November 27, 2009: Pesky First Few Gates

Fugen, Austria – For my two runs I just wanted to focus on looking ahead and riding fast. My first run felt solid but I was still a couple seconds out and Coach Mark said I really needed to nail the first two gates since I was sliding out coming out of the start. When I asked for more details, he said I should come out of the start with the board flat and pressure on both feet (and not wiggle or slide the back of the board) and then put it up on edge and start carving as soon as possible to get into a rhythm. Coming out of the training start gates is always a challenge since those gates aren’t the most stable and I feel awkward and unbalanced on the pull.

So for my second run I focused on a good pull and carving as soon as possible on the second gate and it felt good. It’s kind of the same lesson that I learned on the second race at Landgraaf back in September. If I can get a good pull and then nail that second gate as hard as I can, that usually means I’m carving and starting a rhythm early. So same kind of thing. But it did set a good rhythm for the rest of the course and Coach Mark later said it was a good run, better than the first. Unfortunately I didn’t get a time due to technical issues so I don’t know how it compared to the first run. I decided to keep training but I took a heelside too tight and DQ’d. I kept going on the rest of the course but my line was really off and I was getting bounced all over the place. After that we had to tear down the course so no more training. But overall I hit my goal of having two solid runs.

After I had a conversation with Coach Mark and asked him where I was losing time. He said it was within the first four gates of the course, particularly in a flat course like the ones we’ve been training where those first four gates are the only opportunity to get speed to bring into the flats. It was really helpful to hear him say that the problem is in the first few gates because I tend to think it’s my overall riding style that is slow but thankfully that isn’t the case. It’s those first few gates that I really need to clean up and get speed out of that’ll translate into faster times. He also said that he can usually determine how my run is going to be by how my pull is from the start: good solid pull and carve the first gate = good run and he doesn’t have to see the rest of the course; bad shakey and slidey pull = not good run. So that was encouraging. Hopefully all it’ll take is a little clean up.

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