January 9, 2009: Nor-Am Race PSL

Steamboat Springs, CO – Today was the Nor-Am parallel slalom night race in snowy but warm conditions. It had snowed about 5 inches overnight and continued to snow on and off throughout the day, adding to an already difficult race slope.

For my first qualifying run I just focused on attacking the course and looking ahead. I didn’t want to think about anything technical, just wanted to be aggressive in my head and let my body do what it knows to do. I started off well, but a few gates into the course I went too wide on a gate and ended up going really wide off of one of the gates and into the untouched, deep powder. I was still able to come out of it but it cost me a few seconds. For my second run, I started off well again but came into a sharp turn too fast and had to jam that turn and ended up sliding out on my hip. But I recovered quickly and finished the run, ending up 13th after the two qualifying runs.

The top 16 advance into the finals so I was super psyched to have made it into my first finals in 2.5 years! My first run was against my training mate who also happened to be the one that I raced against in the qualifying runs. She’s a great rider so I was happy to have someone so good to push me to my best. My first run was solid and felt good, but on the conservative side. I lost time in the transition from flats to steep and was beat by 3 seconds. A racer friend told me that my upper body was a bit stiff and that I should let the board run 8 gates to the bottom. Since I had nothing to lose for my second run, I attacked the course and also let the board run. The first flat part I went pretty straight, letting the board run and just barely keeping it under control and making the turns, but when I realized I could hold onto it I continued to let the board run, just lightly placing it for the next turn. To be honest I felt out of control most of the run but was able to manage it and kept up with the girl I was racing. At the end of that run I was behind by only three tenths of a second.

It felt so great after that second run! People commented on how well I was riding and I finally felt like I was really racing and at the place I was when I retired 2.5 years ago. Definitely a breakthrough today! My coach was happy with my riding and it really felt amazing. Haven’t been this happy with snowboarding in a long time. This confidence will be good for tomorrow’s parallel giant slalom. Awesome day!

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