Wednesday, February 29, 2012

There's a storm brewing in Mammoth...

A short night of rest, gray skies, in addition to many things to do in the morning, we hit the road around noon from Park City to Mammoth. We made pretty good time along the way, all the while checking the oil in my boyfriends' Subaru every time we got gas. Around 3 we arrived in Ely, NV. After gassing up we were antsy to get on the road as some bad weather was moving in on us, however, Max decided to check the oil once again. 
Fortunately he did, and we found the radiator was leaking, we took the car to the nearest Auto Repair shop, and were told that we would not make it to Mammoth, and they would not have a new radiator in for the car until Wednesday. That simply would not work, as we needed to be in Mammoth the following morning for training on the Grand Prix course. 
Not being 25 poses a problem when in a small town and trying to rent a car from the only dealership there is. Thanks to the wonderful people at Precision Auto Repair, they ended up renting us their personal vehicle to get us the rest of the way, and we would return their car upon retrieving ours on our way back from Mammoth.
We got back on the road again around 5:30pm, with around 200 miles of open desert between Ely and the next town, Tonopah, I am so thankful we broke down in Ely and not in the desert with no cell phone service. The storm descended upon us quickly, and we were facing whiteout conditions when we finally pulled into Tonopah around 8:30pm. In the dark, on roads you don't know very well, in a car you are unfamiliar with, in a whiteout, it is easy to loose track of where you are, and put yourself into a bad situation. We decided to call it on the drive, and spend the night in Tonopah with the promise of better weather the following morning. It was a sound decision as the weather was relentless all night long, and when we woke in the morning it was a beautiful clear day... And we were off!
The weather in Mammoth can be notoriously brutal, and unstable, fortunately we made it to town, but by the time we made it to the resort for practice at 10am they had yet to open the course, and the wind was howling. In light of the situation we went and explored the mountain, and it was well worth it! I got some of the best powder turns I have had yet this season, and I finally got to check out all of the mountain I never really get to during contests. 
They opened just the rails in the course a little bit later in the day, and I got a little practice in, unfortunately the jumps never opened up, and I had qualifiers the next day. With the prospect of bad weather for the next couple of days the Grand Prix organizers have a ton on their plate, between scheduling, television setup, course maintenance, and so on, they were trying to have the contest regardless of the weather, but mother nature had other plans. 
I woke this morning (our qualifying day) to hurricane force winds, and complete whiteout conditions, needless to say the contest was postponed until tomorrow. The course looks awesome, I hope we get to shred!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Aspen/Snowmass Open Feb 26th, 2012

After a much needed week off to let my body do some recovering, we drove back to Breckenridge on the night of Monday the 20th. We had two full days to practice on the notorious Aspen Open course. Early the following morning we got up to make the drive over to Aspen, with a little bit of unexpected weather we were unable to get over there in time to train that day, instead we registered, went back to our place, and let our minds ponder what the course might be like the following day. 
The following day was gray still, flat light, and a little bit of wind, but the jumps were manageable. This is by far the most technical course I have ever ridden, and I have a lot of respect for the athletes who competed on this same course for X-Games. The jumps, were big, and incredibly close together, with different speed needed each time you hit them, it was the perfect recipe to psyche yourself out. I decided that it was impairative to hit all of the jumps in a row at least to feel them out despite the conditions. 
The jumps were hard to clear sometimes, and unfortunately the knuckle of those beasts claimed a lot of talented riders. 
During training I think only about 3 girls made it through the entire course, myself included, so I was feeling about as prepared as everyone else, although I would be unable to do the run I really wanted, due to the lack of space between the take-off’s and landings. 
With four days between the training and my actual contest day, I had another day to rest, let my body recover, and watch some of the competition. On Saturday, the men’s slopestyle semi’s were going on, so the girls all snuck in a little extra practice. 
It was almost like riding a different course, the speed was FAST, it was almost scary, I took one run through the course to inspect the features before hitting them. When I came around again on my next lap, I had my bruised heels and tailbone in mind, thinking that landing short on the knuckle would be a season ender. I mentally prepared to go big on the first jump to line myself for the next three with lots of speed, I took the exact same line I had during practice with the same speed, and landed at the bottom of the landing directly on my already bruised tailbone. OUCH. That was all the practice I could handle that day, and I spent the rest of my day sitting in an ice tub. 
A great meal, some water, and ibuprofen had me asleep by 10pm on Saturday night before the contest. My body was very sore the next morning, but thanks to CAPIX I had some impact shorts to wear to help prevent future bruising. 
At the top of the course by 9am practice was over in a flash and went very well, but Aspen had other plans for us ladies, and by the time we were to compete, the winds were gusting in every direction. Wind is a scary element to deal with, not only do you have no control over it, when you get a huge gust mid-jump, there is essentially nothing you can do. With this in the back of all of our minds, we decided to go for it anyways, and the ladies hit the course.
I was really hurting, but I wanted to make it through the whole course, and at least hit all of the jumps, I accomplished that, along with only 2 other ladies and landed myself in 4th place. I am happy with my performance as this was one of the most intense courses, I have yet faced. I came, I rode, and I conquered my own fears, which is a gold in my mind. Now off to Mammoth for the Grand Prix! 
Echelon Snowboards, Capix Helmets, Gatorade,Fydelity, Akinz, Canyons, Aerial 7 

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Dew Tour Finals at Snowbasin

After a rough couple of days traveling back from Southern California from the Cholula Triple Air, where I bruised both heels and my tailbone severely, I was more than disappointed to know that I wouldn't be totally healthy for the last stop of the Dew Tour.
I made it back to Park City with a day to rest and ice before the Dew Tour practice started the following day, I was having trouble walking, and couldn't think about how much landing from a big jump would hurt so I went by Surefoot to get some insight and custom footbeds from their friendly staff. I am flat footed anyways, so I needed to get this done, and I was finally in enough pain that I just went for it.
After gathering those, and some compression shorts I religiously iced all evening in hopes I would feel a lot better the following morning, unfortunately, I did not.
 I decided while driving up to Snowbasin around 7am on another gray day that I really need to listen to my body and take it easy, although taking it easy in my mind is not exactly what the doctor would order. Training went pretty well despite the flat light, and my lack of riding the prior days, but as I went to hit the jumps the first time, I cased off the up box- cannon feature. Ouch. That was about all I could handle and at that point I realized I needed to just get through this and take a few days off for the sake of my body.
I haven't been injured much throughout my career, but injuring something as debilitating as your heels and tailbone is enough to send chills down your spine every time you take a step. I have a high pain thresh hold, but this was something that was simply not worth pushing through, ultimately making it worse, and would probably prevent me from competing for the rest of the season.
Regardless of my condition is a privilege to be a part of the Dew Tour and especially the finals. I knew I couldn't hit the jumps, nor withstand too much pounding on my heels but I didn't want to completely drop out, so I got up early went to the top of the course and had to look at this competition in an entirely different fashion. When you go into something knowing you are not physically in a state to be doing so, your mind does funny things. Your mental state of mind makes up a bigger portion of your snowboarding than many may think, and it is extremely hard to overcome mental "blocks" you put up in your head. Learning to over come and push through these mental blocks is something one must do everyday while training, and especially with competing.
In the end after taking my two runs through the rail sections, I ended up in 12th place, not my best showing, but I am still proud to say I pushed through the pain and dropped in, after all thats what we are supposed to do as athletes right? Push the limits?
Thanks a ton to all of my sponsors and family who support me in everything I do!

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Pow Day at Mt. Hood Meadows

Pow Day at Mt. Hood Meadows