November 8, 2009: Flipping the Switch

Copper Mountain, Colorado – Today I woke up ready to ‘flip the switch’. I had great sleep and was ready to take on the race course. I was really looking forward to jumping into the gates with the mindset to run the ‘car’ at 220 mph, instead of 160 mph, with the primary focus being get down as fast as possible.

I might have been too amped up for the first few runs, but I was really aggressive and going for it with the thought of going fast, while having high pressure and looking ahead. After my first run I immediately found out just how important looking ahead is, even if it’s just one gate. I found that I wouldn’t hang on to the old edge too long since I knew exactly where I needed to be. Before, I would look only a few feet ahead of me and get thrown laterally, instead of down the hill, and sometimes into the fence. But now that I looked ahead I didn’t have that problem, and my wide turns were minimized.

Here’s a rundown of my runs:

• First Run: Really went for it but wasn’t prepared for the speed and got in the backseat and cut a turn too tight and DQ’ed.

• Second Run: Still really went for it and had a solid run.

• Third Run: Went too straight on a toeside turn and fell after getting bounced in a rut

• Fourth Run: Here’s a doozy: Cut a toeside even worse than last run and while my feet when in between the stubby and the panel/flag (DQ), I took the tallpole directly to the chest. While these poles are just PVC plastic, hitting one that’s upright deep into the snow at maybe 25mph was pretty excruciating. Even now, 11 hours after it happened, it hurts to breath deeply or make any type of arm movement on my left side. Even laughing is uncomfortable.

• Fifth & Sixth Runs: I had to dial it back to make sure I could actually finish a run. I finished but it didn’t feel too fast. Coach Mark reiterated the fact that I need to carve right from the get-go, and even pointed out on a few gates where I need to be to pressure the board. He said that it’s better to carve the turns a few feet off the stubbies than to pin each stubby but scrubbing speed to do so.

• Seventh Run: I really made the effort to carve the second gate (it was painful to pull out of the start so I just glided by the first one), and I found the feel of the carve and was able to hold it for the first half of the course. I didn’t feel like I was going at 220, but afterwards Coach Mark said it was good riding, model riding, and if he wanted to show others how to ride, he would’ve used that run as an example. Unfortunately I got late at the end of the course and scrubbed a lot of speed, so while I wasn’t super agro, it was a lot cleaner which equals faster.

• Eighth and Ninth Runs: I had the same focus as the seventh run with trying to find the carve, and they both felt solid.

At the end of the morning, Coach Mark said he was happy with my riding, and it was really good with a lot of potential to get faster. After we saw video, he pointed out that I had good body positioning and was starting to get the line down (high pressure). Yay! And to my surprise, my fastest time (second run) was less than a second off the fastest girl’s time for the day. So I know I have it in me. This just gave me the confidence to let it out.

So now I just have to keep finding the carve at every gate, and incorporate the aggressiveness and desire for going as fast as possible. Conceptually it’ll be tough because finding the carve to me kind of means slowing things down and making it smooth which goes against being aggressive and all out. But I’ll have to change my thinking and find a happy – and super fast – medium.

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