New lifestyle benefiting Canada's Christopher Spring ahead of bobsled season
The bobsleigh pilot sold his car, got rid of the majority of his belongings and purchased a GMC Savannah van, which he now calls home.
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Canadian bobsled pilot Christopher Spring decided at the end of the summer that he was going to dramatically change his lifestyle.
He sold his car, got rid of the majority of his belongings and purchased a GMC Savannah van, which he now calls home.
"I just saw how much I don't need things in my life anymore," Spring said from Whistler, B.C. "I gave away three-quarters of all my Olympic gear from the last two Olympics. I just gave it away to friends, family, whoever. And then gave away bags and bags of winter clothes, and snow gear and whatever, gave it to charity and people in need.
"I just have a few things that I need and a few memories that I cherish and that's it for me, man."
The big life decisions appear to be paying off on the track. The 33-year-old reached a speed of 154.5 km/h during a four-man bobsled training run Wednesday at the Whistler Sliding Centre.
It's the fastest speed recorded by a sled (bobsled, skeleton or luge) at the venue in over seven years. Spring's team of Alex Kopacz, Josh Kirkpatrick and Derek Plug accomplished the feat in preparation for the second round of World Cup selection races that start Friday.
Fellow Canadian Nick Poloniato had a time of 153.6 km/h last season, the previous best with the current track configuration. Prior to that, a record time of 153.4 km/h was established at the Vancouver Olympics.
Slightly faster times were recorded before the start heights were lowered in 2010. Spring said the Whistler track — arguably the fastest in the world — is very steep with little pressure in the corners.
"Honestly, this speed record isn't due to me driving any better," Spring said. "It was great conditions, it was colder during the morning, but dry. The sun was out, the sun wasn't too hot (high of 6 C). I wouldn't say I did anything different."
He added: "At the end of the day, we still need to win races. And having the fastest speed is a good indicator of winning races, but is not the be all end all."
Spring, a dual Canadian-Australian citizen, is aiming to make his third Olympics. He competed for Australia at the 2010 Games before getting his Canadian citizenship in 2013 and racing for the red and white at the 2014 Sochi Games.
He finished seventh in the two-man competition in Russia and was 13th in the four-man.
Aside from his lifestyle adjustments, Spring said he has also been focusing on the new team motto of "fun is fast."
"We need to remind ourselves that we're just bobsledding," he said. "Really what we're doing here is pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of what's going on in the world. Let's just have a good time because you never know when this could end and (we) could not be bobsledding again. We want to look back on these years and actually say, 'Man we had a lot of fun.' Instead of 'Ugh, it was such a grind' and not enjoying what we're doing.
"Let's have fun first and then the results will come."
The decision to live out of his van — which has a bed, cabinet, fridge, sink, solar panels on the roof and racks for his surfboard — has been in the works for two years.
Spring said he wanted to "make sure I know that every moment and every day is important and it's like a gift."
"Instead of filling my life up with material things and stuff, I want to enrich my life more with memories and people that matter to me most, good conversation," he added.
The Canadian team is heading to Pyeongchang, South Korea — the site of the 2018 Olympics — next week for six days of training and to get a feel for the track.
The World Cup schedule starts Nov. 5 in Lake Placid. Spring placed third in both the two- and four-man races last year.
As for his van, it will stay in Whistler at the sliding track where he works in the off-season. Spring plans to take a road trip to California after the Olympics.
"It's not all Instagram worthy," he said. "There's some rough nights in there."
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