January 2, 2010: Maintaining the Aggressivity

Saalbach/Hinterglemm, Austria – Today’s training was challenging. We drove to a resort in Austria and had an afternoon session, and by the time we got there the several inches of new snow from last night was all cut up from the morning skiers making for difficult and sometimes painful freeriding. Underneath the fresh snow was a very hard and icy base, and getting launched off the mini-moguls and landing on that base was jarring to my ankles. But once I relaxed and got a little lower and let my legs absorb more of the bumps, it got a lot easier.

The course was on the same surface but we were able to slip a lot of the excess snow off of the line, exposing the hard, icy base beneath, which is great for racing so long as you can keep your line. It was still pretty challenging though as waves would form within the line making for a bumpy course. I want to treat every training run as a race run so I did my ‘bull’ race prep to psych myself up. I took my centering breath and repeated my performance statement a few times (which changed each run depending on my focus but always starts with “stay aggressive”), then slapped my legs and hands hard and got into the start. My first run felt energetic and alive, but I got late coming into a heelside turn and jammed too hard and fell. My second run was better. Coach Mark had told me that as soon as I get on my heelside I should release the pressure and that helped tremendously. Of course by the time I thought about it and did it I was at the stubby, which was where it should happen. I held a pretty good line and was able to shoot myself across to start my toeside. However I was getting too greedy on the toeside and starting my turn too early and as a result couldn’t fully commit to the turn. I made it down the course but on the last toeside gate into the finish I loaded up and it shot me too wide, narrowly missing the finish. Coach Mark said that the first four gates that he could see were good turns and I was carving. He said that type of riding is something we could build upon. My third run felt pretty good and actually easier than the second meaning I wasn’t fighting as hard, which possibly means I wasn’t sliding as much. The top wasn’t as good as the second run but the bottom felt better and I made the entire course. My last run was pretty out of control. I was getting late at the gates and was surprised I made them without crashing, and when I got down I felt the least tired of all my runs. So it may have been my fastest run. Coach Mark even said the top was good.

We only did a few runs to keep the quality and intensity high. The long stretches to and from the course were tiring on my legs so it was a good amount of training. After I found myself mentally and emotionally exhausted due to maintaining the ‘aggressivity’ (Coach Mark’s term) of each run (and probably also from scaring myself a few times), but it felt like I was able to really keep my focus and attitude throughout training. It also helped that when I would come out of the start Coach Mark would yell at me as I was heading to the first gate. I think that helps me to remember to stay aggressive throughout the course. Overall a good day.

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