August 14, 2009: Staying Emotionally Strong

Mt. Hutt, New Zealand – Today was a productive day. Yet I feel down. There were some good things in today’s riding and I’m slowly starting to get it, but comparing my times to everyone else’s is tough on my emotional state. After all, at the end of each race it’s the times that matter.

I’m on the brink of getting really sad so I wanted to write this blog as soon as coming off the hill as possible to hopefully get myself out of this funk. I think I’m also looking too much at the big picture of the ‘have to’s’ and the ‘need to’s’ that I’m forgetting that this is a process that takes a lot of time and that if I just continue to work diligently and give it my best every day, I’ll get there. But there are doubts that creep into my head, ‘will I really get to where I need to be in two months time?’, ‘am I progressing at the proper rate?’, ‘can I really do it?’. I need to stay positive, keep my head down and keep plugging away. I still truly believe I’ll get there and I do recognize that not every day is going to be the greatest day of training ever. With most things, I suppose, there will be down moments so long as the course is ultimately on the up and up.

Okay, enough brooding and down to technical, non-emotional business. Today we set on the lower, flatter part of the mountain and snow conditions were epic! A complete 180 from yesterday (thank goodness for my ankles and feet) with no wind and good light.

First fun I focused on pressuring in the fall line and waiting to put the board on edge until about two board lengths above the gate. And it felt really good. I’m sure the clean course had a lot to do with it, but I felt I was putting the board in the fall line and pressuring it. I got pretty late at the end of the course and started to go too straight and barely made the last gate. Coach Mark said I still need to be more patient when initiating the heelside edge, but he liked that I let the board run. But my arms were getting wild. Coming out of the toeside, my trailing arm would be behind me instead of in front of me, putting me in a weird twisting state and taking time and energy to get my upper body in line instead of moving my whole body forward. (This makes everything chaotic and feels like the gates are coming at me so fast). So something else to add to the mix.

For the next few runs I focused on the same principles I had learned yesterday. Not all at once; on some runs it would be waiting until I’m closer to the gate to make the transition, or powering the board in the fall line, or staying forward. I gotta say though that getting forward will really get you out of trouble. Some gates I was in the ‘oh no!’ phase but I just crouched and got forward and was able to get out of it. Hopefully it’ll become habit that whenever I get into trouble I’ll just dive forward. I was also able to quiet my arms and keep them in front of me, unless I got into super trouble and I used them to get back in line.

Coach Mark told me that I still need to power the board and to think of it like driving the nose down into the snow (thereby using the entire length of the board and not just from the bindings down towards the tail). I found that when I did this at a few gates the board would shoot out and I struggled to keep up. Another good reason to stay forward.

I also noticed that I could recognize when I made a mistake, and sometimes I could correct it mid-error. For instance, I could feel myself start to bottom turn on my heelsides and so I got forward and made sure I was starting to flatten the board instead of increasing the edge angle. With my upper body quiet and the board running longer, I’m finding I have more time between the gates to think and correct instead of all hell breaking lose and I’m just fighting to hang on.

For the last couple of runs I was able to get the rhythm of ‘pressure, flooaaattt, pressure, flooaaattt’ (with floating taking longer time than the pressuring phase). And I liked it. It was way easier to ride and I didn’t feel I was getting thrown off by the rutted course. It felt so smooth and easy, and I didn’t feel slidey. Weird! Unfortunately towards the end of the course I was getting in the backseat and getting too straight and then all hell would break lose and I was fighting, but for the first half of the course everything was calm. And those times were still in line with the other runs. I just need to clean up the second half.

So overall a productive day. Coach Mark even said that he’s seeing my board slice through (a good thing). My fastest time today was still two seconds off the top girl time and that’s what got me down. But I learned a lot today and just have to keep repeating and repeating those runs until I get the technique and timing down and then I can work on speed. Can’t do it all at once.


1 Response to “August 14, 2009: Staying Emotionally Strong”

  1. 1 kayano14 August 18, 2009 at 2:38 am

    Keep working at it, Eden! I’m sure it’ll pay off bit by bit.

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