Heading into the home stretch!

8 days. 8 days until the end of the school year. It seems so close… Yet there’s one big hurdle standing in the way – Finals. I have three of them – in English, math, and science. I took my AP Computer Science exam last Friday, and I think I did well. As for the other three, I need to do well on most of them if I want to finish with a 4.16 GPA. I’m not worried about my math and science finals so much as my English final, but I’ll need to still put in a decent amount of studying for math and science (English is just a class presentation rather than a written final).

I’m already looking ahead to the summer, and looking at our travel plans, I can tell it will most definitely be one of the best summers of my life. We plan to travel to Texas, then scale the east coast before coming back to Colorado in August.

It seems as though the school year has gone on forever, but in actuality it’s only been 9 months. I’ve gotten my morning routine down, waking up at 6 AM, packing my school bag, eating breakfast, and occasionally doing the dishes. Although I wake up at 6 on most days, that doesn’t mean I can’t sleep in. On weekends/holidays I’ve slept in as late as 11:30. It’ll be nice to have summer vacation and not have to wake up that early.

I’m still counting down the days, as I have since school began (On the first day of school, I was like “Only 284 more days of school left!”). I’ll be writing another blog post after school ends reflecting on the past school year, so hopefully that one can make up for this one and its sub-par content (in my opinion).

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End of Track Season!

I know I write this blog post every year, but I like it – it’s a way for me to reflect on my track season and all my competitions. It’s not only track season that’s winding down, either. There are less than 15 days left until June 2nd, the last day of school! I can’t wait to be done with Freshman year and begin what seems to be for me the longest awaited summer of my life.

Track season started off with two meets a week, for three weeks. Lots of running, jumping, and a bit of throwing. Getting back into high jump was extremely fun, with me having not done it since we were in Sedona in July. At the first meet of the year in Rifle, I discovered that I needed to start working on my sprinting endurance and speed, as I ran the slowest 200m of my life that day. I didn’t feel that bad about it however, because earlier that day I had tied my PR in long jump at 17’6″.

The second meet in Ft. Collins went around the same. This was my first time high jumping at a varsity meet, and it was… quite an experience. I discovered the bar started at 5’6″, 4 inches taller than my personal best. As you would expect, I failed, and pretty bad at that. But once again, I ended up jumping farther than I’d ever jumped before in long jump, at 17’7.5″, with a last-second third jump after I’d failed the first two.

Starting in the 4×100 at Ft. Collins

The rest of the meets up until the league meets were pretty stereotypical. I ran a lot of events, with the 100m, 200m, 4×100, 4×200, 4×400, High Jump, and Long Jump. I improved my 200 time slightly, but it still wasn’t the greatest at around 27 seconds. My high jump was pretty uneventful, as well as all over the place. Sometimes I would jump really well in practice, and then completely fail at a meet, or almost clear 5’4″ and not even come close to clearing 5′ the next meet. Two of the meets ended up getting cancelled, which sucked, but it gave me more time to train for the league meets.

A few weeks ago, I competed in the JV league meet, which was pretty fun as everyone wasn’t as good as at normal meets. I failed to come close to my PR in Long Jump, but still ended up taking 8th and scoring a point for the team. I cleared 5’2″ in High Jump, taking 5th, which I was really stoked about. I also ran the 800m and 200m (back to back!), which was, to sum it up in a word, painful. I ran 2:35 in the 800 (which was fine with me, cause I haven’t ever run it before), and a slow 27.4 in the 200 (I was extremely tired after running the 800).

After the JV league meet, I got prepared for our final big meet of the season, our varsity league championships. I got put in the 4×100, 4×200, High Jump, and Long Jump, and aside from the fun I had from actually competing, the entire experience was awesome. We drove out to Grand Junction, where we stayed the night at a hotel (because this meet was a 2-day meet) and ate out as a team. The first day of the meet, I long jumped 17’2.5″ to take 10th overall. As that was the only event I had that day, I basically just slept at our camp and watched other people run. The second day was a bit more eventful. We took last in our relays, which was expected, but I ended up jumping a new high jump PR of 5’3″.

