Next season will be even bigger and better!!
Check out the video from this season
I had the extreme honour to compete for Canada in the first World Cup for Para-Bobsleigh, and managed to take 3rd Overall giving me the ranking of 3rd in the world, and #1 in Canada. As amazing as that feeling was, it still wasn't as good as the feelings I had for all my fellow competitors!! I raced against, and beside some of the most amazing people I have ever met. We were all fierce competitors on the track, but off the track we became great friends. The hard work and dedication by everyone from coaches, athletes, and all our support staff made it the success it was. Nothing great can happen without great effort from everyone involved! A HUGE THANK YOU to my coaches, team mates, support staff, and competitors for giving me an experience of a lifetime!!
Next season will be even bigger and better!!
Check out the video from this season
It's strange how life throws things your way! Sometimes, it's stuff that isn't so great, that tests your ability to deal with those curve balls we all have to live through. Other times it's a sweet surprise, something you had never given much thought about, but instantly becomes a love! This was the case with the sport of Para-Bobsleigh. It all started during the last day of my amazing experience with the Rick Hansen Relay. I had been on the road for approximately one month wheeling from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Calgary, Alberta. I had had such a once in lifetime experience, that I didn't want it to end, when I met Christina Smith. Christina was the first female pilot for Canada in Bobsleigh at the 2002 Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. After her Medal Bearer segment, Christina approached me, and asked if I would be interested in trying out Para-Bobsleigh. The sport had just begun, and she was recruiting for new athletes to participate, and she spoke of the goal to have it included into the Paralympics in the future. I took part in a pilot training school, and fell in love with the sport immediately!!
After more training, and some races, I am now proud to represent Canada in the next few weeks, in the first Official World Cup races for Para-Bobsleigh!
After spending a day and night accessing the weather conditions, the perfect time came. I had done all the prep work for the first ever wheelchair building BASE jump. The famous Sean Chuma would give me a PCA. The Wisma Sanyan building is only about 400ft tall, so I wasn't going to attempt a freefall on this one. We had practised until we both felt good about how it would go.
Up top, there were almost all of the 35 BASE jumpers who had been invited, watching and waiting for me to go. The tension from everyone, including Sean and I was INTENSE!!! Just in case I wasn't already peaking, Aziz radioed up that EVERYONE on the ground was waiting for me and that it was a big deal, and to give him a 10sec call. HAHA! Everyone heard that and burst out laughing! :) I gave the call and off I went! The jump went very well, and I had the softest landing so far in the chair,....although in my excitement and celebration after landing, I fell over backwards.
It was an AMAZING experience,...and I hope to return next year for more fun!
Day one of jumps in Sibu today. Lots of jumps made today, however I wasn't totally comfortable with the conditions so I spent the day watching jumps. Hopefully tomorrow morning will be better conditions and I'll get to make a few jumps during the day, and maybe even a night jump as well
It's been a week since Bridge Day, and I am surprised at the overwhelming support I've been receiving of my wheelchair BASE jump! The pictures, the well wishes, and the great messages from everyone leaves me at a loss for words other than THANK YOU!!
Those of you, who are my close friends, know I haven't always handled the praise very well. Although a great friend once gave me a thorough verbal beating, when she witnessed me not accepting a compliment at a previous Bridge Day. It was after Saturdays jumps, and well into the evening, when Ross, who was slightly intoxicated tried to give me a compliment for my jump that day. I brushed it off as nothing, and told him that I was nobody, just another jumper, like all the rest of the jumpers here, including him. The more he tried to praise my jump, the more I pushed back. He left and that's when she FULL ON gave it to me!! HAHA! I can't post all of her words here, but what she did say, really hit the mark! Now, whenever I receive any kind of praise, I can still hear her words, and her advice. Which in part was "Shut up,....smile, and say THANK YOU,......I really love what I do"
One of the best pieces of advice I've had, and I don't think anyone else could have said it in a better way than she did that night. Thank you Dev!
After being up for 24hrs, Sam and I arrived in Fayettville a bit early, and it was still dark, so we took a 20min power nap. Refreshed and ready for the rest of the day, we made our way down to the landing area. The water was low again this yr, good news for me and my plan to land the wheelchair on dry ground. After the customary breaky, we went to check in, and get ready for the first wave of jumpers to register.
During the gear safety inspections, Moe Viletto, Sam Gouws, and myself, found several deficiencies. Each yr we find something wrong with the rigging of some of the gear, I look forward to the yr we find nothing, although,...I'll probably be worried I missed something when that time comes.
