January 15, 2010: My Best Turns Ever

Nendaz, Switzerland – Today was the last day to train on the race slope so instead of taking the day off we took this opportunity. The training course was set less turny than yesterday’s race, but still turny in my book, with a little more room between the gates. Coach Mark sat me down in the morning to talk about today’s session. He really wanted me to focus on a rounder and higher line since I got in trouble in the race course yesterday from going too straight, and to keep a quiet upper body when I did my warm up freeruns in order to give my legs the freedom to do what they needed.

I took my freeruns with dead arms, meaning I just let them hang there and did not put any energy into my upper body. It felt pretty good but I could feel the tiredness grow in my legs. After a couple of runs my turn shape wasn’t that of the course and I could feel myself get out of control when riding. As I was going up the poma lift, I tried to clear my head and go to my ‘nothing box’ to give myself a mental break. (We recently were talking about some comedian who was saying that men have a ‘nothing box’ where they can literally think of nothing for sometimes long periods of time, but women can’t do that since all their thoughts are connected, or something like that. I do have a nothing box but it only happens when I’m out in the water, bobbing on my surfboard, and watching the horizon for a wave to come. I literally think of nothing during that time. Maybe that’s why surfing is so relaxing and quieting for me. Hmph.) I didn’t want to think about what I have to do to get to the Olympics, and everything that’s riding on it. I just wanted to think about the desire to ride and race my best. I’ve decided that should have been my focus all along, and let the thought of the Olympics be a result of the goal of racing my best. It’s amazing how the pressure of such a big event affects people; many other riders who are under the stress of qualifying for the Games are not performing well. But I can’t affect the past; I just have to adjust my thinking for the last two events.

For my first run I focused on taking a super round line by relaxing and taking my time. Coach Mark said to look at the point where I want to initiate the turn, and not directly at the gate. I kept my head up and looked where I wanted to turn and resisted the urge to look at the stubby or even the snow. And it worked well. After he said it was a good line and to keep it but be more aggressive in my movement. He explained that some people interpret aggressivity as a straighter line, but it really relates to your movement on the board. For my second run I just maintained the same focus of a really round line. I didn’t think about putting more into the board, I wanted another run with that simple focus before I started to add anything to it. I took a rounder line and was able to find the carve, both on my toe- and heelside, and my heelside turns felt the best it’s ever been, even better than when freeriding! Unfortunately I lost a little of focus over the knoll, went too wide and cranked out a heelside but got caught in the backseat and almost went into the fence. When I went back around Coach Mark said I was generating speed and really carving those first eight turns, and they were my best turns. Ever. I wasn’t thinking about being aggressive or putting more energy into the board. I think the round line allowed me to do it naturally.

It was great to hear but for some reason I wasn’t ecstatically happy about it. I don’t know if my mind is blocking itself from experiencing extreme emotional swings, or maybe subconsciously I don’t want to get too excited and get my hopes up and start thinking too far ahead. Maybe I’m just trying to look at everything as objectively as possible, and take emotions out of the way. My next two runs weren’t as good but I still had some good turns and felt the feeling of being patient and building the turn. Overall it was a good day of training and I learned how important it is to have the discipline to keep your line.

So I’m riding my best going into the next race. I’m not even going to think about the results I ‘have’ to get. The only thing I have to do is keep my round line and everything else should fall into place.

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