Post Nationals Reflections

Well, there goes my competition season. It seems like it went so fast! I just finished my race day last week, and honestly, things went better than I expected. My expectations going into the competition were to make it out of my first heat, and then probably lose. But, I did a bit better than that.

After taking 24th in time trials, I got placed in a heat with my friend and only other Team Summit member competing with me, Matthew. The first heat went well – I played it pretty conservative, staying on first place’s tail but not attempting to pass. I took an easy second place and qualified for the next round, which was 1/8th finals. In the video below, I’m in gate 3.

 

Qualified for the next round, I knew I had a chance at taking top 2, but it would be difficult. I almost fell right out of the start, but that proved to eventually help me, as all three other riders fell on the second turn, allowing me to pass and take the lead. Unfortunately, I ended up getting passed by one person at the finish line, as I kind of let up at the finish line and didn’t land the final jump very well. But, it didn’t really matter to me as I was qualified for the next round anyways.

I knew I was pretty much screwed in the third round. I was racing some of the top seeded riders, and they were all extremely good. Out of the start, I fell behind, but still was relatively close to everyone else.  The guy in front of me took a fall, and as I tried to pass him, he jumped up in front of me and I got knocked back. I knew then that my nationals was over, but I still finished the race, throwing a grab over the final jump.

As a whole, Nationals was a great experience and I had a great time. I finished 15th overall, and I’m really happy about that. At the start of the season, one of my goals was top 20, and I accomplished that, so I’m happy. I’m in an interesting position for next year, as I have many options. I could stay in my age class, and move up to the Junior (16/17) age group, I could enter Open class, or I could even go compete in the Rev Tour with competitions around the country. We’ll have to see…

I’ll be publishing a blog post about my snowboarding season as a whole soon, as well as putting together a season edit comprised of all my best clips of the season.

Revving up for Nationals

Nationals is literally just around the corner now. Saturday marks the opening ceremony, and from there the competition begins. I’m qualified in just boardercross again (I didn’t qualify for slopestyle, but it was close), and that should be helpful to just focus on one event versus multiple. I opted to skip training days on the boardercross course, but I’ll get an hour of training in on Saturday. My actual competition is on Monday, April 3rd, and it all will go down in a single day, so hopefully I’ll make it out of a few heats, maybe even to the top 10, which is my goal for nationals.

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Jadyn has a significantly busier schedule, with Halfpipe on Monday morning, Rail Jam on Monday evening, Slopestyle on Tuesday, and closing it out with Boardercross on Wednesday. We’re all cheering for her, and I’m really hoping that she can take top 3 in an event this year. Isaac decided not to compete at nationals this year to focus on his lacrosse season and prepare for next year’s competitions, even though he got invited in both Slopestyle and Boardercross.

Even with all the recent track meets and busy schedule, I’ve been getting myself mentally prepared for the competition, and planning out what school days to skip to get more time on snow before I compete. I still need to get my race board waxed and my bindings repaired (one of my straps snapped recently), but I should have everything completely ready by the time my competition comes around. The nationals boardercross course looks phenomenal, and I can’t wait to launch out of the starting gate and ride it. From what I’ve seen, it will be the best course I’ve raced on to date.

This will probably be the last post I’ll write before I compete, unless I have time to write a quick one in between training, homework and sleep. I’ll be riding tomorrow and Friday, riding the course on Saturday, training again on Sunday, and competing on Monday, so this is my last “normal” day until after nationals is over. I’ll be attempting to live stream Jadyn’s rail jam later in the evening on Monday on either Instagram or YouTube, so our family and friends can see her compete. But in the mean time, it’s back to snowboard training.

Final Competitions!

Once again, I find myself at the end of the competition season. I competed in a total of 11 competitions this season, trying out slopestyle as a secondary event this year, and even one rail jam, because why not? I finished my last comps of the season at Crested Butte, with three boardercrosses. I ended up finishing top 3 all three days, and obtaining my first three USASA medals, which I was extremely excited about. I finished third on Friday and Saturday, and then improved to take the silver medal on Sunday. I raced against some really good competitors, and it was overall a great time. In this post, I’m going to go through each competition of mine from this season and write a bit about them all.
Copper Slopestyle – January 8th 

Best Run – 50/50, Backside 360, Front Shifty Roast Beef, Straight Air, 50/50

My original plan for the competition season was to wait until boardercross comps finished, then participate in one or two slopestyle events. That changed when, after I saw the fun that everyone had in the New Years Eve Rail Jam, I decided to scrap that plan and enter the first slope event of the season on January 8th. I kept my run pretty basic, throwing a backside 360 as my best trick. I ended up placing 11th out of 16, scoring a 39.3. It was a fun experience, trying something new and getting to perform a few of my tricks under pressure. Ultimately, it made me decide to do the rest of the Rocky Mountain Series slopestyle comps, and I don’t regret that in the slightest.