When I got to the bridge Sat morning, I had a weird feeling,....something just didn't feel right. I couldn't put my finger on it,...was it the chair not feeling right? I had to take my backup chair, because of supply issues for parts on my main chair, it wasn't ready for this trip, so I was forced to bring the backup. Was it not enough sleep? I never get much sleep during the days of Bridge Day, and this yr was no different. I'd only managed about 8hrs sleep over 3 days. Or was it just nerves? Anyone who says there's no pressure with 100,000 people watching you, is either lying, or alot braver than I am! I put it down to nerves, and just tried to push through it. Once I got up near the edge, that weird feeling got stronger. So I took some extra time to visualize the jump, from beginning to landing, several times. Usually that calms any screaming nerves, but not today. After a long time, I realized the feeling wasn't going to go away, so I'd just have to go. I look to Bert, and give him the nod that I'm ready, he answers with "READY",.....3,2,1 off we go! Usually the chair will naturally roll off into a front flip, (see the picture) however,...this time it just stays level for a second. The worst thing would be if it starts to roll backwards, so I lean forward to start the front rotation, and it works, but it's slower than before, and I eat up much more altitude than on my previous jumps with the chair. I tell myself, WAIT for it,.......WAIT for it! Opening at the wrong time would almost certainly mean death. Lines, or part of the parachute tangled around a wheel, would never clear itself. I open fine,....the strap system works fine, all set up for landing. There are no winds,...and the landing area at Bridge day is uphill into gravel. I have quite a bit of forward speed on landing, and as soon as the front wheels touch down, they dig in and stop dead, and toss me into the air almost doing front flip,...BAM! First thought was "Good thing I have those new G-Form pads on, cuz that could've hurt!! HAHA! Rolled away with only a couple scratches on the back of my one hand.
It's that time of year again. Bridge Day 2012 crept up on me, and as usual, I was doing my last minute packing just a couple hrs before hitting the road.
I always like to do the 8hr drive down to WV during the night. There's almost no traffic on the roads, and that way I get there just as the sun comes up. This year was no different, I cleared the border at about 11:30pm Wed, then a quick side track to the Buffalo airport to pick up my friend Sam, and we were off. Arriving at the bridge, we did the traditional drive to the bottom to look at the landing area, then hit the Bob Evans for breaky. Registration is Thurs and Fri, and I have the job of gear safety inspections. I love doing it, as it allows me to see everyone as they come through, albeit just briefly.
Sitting on the plane just reflecting on all the things that Bert and I got to see and do. I came to China with very few expectations other than to survive the jumps, and be open to whatever came my way. The jumps turned into only one, which didn't go exactly to plan, but the rest of the trip was absolutely amazing!!!
I learned some lessons on Chinese culture, and history, and got to see some of the most beautiful parts of the country. I regret that I didn't get the opportunity to try some more of the exotic foods. Bert and I missed out on the outing to the street market where some people got to try dog, scorpions, snake, lotus, and frog. I did get to try some sort of mini crab, on a stick, where you ate the whole thing in one bite, and duck tongue, duck head, and chicken feet. All of which I was unimpressed with, not much meat on a chickens foot. :) Although I did enjoy the foods I did get to eat. I love the spicy stuff, and there was plenty of that to be had, even though I didn't always know what it was I was eating.
Last day in China. Bert and realized the one place we missed during our journey was Tiananmen Square, and the Forbidden City. Geoff has informed us that it's only the westerners who refer to it as the Forbidden City, that the Chinese do not call it this. They call it The Ancient Palace. We decided we have a couple hrs in the morning, so we're gonna make one last push to fit it in before having to head to the airport. As we got to Tiananmen Square, it was hard to imagine it as I've seen in the pictures with the violence, and army. It was a bit surreal.
As we were sitting in the lobby waiting for our taxi to the airport, I felt a bit torn. On one hand I'm looking forward to getting home to see my boys, but on the other, I couldn't help feel a bit disappointed that our journey to this amazing country was now ending. I can only hope that I'll get another invitation to come back and jump some other cool sites in the future.
Had a bit of a late night...
... so we all slept in a little today. Went for Breaky then toured an old warehouse area of Shanghai that was kinda cool. After that it was time to grab a cab to the train station, where we boarded the only Maglev train, and the fastest in the world, cruising at 431km/hr!!! In order to catch the super high speed train, we had to get one that would have us at the airport 5hrs early,...but it was worth it! :) Next is a quick flight back to Bejiing for the night, and then it'll be homeward bound tomorrow.