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OLYMPIAD2020: Bobsled

A cache by frumiousBob Send Message to Owner Message this owner
Hidden : 11/24/2020
3 out of 5
2.5 out of 5

Size: Size:   large (large)

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Geocache Description:

OLYMPIAD2020: Bobsled/Bobsleigh, aka. Bob!

How Cool Are Your Runnings?

NB: After the intro (competitive Olympiad) period, thru the end of January 2021, this cache will be Premium-only to protect it from muggling.

Bobsleigh, aka. bobsled, is one of the coolest, smoothest of the winter sports, a cross between a wild waterslide and a roller coaster (minus the loops). 

As with alpine skiing, once you start it's basically all downhill from there and every little shift of weight or blast of wind can affect the outcome.  Takes explosive muscle power to start, excellent core control and a light touch to steer well, and nerves of steel to focus on the path as you zip and zoom through the curves to cross the finish line without overturning along the way.  And, unlike solo skeleton or luge, there's always at least one other person onboard with whom you need to move in sync if you want to finish, let alone win.  Or you have so far.  Come the 2022 Olympics, "monobob" will consist of single-person races.

It's a fun sport to watch from home, as it's non-stop *fast* action.  It can even be a home-participation sport if as an armchair spectator you find a comfy seat before the race and sway and bounce along with the on-screen action (snacking and drinking not recommended immediately before or while doing this, to prevent choking and messes).

It's been a sport for about a century and a quarter.  Per the link just given:  "The sport of bobsleigh didn't begin until the late 19th century when the Swiss attached two skeleton sleds together and added a steering mechanism to make a toboggan. A chassis was added to give protection to wealthy tourists and the world's first bobsleigh club was founded in St Moritz, Switzerland in 1897."  From Britannica Encyclopedia's history of bobsledding, "The sport earned its name after competitors adopted the technique of bobbing back and forth to increase the speed of the sled."

An early team is shown here:

The first winter Olympics, in Chamonix, France in 1924,included a bobsled competition. But women's bobsled wasn't added to the Olympics until very recently - 2002! (same ref as previous) There's a neat "over the years" video here, subsequent stills are taken from it.

One team from the 1924 competition, from the previous video:
One team from the 1924 competition

Most participants in competitive bobsled have a long history in winter sports.  Like Canada, shown here whizzing around a high curve in 1964.

Canadian 4-man, top view on a fast curve

Or Switzerland, here in the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics.

Swiss 2-man team in 1994, front-view of sled

Germany in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2002...

German team in 2002

or the USA, with the 2018 2-woman winning team shown here (awesome action shot here from an Atlanta Journal article about one of them:

Bobsledding is big in countries with lots of snow, right? Usually. But not my favorite, the 1988 Jamaican bobsled team

pic of Jamaican bobsledders starting down the track

How the heck did that come about?  Well, two American businessmen saw some Jamaicans doing a pushcart race and wanted to start a Jamaican bob team.  They got an OK from Jamaica's Olympic Association, then tried to recruit some fast track runners.  No go from track athletes; they ended up getting some military guys.  Then the team got some coaches who taught them how to bob.  The team had to raise money and had to borrow a lot of things.  The team worked their ...legs... off and managed to make it to the 1988 Olympics, where one of their members unfortunately got sick and had to be replaced at the last minute - and by someone who hadn't done bob before. See the various links on this page for versions of the story.

This was Jamaica's first entry in any Winter Olympics and they were so much fun to watch (yes, I saw it on TV back then) because they were just glad to be there and were having a great time.  While they didn't win or even come close (I'd been hoping they'd place), they were the underdog team to cheer for.  Alas, they crashed (video link - source of previous and next two pix + background image) and didn't qualify to move on :(  

pic of crashed Jamaican bobsled

but they did push their sled to the finish

pic of Jamaican team finishing

They've returned to the Olympic bobsled competition multiple times since 1988, although they didn't qualify to compete in all of those Olympics.  See also the official Olympic site about them

The movie based on their startup efforts, called Cool Runnings here (and Rasta Rockett in France)- Walt Disney movie poster here:

movie poster: top "Jamaican Bobsledders?" (pic of 4 Jamaicans shivering, in front of bobsled and snowy scene); at bottom, movie description and title

was very positive and enthusiastic, while showing what a difficult time they'd had.  Late comedic actor John Candy played the businessman (note:  single, not -men) who got the team started.  The movie had this and other variations from the real story (in the movie, the team consisted of a pushcart champ and some track runners, among other things) but the spirit and adventurous attitude were there.  More movie-real life differences here.

