December 11, 2009: Finally, A Good Race!

Steamboat Springs Night PGS - Dec 09

Steamboat Springs Night PGS

Steamboat Springs, Colorado – Today’s night parallel giant slalom was similar to the Europa Cups in that the field was really strong with a plethora of World Cup riders. This race is right before the World Cups in Telluride (about 6 hours away) so many of the Europeans and Asians came early to train and get another race start. While it’s great to compete against the world’s best, it makes getting the necessary points for the Olympics very difficult. But it’s good preparation for the upcoming Olympic World Cup qualifiers.

My start number was in the thirties, a wonderful welcome from the usual high sixties and seventies that I’ve been accustomed to in Europe. My qualification run was against a World Cup rider that I’ve known for many years and has been consistently a few seconds faster than me. It’s always great to race against someone that is faster because it pushes you. I knew that I really had to go for it/go all out/let it all hang out/go for the gusto/put the pedal to the medal/flip the switch/be all in yada yada yada if I wanted to get into the finals and have a chance at those points. So I had nothing to lose. My sole focus was to be aggressive, be the bull waiting to get out of the cage. I didn’t think of anything technical otherwise the course and steepness might intimidate me. After a few warm-up runs Coach Mark told me I had nice turns and that helped my confidence.

I came out of the gate but was wonky on the first few gates. The terrain was challenging at the top and I couldn’t get into a rhythm right away. I actually don’t remember too much of the first section (‘starters black out’) and when I regained ‘consciousness’ I just let the board run and I hung on. I could even feel my arms flailing all over the place because I was out of control. I was too straight but the course was open enough where I could hang on. I remember I pressured my toesides, found the carve and generated speed. And right before I was too late to make the next gate, the course straightened out into the finish. And I beat her by half a second.

I couldn’t believe it! It was good first race run and I was really happy with it. I was just 2-3 seconds out of the fastest time, the closest I’ve ever been to World Cup riders. And the run felt easy and smooth. Effortless. Later someone told me that I really carved the bottom section of the course. It was such a great feeling, especially after having mediocre race runs in Europe. For feedback, Coach Mark was kind of like, ‘what happened at the top?!?’, and then told me I needed to commit more in that section.

For my second run I still needed to let it all hang out because a conservative, safe run wouldn’t make it into the finals. So I came into the start with the same attitude, and maybe a little more confidence after the first run, and the same approach. I cleaned up the top a little bit and let it run in the bottom section, and there were some turns that I wasn’t sure I could make but I just went for it. There was one toeside that I was coming into too late and knew that the forces were really strong and that I probably couldn’t hold it when I switched edges, but because it was in the fall line I held it. Amazing. I did things that I didn’t think I could do. Things that I didn’t have the confidence and trust in my self and equipment to do. It was exhilarating. Unfortunately I went too wide on a turn towards the bottom and got into the powder and that slowed me down considerably so I didn’t make the finals (the other girl crashed).

Overall it was awesome! Coach Mark said that if I could have a combination of the two runs (the aggressiveness of the first run with a medium of the two runs’ lines – not too tight like the first but not too round like the second) then I would be in good shape for tomorrow and happy with its result. I felt what it was like to ‘ride on the edge’. I feel more confident than ever (and happy). This will be great to take into the upcoming World Cups.


1 Response to “December 11, 2009: Finally, A Good Race!”

  1. 1 kayano14 December 15, 2009 at 8:40 pm

    Happy to see the results coming to you now, Eden! Keep it up.

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