Sochi or Bust!

Sochi or Bust!

Starting another season seems unreal to me, as time seems to move faster every year.  I still have plans for…
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Spring Update!

Spring Update!

After failing miserably at keeping everyone up to date on the adventures of my season as well as time off,…
Read More »

Exploring Salzburg

Exploring Salzburg

Every once in a while, our crazy travel, competition, and training schedules leave a few windows of opportunity that are…
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Latest from Erin

  • Sochi or Bust!

    Sochi or Bust!

    Starting another season seems unreal to me, as time seems to move faster every year.  I still have plans for the summer that I didn’t quite get to, errands to run before going on the road, and a list a mile long of people I want to hug before I leave. So much for all of that…

    Every season starts a new year for me, a reset in a way, to see what can happen ‘this time.’ The only difference going into the competition season this year will be the massive elephant in the room also known as the Olympics. I have trained hard all summer, made gains, and gotten stronger than I have ever been. But in reality, none of it matters until I get on ice that first time, put a racing bib on for the first time, and see the results when going up against the world for that first time in a season. This year in particular every tenth of a second of our training will be scrutinized, whether consciously or merely ‘just because.’ Everybody wants to know if the past three and a half years have paid off.  For my team it started three weeks ago and is only gaining momentum from here.

    First runs of the season in Lake Placid

    First runs of the season in Lake Placid

    This is the third time I am attempting to make an Olympic team, something I couldn’t have imagined ever saying. Each time has been light years different and even after taking into account all the lessons I learned each quad, I will still always think there is something I could do or should have done better. I guess this is the curse of being a competitor. Now that we have started the process, there is an ongoing, underlying tension that we might as well get used to because it’s here to stay until Dec. 15th, the day our Olympic team is officially named. Hopefully for me, it can go away before that! Once World Cup competition starts we have an opportunity every race to make the Olympic team, or at least move a step closer. So really, the sooner I can nail two great race runs and place in the top 5, the better! I am anxious to get racing underway, but nervous at the same time, as it becomes a type of judgment day, a time to find out what the road ahead may look like. Out of the first five tracks we race on, I have medaled on three and had extremely disappointing finishes on the other two. This tiny detail is what makes my third road to the games different from all the others. I have come to this qualification process with more experience at both ends of the success scale, than my other Olympic berths combined. I continue to use this to my advantage, and consistently have mastered the art of staying calm at races, not over thinking every scenario, as well as learning to be better at taking it all in. My life has been full of irreplaceable experiences that few can say they have.

    My team has five strong girls on it, gunning for only three Olympic spots. So while I have no idea if I will be walking into that stadium in a few months, I know I am just as prepared, if not more so, than any other athlete I am up against in World Cup racing in order to put myself in that Team USA uniform.  In just a few short weeks, the fun will really begin…our World Cup opener is in Lillehammer, Norway on November 16th & 17th. I will be hoping for an early birthday present!

    The ladies of USA Luge

    The ladies of USA Luge

  • Spring Update!

    Spring Update!

    After failing miserably at keeping everyone up to date on the adventures of my season as well as time off, I am striving to get better at this blogging thing!

    Most of all, I have had some pretty great experiences lately that make me appreciate my life and the people who are part of it. Being able to share this incredible journey is something I value and am passionate about. So I hope everyone enjoys my musings.

    image-1I had the opportunity to share my stories and experiences with a group of girls and their dads at a father/daughter banquet in Lowville, NY (and some moms, to be fair). Myself being living proof of accomplishing so much coming from a small town in upstate NY, I am very passionate about encouraging others to never feel as though they cannot achieve greatness based on their background. Seeing all of the ambitious young athletes, musicians, students, etc., and their dads there supporting them, inspired by what I consider my everyday life is what makes the tough days easier. It makes the sacrifices more than worth it and the success that much sweeter. I can confidently say I am training and competing for every one of those girls, so they have a clear road to their dreams, not an overgrown path that seems to have no direction. Obstacles will be there, I always make sure to reiterate that. But getting through to them that it’s all worth it is the main goal, and it seems to resonate pretty well, which is so fulfilling.  Every time I get an opportunity like this, I immediately go on tangents of thought and cannot wait until I have the time to pour my ideas and ambition back into the next generation of boundless talent from small towns! So thank you, everyone who has allowed me to inspire others!

    Before that time comes, I have a few other things on my plate….

    I started classes towards my BS in Technical Management (focusing on sustainability management) again at the end of March, right as my season ended. Perfect timing to switch my focus from physical to mental demands! It is always very nice to keep my mind busy, as well as getting thoughts away from the extreme focus of sport. After being in a purely luge bubble for six months I’m pretty sure my psyche takes a sigh of relief when I open a textbook for the first time.

    That lasts a whole…2 weeks, maybe. Then I am already wishing for painful workouts instead of pages of reading and homework assignments. Regardless, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to gain an education without jeopardizing my career. Even though I’m good at whining about it sometimes!

    Aside from flexing my minuscule time management muscles with school, it has been nice to relax a little bit and enjoy some time off.  My little brother Sean and I went to visit Ryan (big brother) in Salt Lake and scored big on flying in just as they were being dumped on with snow. Jackpot! I was ecstatic. Unfortunately, my legs could not keep up with my excited mind since my skiing days are virtually non-existent now. So taking it easy was the name of the game. I proceeded to struggle with walking for a few days. Small sacrifices I guess.

