Game face on (via stephhickey.com.au)
Blog via stephhickey.com.au
What a day, what a day…
The first day of training on the Olympic boardercross course was very difficult. Mother nature was not on our side these games and the rain and moisture was very damaging to our course and made the riding conditions very difficult and slow, making it hard for us riders to clear the features originally.
Following a couple of hard days of training I woke up the morning of my event feeling excited and ready to race. We headed up the hill at 6.30 am the rain & fog was heavy, causing hours of delays that morning. To me the weather and delays were not too troubling, coming from Australia I’m use to variable conditions. After a 2 and half hour delay we headed up to the top of the course for training. (I managed to power nap in the athletes lounge in the delay time)
The course was quicker because they salted it and the training runs were traveling and linking much better than the earlier training days. The difficult thing was the combination of soft and salted snow throughout the course. It was so important to stay light on your feet and ride with feeling, combined with the nerves and excitement of it being your Olympic run, not always the easiest task.
Knowing that a lot of the top seeds had fallen down before me I knew it was important to lay down a clean run in run one. I definitely played it too safe in the first run, but it was a clean run and really a matter of staying on your feet in those conditions early in the day. I was delighted as I was sitting in 11th place as I crossed the finish line. (Top 16 go through to finals)
The craziest feeling was coming around that last turn before the finish jump you could hear the ROAR of the crowd as everyone cheered you over the finish line. Normally you don’t hear anything during your run and I tend to be fairly tunnel visioned during my qualifiers but this roaring crowd was impossible to ignore- what a rush! I looked up into the grandstand to see my family holding the aussie flag and a massive pink (like my board) “go steph go” banner.
My second run was a lot cleaner than my first run and knowing I had a safe but slower run in my first qualifier I knew I had to let it go this time. I got in the gate ready to lay one down, excited to be racing and with a comfortable amount of butterflies and nerves. The conditions were constantly changing but I managed to stay focused and excited.
Unfortunately, that triple feature at the bottom, I was just way too back seat and I needed to get my weight a lot more forward but when I tried to bring it forward I was too late and I just bounced off the next double feature.. “Bounced” being the operative word. A tough stack on the body. It all happened so quickly.
(The crash was ranked number 9 in the top 10 ‘Olympic highlights’ that day! My mum did not appreciate seeing it over & over in slow motion though)
All the training over this summer not only made me stronger and faster to handle the larger and more technical courses which dominate out world cup tour these days- but thankfully all the extra training has also helped me get up & recover quicker from such a heavy crash.
I am devastated with the result. I was really looking forward to racing in heats but that's our sport, that's boardercoss – it’s cut throat and if you don’t stick your run you have no one to blame but yourself.
18th in the world is respectable but obviously not where I planned to place. When you add up all your training hours and sacrifices you make it is disappointing, but overall just makes me more hungry for the next race.
Result aside; nothing could take away from the amazing experience that is the Olympics.
See full sory & more pics here.