In the thirty years since the Jamaicans' Olympic debut, the popularity of this winter sport has spread even more thoroughly from its snowy origins!  In 2018, Nigeria's women's bobsled team was the first team *representing* an African nation to compete in Olympic bobsled.  The women were dual citizens from Texas whose parents were Nigerian. They got their speed from running track and have been learning the technicalities of bob as they train in it.

Still from this video of their PyeongChang 2018 highlights:

Next up:  that 2022 monobob, I suppose.

Important info - read before pushing off to hunt for this!

Teamwork, special tool required, winter, and snowmobile icons to go with the sport.

FCPA permission received for cache location on 11/19/2020 via email to CO. FCPA guidelines followed for placement. DO NOT seek this after dusk or in the dark. Horsepen Run Stream Valley Park is OFF LIMITS in the dark. The park has multiple entrances, but the other ways around to the parking location are mostly much longer than the out-and-back.

Give yourself a good half-hour to hour, minimum, before dusk for the round trip to be sure you'll be out in time - especially if you have kiddos/dogs who might be slower or get distracted. Allow a full hour if you're doing the Olympiad with a team, to give yourselves time for all of the items. It may not take you nearly that long, but you won't be rushed to get back to your car if you go astray.

GZ itself is not wheel-friendly. The route is stroller-accessible (a lightweight one that can be lifted OR one with large wheels) until you get very close. Bike-accessible. A companion could get a wheelchair near but not quite to the cache if they're willing to deal with the acceleration and deceleration areas en route; some very steep slopes might make it extremely difficult for solo wheelchair propulsion. No powered vehicles allowed on the trail per FCPA AFAIK.

Not enough icons available to select everything needed for this cache (20+ would have been helpful), so note: this cache carries the usual NoVA woodsy risks of bugs (likely) and snakes (possible), plus poison ivy/prickly things.

Area can be VERY MUGGLY at times, especially weekend afternoons. Difficulty level reflects this. If you're signing, especially at one of those busy times, please take the entire cache up the track a bit to do so - will draw attention away from the actual GZ.

Check from up & down the approach before leaving to be sure you've re-concealed it sufficiently.

Be sure to follow the latest coronavirus pandemic safety precautions: wash hands and/or sanitize before & after caching; if in a group with *anyone* outside your immediate household/daily bubble, mask up; if you've tested positive or are unwell, please save this cache for another day. Have fun but be safe.

Enough with the backstory and extra info. We're trying to win this race. Where is it?

On your mark! Get set!

Once you've reached the starting coordinates, follow the bobsled track in the gallery image to find the letterbox cache. You may want to print it out ahead of time and bring it with you.

And when we've found it?

There are separate bags within for official NoVAGO Olympiad competitors, for the logbook/stamp/inkpad, and for swaps. Each is clearly identified.

Competing teams and team members, MAKE SURE you open the competition bag and use/take the items within as noted on the cards. Reseal and replace the remaining items when you're done.

Each bag DOES fit through the opening if you are gentle and align/move things the long way instead of making them wide.

After signing and stamping the cache, remember that the stamp is not a trackable or a swap. Be sure to return it to the cache and close the inkpad and everything else up fully afterward. Trade even or trade up to keep the fun going :) And again, make sure it's *well* hidden from all sides so it's not spotted from a distance from any direction.


Happy caching :) May the fastest bob and the best team win :)

Additional Hints (Decrypt)

Genpx: Fgnl va gur cnex. Vs lbh raq hc ba n ebnq be arkg gb n ubhfr, lbh'ir tbar gbb sne. Naq/be cbffvoyl va gur jebat qverpgvba.
Pnpur: Glcvpny uvqr, ohg pbbyre naq oboovre :) Lbh'er qbar enpvat abj, fb puvyy.

Decryption Key


(letter above equals below, and vice versa)

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