August 18, 1009: Turning Point

Mt. Hutt, New Zealand – I didn’t get much sleep last night. A personal problem was plaguing my mind and didn’t allow it to rest. I woke up exhausted and not really wanting to ride. I’m realizing just how important my emotional state is and the need to surround myself with positivity and happiness to perform at my best.

But after yesterday’s racing disaster I’m sick of being slow. I’m sick of being so far behind the other girls. One of the girls at the race was overall in 2nd place and years ago I used to beat her at World Cups and now she’s kicking my bum. I’m tired of disgracing myself and my family and the Philippines. So this morning I thought I’m going to change this, I have to change this otherwise I should just stop. I’m taking control of what’s going on in my riding and I’m making the conscious decision to ride better and faster.

The mountain conditions were good. We set on the upper part of the mountain but I couldn’t get mentally into it. I had a lot of fear, especially after slipping the slick course, and my confidence was low. After watching the girls yesterday I remembered that I needed to ‘snap’ out of the turn, especially the heelside. My freeruns were so-so and I couldn’t get forward enough, or rather I kept getting kicked back into the backseat and losing control. But it was strange because on my last freerun before jumping into the course it got into my head to start reaching for the nose of my board with the outside hand and it was quasi-miraculous. My turns were solid, I wasn’t in the backseat or losing control of the board. My freeriding was good and easy!

I got to the top of the course and was nervous. If I didn’t perform well today and get closer to the times of the other girls I was ready to give up. I absolutely had to do better today. When I got to the start I really wasn’t thinking of anything, not my personal problems, not the fear, just reaching for the nose of my board and really wanting it. I pulled out as hard as I could from the start gate with a grunt and tried to attack from the first gate forward. As I was going down the course I could taste my desire to be better at each gate with a calm aggression. I reached for the nose of my board on the heelsides and it worked. I was able to stay forward and didn’t wash out on the tail. I just kept moving forward down the fall line and hoped my legs would keep up. And I was getting the snap out of the turns.

When I hit the knoll I tried to keep diving forward onto the steep section. I was slidey, which was to be expected on a steep slope, and coming out of one of the toesides I went straight towards the next gate and for a split second didn’t think I was going to make it. But I tried to get forward and crouched down and made it. I surprised myself that I made the course but discovered that so long as I dove forward and got into a lower position that I could ride the steeps and there wasn’t much to be afraid of.

My next couple of runs felt just as good. I focused just on reaching my outer hand for the nose of my board and I was getting better at running the steep section. Coach Mark gave me a high five and even said that was the best steeps riding he’s ever seen me do. And the secret is simple: dive forward and get into a lower position on the board to make those fine adjustments. And my times were pretty consistent, all within a second of each other. It was weird because I would still feel fear everywhere else but the course. Once I got into the course I was able to clear my mind and just think about reaching for the nose. The fear disappeared.

Towards the end of the day I could tell that I was tired and my times were getting slower. My arms started to get wild to compensate for the tiredness in my legs. I would eject myself coming out of my toesides and get in a bad twisted position because my trailing arm would be behind me instead of in front of my and driving forward. I was able to recover and make the next gate but I was all over the place and had my slowest time of the day, almost two seconds off my fastest time. Coach Mark said to drive both arms forward, almost like clapping them together towards the end of the turn, and after I tried that he said that was probably the fastest top section I’ve had all day. And it felt really smooth to me. Unfortunately I got in the backseat in the steeps and fell on my heelside and missed a gate, but it was still a decent time despite the fall.

So I had a great day! I think my personal issue really fueled me instead of hindered me. Overall my fastest time was a second off of the girls’ overall fastest time today. A second on a difficult course! Two training days ago I was two seconds on an easier course and I was able to cut that down to a second today. Yay! I felt the desire today, something I haven’t felt yet this trip. The desire to really want it and get better. I have to remember to bring that to every run I do in training and racing.

Today was a turning point for me. Finally.

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