January 20, 2009: An Unfortunate Mistake

Sungwoo Resort, Gangwon, Korea – Today’s parallel giant slalom race was bittersweet. While I felt like I was riding well, better than I had trained over the past few days, a mistake at the end of the course cost me time and a chance to fulfill one of the Olympic qualification criteria.

The day was perfect – sunny and warm – and even a delay in the race didn’t hurt my spirits. The course was challenging: flat slope down into a blind steep section. But there were a lot of course workers smoothing out the ruts that developed from the over 50 girls riding the course, creating virtually ideal conditions.

I started near the end of the pack and really charged it coming out of the starting gate. The top flat section felt solid and I slowly gained an edge against the girl from China that I was racing. Coming over the pitch I was ahead of her by a gate and I took a pretty round line into the turny course. But I started to get late on each gate and by the fourth to the last gate I was really late on a heel-side turn and overpowered the board causing me to shoot out uncontrollably wide and into the other girl’s course. Luckily I was ahead of her so I didn’t hit her (had we been even I would have crashed into her), but getting back into my course and then jamming to make the next gate slowed me down considerably, costing me several seconds. I ended up 45th.

I was pretty disappointed because had I not made that mistake, I would have likely gotten a second run (the top 16 of each course get a second run) since I was just a few seconds out from the 16th place in my course. And had I finished my second run, I would have been in the top 30 and achieved the most difficult of the two Olympic criteria. Darn! But can’t dwell on the what ifs.

What I can take away from that race is that I definitely know I have it in me to get there, even in such a grand venue. I felt comfortable with the speed and confident on my board and no longer had any fear I felt from the past. I just need to train more to get the kinks out of my riding, but I definitely feel I’m racing as well, if not even better, than training which is one of the ultimate goals of a racer. Overall a happy day!

World Championship PGS Course

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