Wednesday, April 1, 2009

World cup finals 2009

I just competed in the world cup finals held in Valmalenco, Italy.

There was a lot of wind during the qualifications which caused troubles for some of the riders who found themselves travelling faster or slower than expected over the jump section in the middle of the course. I managed to avoid most of the trouble to qualify for the finals in 4th place giving me 1st lane choice in my first heat and putting me in a great starting position.

I quickly got into 2nd position behind Olivia Nobs in my first heat and stayed there comfortably to go though to the semi finals.

In the semi finals I got into 2nd position fairly early on behind Dominique Maltais and it was looking like I was going to get through to the final easily until the second to last turn when Olivia made for a pass on the inside of the corner so I stayed high trying to keep my speed so she wouldn’t get in front. Then Dominique went off the hip jump at the end of the turn falling forwards over the nose of her board and because of the angle Olivia and I were travelling we went off the jump travelling in totally the wrong direction! We flew in the air while I did a kind of inverted 360 for what felt like an age before finally hitting the ground, and man did that impact hurt! I spun around a couple of times on the ground before getting back onto my feet and continuing down the course. Dominique was just ahead of me and on her board again after falling but moving very slowly so we both struggled over the last few features looking back over our shoulders for the girl who was in 4th to come flying past but she never came. I later found out that she had fallen half way down when behind us and had decided not to continue in the course after falling. Olivia never made it down after the fall as she had hurt her back so got stretched off the mountain. When I got to the bottom knowing I had qualified for the final along with Dominique all I could say was ow, ow, ow. I climbed onto the ski do to get back to the top and did a quick account of how my body was feeling after the crash. My right knee was pretty sore but I was sure it was just bruised along with my right hip, my right arm was feeling weak, sore and I couldn’t straighten it. I was most worried about the side of my face, I could feel that I had a scrape to my right temple and the feeling of a black eye coming on and the possibility of my eye getting stuck shut as well as a head ache and a small amount of dizziness.

I got to the top and let everyone in my team know I was basically ok after the crash which they had all watched on the TV screen at the top and winced heavily at (if you check out the news article for this event on this site there is a video showing it) There was then around a 20 minute delay while Olivia was being loaded into the stretcher. I used the time to try and calm myself down, stop myself shaking and decide if I was in good enough shape to ride in the final. If nothing else could I pull out of the start gate with how my arm was feeling?

By the time the girls final was called into the gate I had decided it would be safe for me to ride but I was going to have to be careful as I was still dizzy. I pulled out of the gate a little slowly, not surprisingly but passed into 3rd position without too much difficulty and managed to hold that position all the way down to finish in 3rd and take home the bronze medal.

It was really great to end the world cup season with a podium especially because my parents had come out to watch me and that was the first time they had seen me on the podium at a world cup. Also because of the extra points I won it pushed my world ranking up to 5th which is where I now finish the season, 2 places higher than last year.

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