Sunday World's Jenny Curran tackles the Red Bull Crashed Ice Challenge
Redbull Crashed Ice athletes descended onto Stormont Hill last weekend. Amongst them three intrepid journalists, including me!
Our nemesis, the enormous 430 metre long ice track dominated the skyline at the parliament buildings. This course was designed to push the competitors to their absolute limits and deemed the most challenging of the whole Redbull Crashed Ice World Series! What a one to tackle.
The high speed downhill, full contact race took off with a sheer drop from the top of those famous parliamentary steps. Instantly followed by a series of heart stopping obstacles and razor sharp turns. For the majority of the local competitors this was the first time they had skated on anything other than a flat surface! What a difference and for many it was too much to handle. A few unlucky skaters even ended up with injuries including cracked ribs and broken legs. Of the 40 amateurs only a few made it through to compete against the pros in the intense 4 man race.
Despite worried looks all round I had to get on and tackle this beast. Having spent the last 7 weeks in training to take on the challenge I couldn't say no.
I cautiously stepped onto the course along with two other victims, Carl Mullan from RTE 2fm and Sinead O'Carroll from The Journal.ie. Due to just how dangerous the track was for novices we were instructed to get on at the bottom of the course to work our way up. The Crashed Ice version of the Stig, Claudio Caluori was on hand to show us which lines to take to maximise our chance of completion.
The end of the course had been designed for speed with an 'S basin' at the end. This difficult obstacle was our first nemesis. As I hurtled towards it downhill for the first time I instantly made full use of my padded shorts. I landed straight on my arse. Downhill Ice Skating is unfathomable tough. There are a huge amount of variables, bumps in the ice, instability, speed, turns not to mention obstacles purposely designed to get in the way!
Not deterred by my initial collapse I kept trying determined to climb my way back as far as Lord Carson's statue and tackle the monster hill. Sadly my ability -or lack thereof- got in the way. Having taken on the last 1/4 of the course I had a new found respect for these athletes competing in the World Series. Every time they leap out of the starting blocks against three other men they perform an unbelievable feat of athleticism. Helmets off to these guys,they make it look so easy.
RedBull seems to love Belfast and Belfast loves RedBull. What an amazing event to be a part of. Stormont -and my rear end- will never be the same again.
More of the action from Stormont can be seen below - incredible stuff!