Suddenly, the machine started. The crowd cheered in the background and the skeleton started to shake and bounce. We soon started down and into the first curve. The sled banked into the corner and rocketed out to another tight curve in the other direction. The sled shook. The noise of the runners on the ice echoed in my ears.
I could see the same things an actual rider sees while barreling down the track at 80 miles an hour. Talk about being up close and personal. On the skeleton, your face is mere inches from the ice. It was an adrenaline rush almost beyond description. The only thing it lacked was the wind in my face.
In just about a minute, we slowed down and coasted to a stop. Wow! The crowd cheered as the announcer screamed, “59.35 seconds ... a silver medal for the USA!”
I took off the goggles and sat up. My dad was a little pale in color and his eyes were as big as saucers when he took off his goggles. He had driven the bobsled down the track at nearly 90 miles an hour and felt every inch of it.
It’s amazing what some electronics and a little bouncing and shaking can do. We had planned to go back and do a real run on the actual Olympic bobsled track someday, but we just never made it.
If you want to experience what the Olympians do, head to Lake Placid and take a ride. It’s best to make reservations. A ride runs about $80, but I’m sure it’s worth every penny.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.