Last year, Horst skated his way up the Red Bull Crashed Ice rankings, in the competition where racers skate at lightning speed through an outdoor track of ice, complete with twists, turns, jumps and body checks. His successful season was highlighted in February, when he placed first in the event in Are, Sweden.
In preparation for his third season, Horst has teamed up with local trainer Mike Friesen of MC Rehabilitation and Wellness, an old friend of Horst’s from baseball, who approached the racer to help him effectively train to produce the best results.
It’s the first time in Horst’s three year career that he has focused on race-specific training exercises, which have been uniquely designed by Friesen to help improve his performance while racing in mach speed.
Horst says that while he is an avid gym buff, Friesen’s program is geared towards maximum performance during the high intensity races the Red Bull Crashed Ice racer will face.
"I’ve always worked out and done the gym thing, but Mike has personalized everything to be specific to what I’m doing. It focuses on stability, legs, strength and conditioning, more of a program to peak during the race instead of maintaining a certain level."
Working out is one side of training, but recovery is whole new battle, and Friesen has been offering the services of MC Rehab’s Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber.
Athletes enclose themselves in the chamber, which saturates their bodies full of oxygen following a tough workout to help speed up muscle recovery, something Horst says he can already feel the results from.
Horst refers to his new training schedule as a progressive workout, and says he has already noticed positive changes in his on-ice performance, specifically with his strength.
He adds he will return to Fort St. John in between races, where he will continue to train with Friesen to keep his skills sharp.
Competing in Red Bull's international event takes time, dedication and money. Luckily, the generosity of the Fort St. John community is helping the Energetic City’s representative along the way. Horst has acquired two local sponsors to help him in his journey to a Crashed Ice championship. Both Kalmar Construction and MC Rehabilitation and Wellness have agreed to sponsor Horst, helping him with training, travel expenses and even obtaining ice times at the North Peace Arena for his very necessary on ice training sessions.
As his first race day approaches, Horst enters the season opening event ranked fourth in the world following a successful season last year. Entering his third year, he says the approach is the same, entering the year with a "have fun" kind of attitude. However, he does admit to having higher expectations of himself this year.
When looking at his upcoming schedule, the former Fort St. John Senior Flyer says he is looking forward to both the Canadian stops, Niagara Falls and Quebec, saying the fans are much more engaged in the Canadian races. Quebec is where he began his Crashed Ice career three years ago, and the event is expected to boast an audience of 120,000 people.
Along with the individual races, Horst will also be competing in a new feature of the event: a team race. In this new style of race, teams of three compete against one another in groups of four (two from each team), with every member of the team having to race before the conclusion of the event. Teams are selected based on racer’s point totals, earned through their final rankings following a race. The point totals determining a team are not allowed to exceed a certain number, thus evening out the playing field. The race works on an elimination style where the winner progresses and the loser hangs up their skates.
Horst will put the results of his new workout routine to the test on December 1, when he races in the season opening Crashed Ice race in Niagara Falls.
It's the first event to be held there, and it is expecting 80,000 fans in attendance.
If looking to watch the race live, it can be viewed through the event’s official website.