Copper Slopestyle – January 22nd

Best Run: 50/50, Frontside 360 Mute, Backside 360, Front Shifty Nose, 50/50 Front 180 out

Naturally, after the fun I had during the first slopestyle comp, I couldn’t just not do another. I decided to do the next slopestyle comp, and with all the practice I had put in, my trick list had grown, and I think that was evident in my performance. On my first run, I landed hard on my back, but I pulled myself together to put down a solid second run. I finished 9th out of 17, with an improved score of 44.3.

Ski Cooper BoarderX Weekend 1 – January 28/29th

 

After the second slope event, I began to prepare Ski Cooper Boardercross. I had just ordered a new Donek Saber (race board), but it didn’t arrive in time for the first comps. The first two competitions didn’t go very well – I took 9th out of 16 on both days, getting eliminated in the quarterfinals by taking third. Not much else happened besides that, and it wasn’t until the second weekend where things got more interesting for me.

Ski Cooper BoarderX Weekend 2 – February 4/5th

On the second weekend of racing, I was prepared. I had my Donek, I had a good wax, and I had run the course through many times previously. On the first day, I didn’t make it out of my first heat (the semifinals), and raced in the consolation final (video above), taking second in that race. Overall, I placed 6th/9. The next day, which was also the last day of racing at Ski Cooper, I successfully made it out of my heat to go to the finals, where I was in third for most of the race but fell on the last turn and took 4th out of 9 overall.

Howelsen Hill Rail Jam – February 18th

I laugh to myself when I think of participating in this one. Honestly, looking back, I wish I hadn’t competed, because I was totally unprepared for a Rail Jam. In the past weeks leading up to this comp, I probably spent 30 minutes on rails, total. I fell multiple times, and didn’t really have a noteworthy run. I’d say it was a good experience, but I don’t plan on doing any ever again, unless it’s next year’s New Years Eve Jam. For anyone who wants to know, I finished a solid 10th/10.

Keystone Slopestyle – February 25th

Best Run: 50/50, Straight Air, Frontside 360 Mute, Backside 360, Front 180

Now, this one was a fun comp. I decided to do the last Rocky Mountain Series slopestyle, and I’m so glad I did. I’d had practice on Keystone’s jumps, and I put down a solid first run, and was in fifth after the first run. I decided to go for it on my second run, attempting to go front lipslide, frontside 540, half cab, backside 360, with a frontside 540 on the quarterpipe. I’d never spun on the first jump before, but I decided since it was my last slopestyle, why not just go for it? I ended up overrotating the 540 to almost 720, and slipping out. Overall, it was an awesome comp to participate in, but not landing my second run put me in 10th overall. If I had to do it over again, however, I’d still attempt that same second run, because if doing what I usually do isn’t going to get me near the top 5, why not risk something that could?

Crested Butte BoarderX – March 3/4/5th

 

Now, these final competitions really made me feel like all my boardercross work throughout the season payed off. I raced hard, and obtained medals on all three days. On the first day, I had 6 people in my age group, and I qualified out of my first heat to the finals, where I took third. The next day, I again took third (out of 7), with the day going pretty much the exact same as the previous. The final day, after my parents had left and I was staying with my friend Matthew (who was also competing with me), I made finals once again, but this time finishing second, taking the silver medal. The course was pretty intense, but it was nice to have a harder course to race on, as opposed to Ski Cooper where it was basically the first to the end of the start won the race.

Thanks for reading/watching this post! I hope you enjoyed my reflections on my competitions, and as always, you can check out all my competition videos as well as some other of my snowboarding videos on my alternate YouTube Channel, GabeShreds.

Nationals begins in less than a week, and I’m super stoked for it! 

First High School Track Meet!

Coming into high school means I’ll be competing in high school track, which subsequently means that I’ll be competing against kids one, two or three years older than me. Which is the reason I’m attributing my results at my first meet to. Overall, the meet went exactly how I thought it would – with me in the starting blocks, preparing to race competitors that had at least a year, not to mention a foot of height, on me.

Basically, I got destroyed. Some of that was because I was one of the youngest ones, and the other bit was the fact that I just didn’t run well. In the long jump, I placed 23rd out of 67, jumping 17’6″ (which is not a bad jump, I have to say). Now, this was one of those situations where I was simply competing against older competitors. I had the best result of any freshman competing that day, and not only that, but I beat out the next best scored freshman by a little over 8 inches. When I put it in a perspective like that, I don’t feel so bad with my result. But being the best out of all the freshmen competing doesn’t mean anything. I need that top 8 finish. And that’s what I’m striving to do and will continue to attempt to achieve throughout the season. I figure I need an additional 10 inches to have a chance at placing top 8, and I’m definitely placing long jump as one of my stronger suits in track for now, seeing as people are jumping at least a foot higher than my PR in high jump.

Now, the 200m was a different story. I honestly have no idea what I did wrong. Maybe I was just tired from all my previous events? Maybe I saw I was in the lead and was content with that? I have no idea. Anyways, what happened was that I got placed in the first heat because I had no prior result to seed me into the competition (which is where the slowest people compete). I ended up winning my heat, but I also ran my slowest time in the 200 since early 7th grade. I definitely need to improve on that, so I’ll definitely put in some time into sprinting endurance.

