April 16, 2009: A Step Up

Norquay, Canada – Today was our last day of gate training for the season. Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be doing technical work freeriding, but I was sad to see the end of gates especially with such a breakthrough day yesterday. But we’re having a camp the first week of June so it won’t be that long.

I was a little nervous coming into today; I didn’t want yesterday’s breakthrough to be a fluke and something I couldn’t maintain. It was also slalom training, which normally I would like with my new board, but the stiff boots made me worry a little if I would be able to flex the board fast enough. But I went into my first run not thinking about anything except for staying forward on the board and working with gravity and not against it. I was also able to garner the same mental focus and intensity that I had yesterday and it worked! I still had a few technical mistakes in the course but I let the board go and drove my body forward towards each gate. I felt the desire.

Riding the course felt so good! I kept a round line in the steep section and just let the board run and didn’t feel like I was fighting so much. I was actually quite surprised with myself after that first run and even more so when I found out I was only two seconds off the fastest girl (my times have been consistently about four seconds off her). The rest of the day I just kept that same gameplan, although I was trying to work on being more patient on starting my heelside turn because I was cutting it off too much and jamming on the board to make the next turn and loosing time. And while each of my runs had a technical mistake in it (mostly at the same annoying gate), my last five runs were all within the same second. Consistency has never been my strong suit so I was happy with that. And I was still within two seconds of the fastest girl.

So I think my breakthrough yesterday stuck! Within each of today’s runs I felt that desire. I’m not scared anymore of falling or injuring myself. I trust myself and my equipment. I feel confident on the board. I just want to go fast and let the board run and take risks. No fear. It felt great! My teammate said to me that in the past two days I’ve really stepped it up with letting the board run and it’s the best she’s seen me ride. Yay!

On a technical note, one thing I have to work on (a mental block, as my coach puts it) is that I have to keep focusing until I cross the finish line. I have a tendency to stand up and let the board run about four gates before the finish and three times today I got caught and ended up DQing on the last gate (not making it and therefore being disqualified). So in addition to the usual things (being more patient to start my heelside turn, staying forward) I have to work on maintaining that focus and keep turning until the end. He also said that while my movement was good, coming out of my toeside I get thrown into the backseat so I have to always stay forward and drive my body forward so I don’t lose complete control of the direction of the board.

I really wish we could keep training gates because I’m a little afraid that I’ll lose some of what I’ve discovered. But hopefully with some mental training I can keep these great feelings until next camp. I feel that I’ve really stepped up my game to the next level, and my dream is solidly becoming a reality.

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