Kellie Delka and her father Lyle in front of their new backyard skeleton track.
Collinsville, Texas, is about the last place you’d look to find anything skeleton related. The town has an average winter temperature of around 45 degrees and a population of 1,600.
And now it also has a skeleton push track.
When development team athlete Kellie Delka returned home to Collinsville for offseason training, she and her father, Lyle, decided to put their spacious backyard to good use.
It started with an idea. Delka came up with it and Lyle, a mechanic, made it happen.
“I told people about building a skeleton push track and they were like ‘Oh yeah, cool!” but I don’t think they thought I was actually going to do it,” Delka said. “But then we actually did it and they were really excited.”
The construction process took about three months, Delka said. Heavy rains and flooding in the area hindered the progress, but the Delkas eventually had a fully functional push track in their backyard.
Delka modeled the track, which is flat for about 20 meters before sloping sharply downward, after the start in Park City, Utah. She said she prefers Park City’s track over Lake Placid’s because it’s steeper.
But now, she won’t have to worry about traveling to train in either Park City or Lake Placid during the offseason.
“If I wasn’t at home, I don’t think I would train as well because I would lose myself a little bit,” she said. “Whenever I’m [in Lake Placid or Park City], I feel like I’m in competition mode. When I’m home I’m a little more relaxed and can get into training mode and focus on goals. I like to separate myself a little bit.”
Delka won’t be the only one to benefit from the new track, either. Development team athletes Austin McCrary and Caitlin Carter are both from the area, and Delka is sure they will utilize the track as well. She has also spoken with a host of other teammates about traveling to Texas. Everyone is welcome at the new track.
“There’s not really a ton of stuff going on out here, we live out in the country, so they can go out there and push all day long until they wear out,” Lyle said.
And as for Delka, she is expecting a significantly improved push time heading into next season. The track, she said, will help with her loading steps and explosiveness.
“Just running in that position is awkward,” she said. “Even when you come back for season you feel like a deer on ice. It’s going to help so much. I’m hoping to see a really great improvement with my push time."
Kristen Gowdy, USABS Media and Marketing Assistant, email@example.com, (719) 722-0522