The only change in schedule for the Masters Women and Masters Men SBX Race days compared to Open Class was no lunch break. There were a few other age groups competing so there was plenty of time to get nutrition when you needed it though (food is very important!).
Ale (see Athlete Bio Page: here) raced on the only ‘snow’ day we had during the whole trip (it was 60’s and sunny every day). The forecast was for rain and we thought “how appropriate”. Considering that about a 1/3 of our training days were in the rain this year, we thought that no one’s going to be better prepared for these conditions – lol. Thankfully no rain fell. It was around 40 degrees and actually spitting snow and flurries with a few breaks of sunshine.
Course inspection and practice runs went very well. She had solid riding from top to bottom and progressing speed with each pass through the course. There was about an hour and a half break between practice and time trials, which we spent eating, resting and doing a little riding to keep loose. If Ale was nervous or anxious, you couldn’t tell. She looked calm, cool and relaxed as we maneuvered through the corral and tent area to the gate for her time trial.
Ale accomplished her goal by running a 1:28 in time trials placing second overall for the seeding. There were to be 2 elimination heats to determine who got into the Finals. Though leading after the start section and into the first 2 banked turns, Ale fell and just couldn’t manage to catch up and pass to avoid being eliminated.
The good news is she overcame her disappointment to come back strong for a really solid run during the Small Final taking 4th overall.
It was back to beach weather for my race day and with the exception of one bobble over the start section, practice went really well. I stuck to the plan of smooth, solid starts, focused on handling the features and letting the board take care of speed. There was no reason to try to go ‘mach 10’ right out of the gate and get thrown off your board over the series of wu-tang features at the start.
As with the previous day of racing there was a long break between practice and my time trial. We actually went back to the condo to eat some lasagna while I threw one more coat of wax on the board.
I didn’t quite achieve my goal in the time trial. Though I had a great start, picked up solid speed through the first two banked turns and easily doubled the first feature, I spun out in the next turn and fell. The extra time of the crash and getting up and going again was enough to knock me out of contention for the elimination rounds. I ended up with a time of 1:16; which was about 1 second too slow to advance. I was frustrated that I missed my goal of hitting under 1:10 when it was clear I was on a great pace to do so. As it turned out the best qualifiers of the day in my age group all set down times that were under 1:10.
The most disappointing thing about our results was obviously no chance to compete for gold, but the other distinct negative was not being able to ride the course again. One of the reasons we both compete is that we enjoy riding SBX courses. Since there’s no local resort(s) supporting SBX racing, the only time we get to hit a real course is at the competitions. There’s nothing like the sensations and speed you get to experience on a competition track. Just like a little kid who makes it down the hill on their snowboard for the first time, every time we get done with a run, we always want to go again, but just a little bit faster the next time.