Calgary is not for cowards / by Jessica Lee

I met up with my friend Conrad in Calgary, Alberta, and proceeded to explore the city.

After a hearty breakfast at a local joint, our first stop was grabbing coffees from Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters, which is a local chain in Calgary. I had been involved in the background with the Canadian Barista Championships since 2011 and had wanted to try a cappuccino made by the the 2012 National champion, Jeremy Ho, who works there.

Unfortunately, we didn't find out which location he was working at, but the cappuccino I had that day was still pretty good.

I also really enjoyed the interior design inside. 

Sometimes, people will say that the design of a restaurant doesn't matter because the food should be the focus, but I don't think it's true. I believe that atmosphere changes your whole experience of how you perceive your coffee. Many times, I will revisit a favourite coffee shop because I enjoyed my experience sitting inside, rather than because I really liked the coffee. There's a whole science behind the marketing of coffee, which some companies such as Starbucks has managed to figure out (enough for a whole other blog post!)

After our caffeine fix, we went to Calgary's Olympic Park. I had been wanting to go to the park for some time now, after first seeing the ski jump from the highway while driving by on my trip to Banff, then hearing about the park through colleagues.

Besides being the place to go to for adrenaline-pumping activities such as bobsledding, mountain biking, luge or ziplining, Calgary's Olympic Park is also the training ground for serious Canadian Olympic athletes. The bus driver who drove us to the activity spots is actually an Olympic coach in the winter time, but passes his time during the summer by driving tourists around.

We decided to go down the zipline, which is the fastest in North America (140 km/hr), and then do a bobsled ride.

The zipline is at the top of the ski jump, which really freaked me out not because I'm scared of heights- but because I'm afraid of the feeling of falling. I definitely am not the type that does well on roller coasters.

Conrad said he doesn't like the feeling of falling either, but he says doesn't think about his fear and just does whatever he needs to do, which is how he's able to do so many things. And so, I didn't think about my fear of falling and jumped. For the first time, falling felt fantastic.

I plan to adopt Conrad's theory of "doing" rather than over thinking everything. Maybe one day I will become fearless!

We then headed up to the bobsled track. I wasn't too worried about bobsledding after having just experienced the zipline.

Since there wasn't snow, which is usually how bobsledding is done, they had wheels on the bobsled. The speeds we went were the same as if there was ice, just a little bumpier. We had a driver go down the track with us, and he was responsible for all the turns and for making sure accidents didn't happen.

The G-force on the ride down was incredible (4G forces and 100/km/hr). It didn't feel like pain, but it wasn't entirely comfortable either. I was just glad when it was over. Afterwards, I chatted with the driver and he said he wasn't able to drive bobsleds every day because of all the G-force, which is bad for one's body. It's interesting what sacrifices people will make for a fun, adrenaline-inducing job; or even for a sport. It's definitely a big commitment.