and Skeleton

World Cup #1- Lake Placid

Wow! I’m not really sure where to begin! I have so many thoughts and feelings all jumbled up inside of my head…so I’ll try to get them down as coherently as possible!

Sliding through Curve 10- photo cred to super fan Ken Childs!

Sliding through Curve 10- photo cred to super fan Ken Childs!

My first World Cup race was everything I’d imagined and more. I was so fortunate to be surrounded by my family, friends, teammates, my ORDA family (and track crew!), the sports med department and my coaching staff.  I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the love and support that was shown during the race…my phone, twitter and newsfeed were blowing up with an outpouring of encouragement and because of such I feel so. incredibly. lucky.

The week of training leading up to the race was a little iffy- I put a ton of pressure on myself for this race (because it’s my home track!) and really wanted to perform well.  However, each day I was really tense on my sled and was just slightly “off.”  Each day I struggled with the straightaway from Curve 1-2 which is an area I never have an issue with.  Needless to say, I was a liiiiitle nervous for race day!

Annie and I excited to head out to the first World Cup of the season!

Annie and I excited to head out to the first World Cup of the season!

The morning of the race I finished up some last minute sled work, stopped by Sports Med for a quick check-up to make sure my muscles were firing properly and sewed my race bib.  The race bibs are a “one size fits all” deal, but we tailor them to fit us as tightly and aerodynamically as possible.  I stopped by my teammate Annie’s room for some help, since I have never sewed a race bib before.  Annie, has been a HUGE help to me this past week.  As a World Cup vet, she knows the ropes and we collaborated a lot throughout the week, discussing runner choices and lines and throwing different ideas back and forth.  I’m so thankful for her assistance this past week, and I’m excited to keep working together over the course of the season.  Expect big things from us!

I won’t lie- I was pretty nervous for my first run!  Definitely more of a “good” nervous than a bad nervous, but I was anxious to get going.  I could barely feel my legs at the start!  Because of such, it wasn’t very good but I felt at home once I got onto my sled.  I finally nailed Curves 1-3 but I was still pretty tense on my sled and did not absorb the hit out of Curve 3 very well.  I subsequently bolted over to Curve 4 very quickly and hit the uptake into the curve.  I got knocked flat and late, which caused me to drop out of the curve and hit before Curve 5.  From there, I got back on track and had a pretty decent run with good speeds, but the damage was done: I was sitting in 10th place, not what I was working toward.

The women's podium- photo courtesy of the USABS

The women’s podium- photo courtesy of the USABS

With the first run out of the way, and feeling a big relief of pressure, I knew I had to get after it on the second run.  After a quick rest and snack, I warmed up again and got set for the second run.  Again, my push wasn’t very good (which to be honest has been frustrating- my off-season training went great this summer and for some reason isn’t translating to my push and it’s actually been slower this year than last!) but I got onto my sled determined to RELAX and make my way down the track as quickly as possible. I felt great about my run when I crossed the finish line but while heading up the outrun, I had no idea what my time was, only that I was currently sitting in the lead.  Once I stepped into the Leader’s Box, I was informed that I had just laid down a great run with great speed and that I had the potential to move up quite a few spots.  As the next few sliders came down, I started moving up slowly one by one.  It was pretty surreal- I moved up FIVE spots to secure 5th place, and was .04 away from 4th!  I made the podium in my first World Cup and as it turned out, my run was the second fastest of the second heat!

Overall, my first World Cup race was a great success and fantastic experience.  My friends and family made my WC debut so special, and I was so glad that my Mom and Grandparents (both sides!) could make it to the race!

I’m currently en route to Calgary, Canada for the second World Cup race of the season, and the final race of the first half.  I compete on Friday December 19th!  I’ll be sure to post the link to the YouTube channel that will live stream our race again.  Until then, thanks for following!

Savannah Graybill's college strength coach was contacted by 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Elana Meyers, who was looking for new recruits for bobsled.  Graybill tested out the sport of bobsled before deciding to make the switch to skeleton.  She made the national team her first full year involved in the sport. Graybill played division I field hockey at American University where she was a four-year starter as a forward and finished ninth in career points and eighth in career goals.  Graybill graduated with a bachelors degree in broadcast journalism with a minor in psychology.  Check out Graybill's blog, www.pushfromthetop.wordpress.com, to learn more about her journey, or follow @savvanahjane1 on Twitter.

*Athlete blog entries are the sole opinion of each individual author and may not be representative of the USBSF or its athletes.