 

At our final meet of the season, I got put in the 100m, 400m, High Jump, and Long Jump. I basically failed in High Jump, only clearing 4’10”. The 100m went really well – I won my heat, in a time of 12.9 seconds. But, the 100m wasn’t my main focus of the day. I had wanted to run the 400 all season, but didn’t get the chance to. My goal was to break 60 seconds, and I tried really hard, but to no avail. I ran a 26-second first 200, then around a 34-second second 200 to finish with a time of 60.9 seconds. Regardless of my time, I ended up placing 7th overall, and scoring 2 points for the team.

 

So that’s how my track season went. I realize this post was a lot of numbers, and I keep trying to stop myself from solely writing times, lengths, and heights, but I still have a lot to improve on. I think my track season went really well for Freshman year, and I hope to improve my times greatly next year.

Long Jumping!

Here’s a comparison of my track times from 7th grade to last year to this year (my 7th/8th grade times may not be completely accurate because all the meets were hand-timed, compared to the FAT of this year. There were a few times after the school season where I ran in other meets, and I still count those as part of the previous school season)

2015 Season (7th Grade):

  • 100m: 13.2
  • 200m: 27.9
  • 400m: 68.0
  • 800m: 2:48
  • High Jump: 5’0″

2016 Season (8th Grade):

  • 100m: 12.4
  • 200m: 26.6
  • 400m: 65.0
  • High Jump: 5’2″
  • Long Jump: 17’6″
  • 1kg Discus: 74’6″

2017 Season (9th Grade):

  • 100m: 12.9
  • 200m: 27.0
  • 400m: 60.9
  • 800m: 2:36
  • High Jump: 5’3″
  • Long Jump: 17’7.5″

 

 

 

To Matt Voegtle

You know, reflecting on the snowboard season, I realize I made some big improvements. Going from 42nd place at nationals to 15th? Not one, but three medals in a season having previously earning none? Breaking the highway speed limit almost every day standing on a plank of wood? Not all of that comes without proper training and instruction.

For the past few months, I’d been training for Nationals, and after the slopestyle regional competition season ended, I devoted most to all of my time to railing carve turns, going fast, and pumping to generate speed in order to improve my form for boardercross. Matt, the director of the Team Summit snowboarding program, devoted his time every weekend to helping me nail the proper boardercross technique before nationals came around. He’d always walk me through the different drills, explaining the technical parts of the various things we did, as well as give a demonstration of the form (even if it was most of the time…. backwards :P).

Not all my time spent with Matt this season was coaching and training, however. One day (definitely one of my favorite days of the season), I got to go out to Breck with Matt on a weekday, and just shred through some steeps, trees, and snow-covered river banks. It was a great time, and provided me some time away from training to relax (well, as relaxed as you can be while trying to not hit any trees through a steep forest). Matt always makes everything fun, whether it was leading me to explore some new areas of Breck I’d never ridden or racing me down the mountain.

I love Matt’s coaching style, as he always seems to push you just past what you think are your limits, and ultimately helps you to become a better rider, no matter the discipline. At competitions, he’s basically my ideal coach, whether it’s recording my races/practices, waxing my board before I compete, or giving me tips and critiquing my form before the next round of boardercross. Whatever the case, he always helps me to progress and achieve my goals, whether it’s landing a front 5 or landing a spot on the boardercross podium.

So, to conclude, I just want to say: Thanks, Matt, for all the skills you helped me develop, all the motivation to achieve more in snowboarding, and all the support throughout the season. Here’s to next season!

Snowboard Season Edit 2016/17

It’s finally done (albeit very hastily)! I have compiled and edited together the best clips of my snowboarding season. It wasn’t my best editing, because I just wanted to get it out, but I still like it nonetheless. Most of my season was dedicated to boardercross, but I had a fair amount of slopestyle training  and that comprises most of the video. So, without any more procrastination, here is my season edit from the 2016/17 snowboard season.

Also, here is the link to Jadyn’s season edit, which I also edited. Isaac has a season edit, but it was blocked on YouTube due to us using a copyrighted song, which I plan to change in the future.

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.

NationalsBanner2017

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!