September 21, 2009: Another Valuable Lesson

Landgraaf, Netherlands – Well I didn’t do much better overall at the second race (14th versus yesterday’s 16th), but I was able to work through the issue of dilly-dallying on the first four gates and waiting to get into a rhythm. My first run was only a second off the course leader and I know where I lost speed so that’s also a good thing. It’s just frustrating, especially in such a flat course where one tiny mistake will cost you the race.

My friend had told me yesterday that I really need to move right from the get-go and that was my main focus for today. Luckily I had a better start number (4th but 2nd in my course) and that helped a lot. Yesterday’s qualification format was a bit unusual and not a parallel format; they let everyone run the red course first, then the blue course in the same order. In a very flat course with soft snow, it was no surprise that the top 8 girls that went to the finals had top ten bid start numbers (I started 14th). But at least today’s format followed normal parallel procedures so there wasn’t an obvious advantage.

So for my first run I just ignored the first gate and went straight in a tuck for the second gate. I slammed that stubby hard into the ground and popped up and moved forward for the next gate where I repeated the same strategy for the next few gates. I got ahead of the girl I was racing in those two first gates and kept my lead. I went as straight as I could, from stubby to stubby, and got thrown off a little in the middle of the course. At that point I just started to cruise and not really work the board and get the pop out of each turn, but then I realized it and got back to trying to generate speed out of each turn. I finished 8th in my course, just one second off of the course leader. My friend said that I was moving well right from the start, slacked off in the middle but got it together again in the end.

For my second run I followed the same strategy. I nailed the start, taking off exactly when the gate opened, and got ahead of the girl by the first gate (ironically it was the same girl I raced in the first run). I focused on going straight for the second gate and really moving as soon as I put the board on edge, almost like jumping forward from turn to turn. My first four gates were good, powerful and had a lot of movement and I tried to take that momentum throughout the remainder of the course. Unfortunately it was quite rutted out and I got pitched out of line a few times but managed to stay in it. The run wasn’t nearly as fast as my first run but I still beat the girl I was racing.

So while I didn’t get the points I was hoping to get, I did learn a valuable lesson: I have to get moving from right out of the start. In the past it’s been a problem for me and I seem to lose the race in those first few gates even before I finish the course (exactly what happened at French Nationals). I think it’s because I don’t trust how the board’s going to react at such a slow speed, so I have to have a hard pull and move out of the first turn and generate as much speed as possible.

I also now know what it takes to really race. I can’t slack off and just cruise through the course because even if I have a clean run I’m not getting faster throughout the run. I have to work and pump the board to generate as much speed as I can at each and every gate. I have to want it not just for the whole run but throughout the course, at each and every turn. If I’m not working the board at each turn then I’m losing to the girl that is. I never really realized before how important moving through each turn is and what it means. Now I know.

So despite all the money it took to go to Europe for just two races that I didn’t win, it was a valuable experience, one that I’m glad that I took and feel that I’m the better because of it.

Snowworld Indoor Ski Slope

Snowworld Indoor Ski Slope


1 Response to “September 21, 2009: Another Valuable Lesson”

  1. 1 kayano14 September 30, 2009 at 3:15 am

    Hi Eden – Glad to see you’re learning and growing with each race!

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