Sunday, June 23, 2013

2013 Season Recap #5: The Finals.

Ale riding through the USASA Nationals start section.
Photo credit VAST::vastaction.com
Monday, April 1.
Race day arrived.
I woke up early to warm up and stretch at the condo before leaving for the course.
As the sun started to rise, husband-Nick drove Jb, racer-Nick and me to the lift servicing the race course so we could prep and course inspect for the day's racing activities.







(Nick Langkamp drove like a madman to make it to Copper in time for our race day. He had been racing in Canada, and decided to drive to Colorado (on his way to Texas), graciously offering to tech our boards and provide team support for the big day.)

Early-morning view of the 2013 USASA Nationals Course

We started the day with a sideslip course inspection, and then took a few practice runs at speed. I had a few race day jitters that were worked out during the practice runs, and felt good about the course. The good vibes continued through time trials, where I placed first!

Lines 87-91 actually were Master Women (Hakala first place!)
Originally, 5 women were slated to race with the Master Women age group. By the time finals began, only three of us were left. We ended up racing a best-of-three finals, where podium ranking was to be determined through the best placement overall after the three races. During race 1, I was in second place after the start section, however managed to catch up to the first place rider within a board length.

Masters women finals race. Ale in pink.
Photo credit VAST::vastaction.com

My focus was on control and consistency (did NOT want a repeat of last year's finals), and even though I ended up placing second in the remaining two races, I felt like I'd significantly improved over my riding abilities compared to last year.

During the entire race day, Jb had to balance his role as Coach and Competitor. Luckily, the timing worked out between our races so that he was at the start gate during all of my starts, and helped to keep me focused on executing all of the skills I learned during the season. I felt really proud when he called me a "Mountain Athlete" while I was in the start gate, as we've worked really hard together over the past couple of years to take me from the state of "you need to learn how to carve" to "let's focus in on the tech skills you need to better dominate the start features." The only reason I've been able to improve so significantly in such a short period of time is due to his coaching.

Cheesey stuff aside, Jb ROCKED THE COURSE AND BROUGHT HOME THE GOLD THIS YEAR! Now that's some Mountain Athlete in action. He came in second during the time trials, won his semifinals heat, and dominated the finals.
WIN for Jb the Champion!

This year felt completely different compared to last year, with both of us bringing home medals. Both husband-Nick and racer-Nick deserve many many thanks for their support and guidance on race day.


Ale on the podium with the Silver!
Photo credit VAST::vastaction.com

We celebrated with a huge and delicious meal at our favorite Frisco, CO restaurant: Hacienda Real.

Celebration time. 
Even though I was proud to win the Silver, after reviewing some of the video of the start section I saw a number of things that needed improvement for next season's racing. Thank goodness for racer-Nick being there...as I started getting all type-A obsessive over needing to improve right away, he said, "the work is done. Now it's time to play, until training starts again...next week."

You can check out more details about Nationals race day on Jb's blog, and the following is his most excellent race day video edit:
2013_USASA_Nationals_Race_Day from theMountainAthlete on Vimeo.

Other Posts in the 2013 Season Recap Series:
2013 Season Recap #1: The Magic 8 Ball predictions were pretty close...
2013 Season Recap #2: Gimme gimme snow (and data)!
2013 Season Recap #3: Amazing fantastic surprises, and races!
2013 Season Recap #4: COLORADO
2013 Season Recap #6: Snow fun photos, and thanks.

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