I’m just going to skip over the two relays I ran, as we got disqualified in the 4×200, and placed last in the 4×100. As a whole (I say overall way too much, so I need to change it up), it was a good first experience, and gave me a good place to work off of. My next meet is this Saturday, and hopefully I can do a bit better. That’s also on top of preparing for Snowboarding Nationals, which happens in just TWO weeks! It’s going to be a crazy next few weeks… but that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be fun.

Overlap

I seem to find myself in this position every year… Finishing up one sport while just starting another. It’s a hectic time, but it’s pretty fun to be doing two sports at once! One day I’m training for USASA Boardercross Nationals, and the next I’m running and jumping, preparing for the next track meet (which is tomorrow, in this case).

Around this time last year, I was in the same position – getting ready to race on both snowboards and the track. But this year is slightly different – Different, because I’m now in high school and running track for Summit High School, and preparing for boardercross planning to advance out of a few heats.

The biggest part of managing two major sports at a time is definitely time management, and that’s one area where I’m improving in, but I still need to work on. I occasionally work on homework until well past 10 PM, having only previously completed only a bit of the work. I’m attempting to limit distractions and complete some of my homework earlier than a day or two before the due date to account for sleep. However, after a long, quotidian day of school, it’s hard to come home and continue working. It’s much easier to just go to Woodward with friends, watch a movie with family or simply sleep. But that’s where I’m working to force myself just to do the work, and then backflip/watch a movie/sleep afterwards.

Tomorrow I will race in the first track meet of the high school season, and I’m both nervous and excited. It will be the first meet where I won’t be competing in my main event (high jump), not to mention the first meet where I will race people older than me with far superior skills. But, you never know, I still could somehow finish in the top 8, earning me a podium and earning the team a couple of points. I’ll be competing in the 4×100, 4×200, 200m and Long Jump, which are all events I’ve run before in meets (minus long jump, but I’ve done that plenty of times). If I had to guess, I’d say I have the best shot in either the 4×100 or the Long Jump, where I think I at least have a shot at making the top 8.

And then, of course, I return to snowboard training the day after. Coming from sprinting and jumping all day, I just hope I’ll have enough energy to get down the mountain awake. In other news, I threw some backflips the other day at copper, and I was fortunate enough to have my coach film me, and you can view it below.

Nationals is only 16 days away, which is still crazy. It feels like the season has flown by, and it’s almost time to start editing together a season edit! Although it feels to me that the season has gone so quickly, I feel like I’ve accomplished almost everything I wanted to this season (except, however, for landing a 720. Well, after nationals is over, I’m going to attempt a few). I’ve landed 540’s, backflips, slopestyle runs, and four top 5 competition finishes, with three of them getting me onto the podium. What’s left? A good result at the National Championships. And then it’s off to the races, swapping out my snowboard for a pair of spikes.

Second Round of Boardercross

Just last weekend, I competed in another set of boardercross events, both at Ski Cooper once again, and as I said I would do before, I improved. The first weekend, I took two 9th places, not even making it out of my heat once. But the second weekend, things changed. First, there were only 9 competitors the second weekend, compared to the 16 that raced on the first weekend. So I don’t think that 100% of the improvement in ranking was based on skill. Just wanting to put that out there. Anyways, onto the retelling.

Last Saturday, I took third in my first heat, but since there were only 9 people, and my first heat was technically the semifinal, I got to race in another round, the consolation final. In the consolation final, I took second place after two riders fell, and placed 6th overall. You can watch the video below (I’m in gate 1, closest to the camera).

Jadyn’s heat, which was just a final because there were only 4 girls, was extremely fun to watch. She tried a type of start called the pressure-start (where your board is pushed up against the start gate so that your board gets out of the starting gate as quickly as possible), which she had only practiced once, and it payed off. She took the lead right out of the gate, and held it until the second turn, where her friend Anika passed her. You can view that video below (Jadyn’s the one in the blue)

Sunday turned out even better. In the first heat, I took second place, which put me in finals. During finals, we all started super close to each other, with all four of us battling for position around the first turn. I moved into third place, and stayed that way until the end of the race, where I skidded out over the third to last turn, and ended up taking 4th, both in the heat and overall. If there’s one thing that I’m striving for in boardercross, it’s a top-3 finish on the podium. Unfortunately, that was the last Ski Cooper boardercross event, so I’m going to have to wait until next month to attempt to take a medal again. On a higher note, with that fourth place finish I am now ranked #40 in the country, and hopefully I can improve that ranking at Crested Butte later this season. But for now, it’s back to trying to land some 540’s in the park!

Mini Snowboard Edit!

Yesterday I decided to put together a small video comprising of a few of my favorite tricks of the season, and publish it to YouTube. You can view it below:

Tomorrow I return to Ski Cooper for the second round of boardercross. Hopefully I can do better than last week, and I’m confident that I’ll compete better this weekend.