September 19, 2009: Blah Race

Landgraaf Parallel Slalom Course, September 2009

Landgraaf Parallel Slalom Course, Sep 2009

Landgraaf, Netherlands – Well the first race of the season didn’t go as well as I had hoped. I had dreams of winning and getting 160 points but that didn’t happen. Well at least there’s tomorrow… sigh.

The morning started off horribly after sleeping for probably less than two hours and laying, trying to sleep, for five. I got up feeling nauseous and out of it, a feeling that didn’t go away for a couple of hours, and that was replaced by pure exhaustion where your eyeballs hurt. Unfortunately it’s also accompanied with a type of indifference towards anything that doesn’t have to do with a nap.

When I walked into the ‘freezer’, the cold hit me like a ton of bricks. It hurt to breathe deeply (still coughing from the remanents of my cold), and after each run I became extremely winded and my heart was racing. I thought, “I don’t know if I can do this for 10 more runs.” Well, turns out I didn’t have to.

But enough of my excuses.

Well actually, one last one. The liners of my boots are so packed out that my feet feel like they’re swimming in them. The plastic of my front boot is so soft and it collapses with the slightest bit of pressure. More lost energy that doesn’t translate to the board.  In a sport where immediate, or rather lack of immediate responsiveness can cost you seconds, loose boots can be a detriment.

Okay now I’m done complaining.

I was relaxed at the start of the course. It was fun to be racing again and I was really looking forward to riding my best and seeing how much my ‘visual’ training (studying World Cup footage) helped. My focus was to stay forward and try to emulate my role model. I was desperately trying not to think of the competition, which included a larger pool of women than I thought, and how I would stack up. I wanted to focus on the process and run my run to the best of my ability and feel good about it, irregardless of the outcome.

The course was super straight, the straightest course I have ever been on, and the snow was soft. I was starting 14th but a rut, that doesn’t follow the line that I would have taken, had already formed. Whenever there’s a rut, I’ve always been advised to follow it even if it’s not my line otherwise you’ll be dropping in and out of it with jarring consequences.

I came out of the start, and as usual, it took me a few gates to get into the rhythm of things. I even remember staring straight down at the stubby of the first gate as I came to it, a definite no-no especially in  a course where looking ahead was an absolute must. But after those few gates, I started getting into it and whipping the board after each stubby to try to create more speed. Even when the course narrowed a bit to get faster, I moved forward more and crouched lower so that my legs could get to the stubbies quicker. The run felt easy, as it should because it was so straight, and I wasn’t huffing and puffing by the end of it.

But my time was slow, over three seconds off of the top time. Granted the course was already rutted out after the first few girls went and the rut wasn’t as straight as I would have made it, but even girls after me had faster times so that didn’t really hold. My friend Lynn told me that I was so stiff coming out of the start and I needed to move the board more on the first four gates. I could start to feel the cloak of disappointment and frustration embrace me and it was a battle not to fully give into it. I still had one more run, and while it would have been a longshot to make it into the finals (they were only taking the top 8 times instead of the usual top 16) I needed a good run to redeem myself and get out of this funk.

I had trouble finding the energy to get amped up. I really wanted a good second run but that desire didn’t translate anywhere into my body. Coming out of the start I tried to attack the first two gates and get into a rhythm early. I took a straighter line despite the round rut and tried to move out of each turn and snap it. It definitely felt better but my time was still three seconds out, albeit 0.34 faster than my first. Double-sigh.

I’m not too sure what to do. I know I can still improve on attacking the first four gates and getting into an rhythm earlier, but I’m not sure how to do it. Thankfully none of the other competition venues are as flat as this one, but I still want to figure this problem out.

But tomorrow is another day/race and I need to tranform my current thinking into something positive and aggressive. If I can get a good night’s rest, I think that’ll happen easily.

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