    It really did get me thinking how nice it is to have facilities at hand to recover from my hard workouts and injuries, etc. I will never again take sports medicine for granted, and have gained a new respect for contrast baths and cold tubs. As I get older (not sure how that happened…), I am slowly realizing the reason all of the older athletes preached the whole warm-up and recovery things when I first came around. I now take back any witty “old man/woman” comment I ever made.

    Before too long, it will be time to dive right back in and with more drive and passion than ever. It is a huge year and these few weeks away always get me pumped up to get in the gym, be sore, and make gains like never before. I am currently thawing out my winter body while in California for a couple of events, but am already counting down the days to get back to Lake Placid and turn spring maintenance workouts into those preventing me from easily using the stairs.

  • Exploring Salzburg

    Exploring Salzburg

    Every once in a while, our crazy travel, competition, and training schedules leave a few windows of opportunity that are perfect for random adventures. Last weekend, the team was training in Königssee, Germany for a few days to fill the gap between our Sochi International Training Week and the first World Cup in Igls, Austria. It was great to get on another track before our races begin and we packed a ton of training into two and a half short days. With Sunday afternoon off, we got to make a quick trip into Salzburg, Austria (only about 25 min from where we stay in Germany) for one of said adventures.

    I have been there a few times and each year it is great to wander around the amazingly old city and it never fails that we see something new. With my mother’s love for the movie The Sound of Music, it is no surprise that I am a massive fan as well. The odd thing is that I have lost count of the many times I have visited Salzburg (the location of filming and where the story is based) and have NEVER visited all the sites. Shocking, I know. Most Sound of Music tours do not run all winter, so this trip we scoped out a few key locations on our own. After traveling for ten years I can finally say I purposefully saw the actual spots! Only a couple, but it is still pretty cool! The full tour WILL be done…someday.

    Sometimes I have to stop and pinch myself amidst all of our manic travels to really take a second and admire the things I have been able to see and experience. I am so thankful to get to travel, learn other cultures, languages, and see so much history; I never imagined I would get to see first hand all that I have seen (going on ten years and still learning German…so I guess language is a stretch). Recently, celebrating my birthday, it really hits home how lucky I have been to do so much in 26 years. Years that have gone by in such a blur but have so many incredible moments and amazing people wrapped up in them. I can’t imagine what the next twenty-six (and beyond…) could possibly hold, but I look forward to finding out!

  • From Russia With Love

    From Russia With Love

    Through the threat of a hurricane’s chaotic aftermath, our team successfully trekked to the other side of the Earth. Two very long flights and a quick stop in Red Square later, I landed in the host city for the 2014 winter games where we are currently becoming acquainted with the youngest track in the world.

    We got down to business right out of the gate this year in a big way. Our first training runs on the soon to be Olympic track, just outside of Sochi, took place and I felt like a “new kid” for a solid week. Learning a new track really takes me back to the days when I had no clue what I was doing, even if only for a few runs. It is humbling to say the least. While I coped with things taking a bit longer to fall into my comfort zone, it was pretty amazing to witness the creation of an Olympic location. I saw things being built in Sestriere/Cesana, but most was already in place by the time I went there (or at least what would get finished…). Whistler’s infrastructure obviously already existed, and the track was immaculate from day one, but here they are essentially building a city from the ground up.

    The track is nestled in a small valley among gorgeous mountains about an hour and a half from seaside Sochi. The exact location is called Krasnaya, Polyana and until recently wasn’t much more than a moderately known ski destination. Honestly, I can’t even tell what it used to be like, as it is now a massive construction zone with elaborate hotels, a sleek, modern, gargantuan train station, and of course the venues that are slowly taking shape. Oh, and a TON of dust. I have not been able to see any other sports facilities except the luge/bob track but we did get a chance to cruise around Sochi for an afternoon. This included a quick photo safari, boardwalk stroll, a dip in the Black Sea, and a run in with an angry Russian monkey.  It was an odd feeling meandering around in summer attire, walking amidst palm trees, knowing I had to slide at 8am the next day. But definitely a pleasant change.

     

    Check this video out from Kate Hansen…

     

  • The Season Has Begun!

    The Season Has Begun!

    It feels like just yesterday I was hanging up the suit and booties and now, nights have already dropped to the low 30’s, which can only mean one thing, steels will be replacing wheels in no time!

    As we get closer and closer to the start of a new and very exciting season I thought it would be a fitting time to welcome everyone to the new, improved, and wonderfully redesigned erinhamlin.com! Thank you to my always hardworking brother, Ryan, for putting up with my lack of decision making skills and occasional procrastination in the process of making things happen!

    In my defense, I have been QUITE busy this summer, so I was not purposefully making his work more difficult. Contrary to what he may believe…

    Other than a few short trips around the country: to visit my brother in UT for some skiing, friends in San Francisco for some sight seeing, my cousin in CO for some serious relaxing and catching up, sailing in Maine with my parents, and a handful of sponsor events, I have been holed up in Lake Placid training away! It is hard to believe the summer has basically come and gone, but knowing I have been productive and not so bored all summer leaves me feeling like I have accomplished a lot! I got back into the groove with my old training regimen after playing around with some new ideas last summer and it has proven to be a good move. I am stronger than ever, feeling great, and I still have another two months before I will even see international competition. Lots of time for more improvement!

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  • Mountain Views

    Mountain Views

    My first trip to the Top of the World took my breath away…literally and figuratively. The glamorous town 1,856m above sea level officially made the list as one of my favorite places to compete!

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