April 18, 2021

Skiing at more than 200 kilometers per hour

Skiing at more than 200 kilometers per hour

When Jan Farrell is asked, in jest, about his level of sanity, he insists: "This is not a crazy sport." He practices speed ski, which basically consists of jumping downhill on some skis to try to reach the maximum possible speed; that formally it is "the fastest non-motorized sport in the world" (the 200 kilometers per hour are frequently surpassed, the world record is 254.9); and that really has a lot more work behind, within its apparent initial simplicity. To begin with, the material, starting with some skis that measure 2.14 meters and weigh about 15 kilos; and following the helmet, that is as aerodynamic as possible, in which you can barely see what is in front of you, even sometimes it gets foggy. "And in the Finnish test, I had to go down almost in freedive, because if I breathed the visor it ended up frozen, at -25 degrees," explains Farrell; the suit is a latex-like compound, which takes an hour to put on and which is accompanied by a few ailerons that help lower faster and that this season has tried to improve to seek a little more limit. "I have worked with an engineer from Madrid and we have found a new form of ailerons that at high speed should make a significant change", says this skier who was born in England, with Czech roots on his mother's side and lives in Spain, where he is settled Show off the three flags when competing.

To continue with the description, after the materials is physical work, which is essential. «In my sport, and can generalize to other sports, there is a whole world to discover in the physical preparation, and a technology that is coming out, of eccentric training, isoinertial pulleys … Things that were invented to train in space and that we use now almost every day, "says Jan. It's about weighing a lot, because of gravity, but being compact, because of the fight against the wind, so it does not slow you down. Together with his physical trainer, Alejandro Muñoz, he has worked this winter to strengthen indispensable muscles, because linked to everything there is the technique, the position on skis, in which 2 or 3 centimeters of difference, higher or lower, can suppose a world.

And, of course, you have to talk about the mind, always decisive, more in Jan Farrell because in 2016 he suffered a fall at 216 kilometers per hour. "I slipped for 350 meters without being able to stop, the feeling was of being in a pan with boiling oil. The fall was ideal and the body was all in place, only with second-degree burns, but at the subconscious level there is something inside that cost me to take out, if I've taken it out, because it will live with me forever, "recalls . He had to resort to the help of sports psychologist Ricardo de la Vega to overcome it. "I have learned that fear will not stop having it, but if you go to 99 percent it is more dangerous than if you go a hundred percent," he explains.

This gives rise to a cocktail of emotions that begin this week with the tests in Finland (13 and 14 February), which take place in a place in the middle of nowhere; to later go to Sweden (8-9 March), where the difference is 52 percent; to Vars, in France (from March 21 to April 4), where Jan Farrell suffered his fall because that's also where he seeks to beat the world record, the fastest track; to finish at home, in Andorra (April 12-13), where he has his greatest hopes of success. Last year he was fifth in the World Cup, his best result. And how does it feel to go at that speed? "You think little, I do not hear anything, and the sense of vision is a bit canceled, I dare say. Adrenaline starts when I brake, which is dangerous. The descent itself can be easy, but stopping is complicated, especially if you have no experience, because you relax. We have calculated that at 230 per hour you suffer a blow of 100 kilos in front when you get straight ».


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