The Legendary Mt. Baker Banked Slalom is one of the oldest and most prestigious snowboard contests in the United States. It is a lottery entry, or invite only snowboard event. There are 1,200 athletes that apply for only 350 spots. I was fortunate to have pre-qualified for the event from my past results in the race. People from all over the world trek to Mt.Baker to attend this race. It is a true event in the snowboard community.
The race consists of carved out banked turns in which you generate speed down a natural half pipe gully that lies in the heart of Mt.Baker’s ski area. Two days of qualifications and finals on the last day. Fastest time of the two runs wins your category. It’s just YOU, the banked turns and the clock.
I get pretty nervous the week before this race. The anticipation and anxiety increase in every cell of my body the closer the event gets. I do everything I can to make sure my physical, mental, and emotional state is in a good place leading up the race.
This year I visited Lifestyle Chiropractic the week of the race to get my personal “tune-up”. Dr.D to get my spine and pelvis lined up. Sean in PT to help move my sticky IT bands and Adductors. Adam who does insane massage therapy to access the deeper tissues.
I was feeling pretty physically and mentally prepared as I drove up to Glacier, WA to race. The first two days of qualifications I had placed first in my category with a good two second lead to spare. I was feeling really confident as I headed into the finals.
The morning of the finals I got up and did my race day rituals. Healthy breakfast, coffee, yoga, shots of beet juice ( I heard that the nitrates in the beets can improve your competitive state by 3%, so I was trying the theory out), yoga session, scape the wax off the board and brush it out and then pre-race poop. I was good to go!
As I entered the gate for my first run I could see that many people were having some troubles on specific banked turns. My plan was to avoid the trouble and try to stay steady. Half way down the course my board tracked one way and my body the other. I flew into a unintended back flip off the course and out of the track. I had to hike back into the course, blanketing seconds of time in the mistake along the way.
Alittle of my heart sank as I approached the finish line knowing that the run would not count due to the major blowout. I am thankful that sometimes life gives you a second chance. We get TWO runs on the finals and the best one counts.
I rode up the chair back to the top and put all of my meditation training, positive thinking, visualization techniques into play. I did not talk to anyone at the start this round and kept a tiger eye focus on what I had to do the next run. This time as I got into the gate I had a rush of positivity and a wave of being so present in the moment.
I decided to take a different line to avoid the past mistake. Once I got past the tricky part of the course I allowed myself to let the snowboard run and found myself looking for more speed and more finesse. At the end of the day, I had beat my first time by 3 seconds and took home the win. Yeah!
More important the the coveted “golden duck tape” award was the personal win I had achieved to overcome a mental obstacle and block after my fall. It is not always easy to get up when life knocks you down. Sometimes you just have to stand firmly in your stance once you get back up. Nothing is for certain even when all the cards line up in your favor.
Sometimes its facing your own demons and overcoming the doubts and fear.
To trust that you are capable.
To believe in yourself.
A personal win!