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-offâ€™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 menâ€™s slopestyle semiâ€™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!
HUGE THANKS TO MY SPONSORS AS ALWAYS;
Akinz, Echelon Snowboards, Capix Helmets, Gatorade,Fydelity, Canyons, Aerial 7