January 10, 2010: A Silly Mistake

Marianske Lanze, Czech Republic – I almost didn’t write today’s blog. I wanted to wait until I could write good news. But I felt the best way to let go of the race will be get it out of my head, write about it, and move on.

There were four less girls for today’s race. My only thought was to be aggressive. I knew I still had to ride under the stubbies, but in the past my best slalom races were when I was focused solely on getting down the hill fast. I thought about the technical issues when I was inspecting the course and waiting at the top, but I just wanted to be aggressive in the start.

The first few gates were a little tough with icy, but grippy, conditions. I came too low on the third gate and slowed almost to a stop but still had the focus of getting down fast. I attacked the rest of the course and just let the board run. Even towards the end I wasn’t sure I was going to make it but I just kept going full tilt. I’d rather blow out with a fast run than finish with a slow one. There really wasn’t a thought in my head except to ‘go, go, go,’ and I finished the course. Eighth in my course!

I was a bit nervous for the second run since I had a legitimate shot at getting in the top 16, the finals. But I still knew that I couldn’t be conservative, I still had to go for it in order to have a really good run. I had the same focus for the second run but I think I was thinking too far ahead of myself. My first few gates were good, with my line under the stubbies. I had a little bobble but just threw my body down into the next turn and got going again. The middle part of the course was pretty fast, probably because I was out of control and just throwing myself down the hill, hoping my board would follow. I gained on the girl I was racing and got too greedy. Started going too straight, and right after I had that thought, I went into a toeside turn five gates from the finish also too straight, hit the rut, washed out suddenly on my belly, and slid past the next two gates. Disqualified.

I was so incredibly angry. Not sad. Pure fury. I wanted to throw my board into a tree (but didn’t). A stupid, stupid mistake. Had I just held on, I would have made the finals in a good position, possibly in the top 8. After seeing the times of the people that made the finals, even a conservative second run would have gotten me in. I’ve gone over and over it in my head: what I could’ve done to prevent it, the results I could’ve had. But ‘could haves’ are getting me nowhere.

What will help is letting go of the negatives and focusing on the positives. The positives that I can take away are I really went for it and rode on the edge and out of control, the type of riding that I need to have for the next few races. I also had good riding, probably some of my best slalom riding ever. I know what focus works best for me in the gate. And I know I have the ability to ride fast. So while it was not the result I wanted, I have some great things to take into the next races, as well as even more drive and determination to make sure that doesn’t happen again. I guess it’s best to get the quirks out of my racing now before it really counts.

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