As I sit on my last leg of 36 hours of travel home, I am finally getting the chance to reflect back on the last 3 weeks and my first trip to South America. And wow, what an experience! I haven't been to many summer camps, and definitely not any summer races so it was a very different experience clicking into race mode mid summer!
The trip started in Ushuaia, Argentina (the southern most city in the world!) for a pre-race training camp. Situated on the water, the town reminded me a lot of Alaska. A quick 25 minute bus ride put us to the base of the mountain where we would train for the next two weeks. We were fortunate enough to have a full course built by White Industries, one of the few World Cup course designers. Additionally to the US Team were a few other national teams that made training really beneficial and fun. We even did a mock race on one of the last days which was a really great low pressure way to get into the swing of race season. It definitely took a while to get my feet under me and firing, I was very thankful to have the time on a track before the races up next in Bariloche.
At the beginning of September we made our way up the country a tad to Bariloche, home of the first to World Cups of the 17/18 season. By this time everyone was pretty much in full race mode. A typical World Cup schedule spans over 4 days consisting of a test day, training day, time trial day, and race day. Test day is where just a couple selected races ride the course to make sure there don’t need to be any changes before the whole field of competitors starts racing on it. Due to some predicted windy days we skipped test day and went right into training. The course was great! Other than a few minor changes everything flowed well, and it was exhilarating to be back at a race.
Come time trial day (running the course solo to determine brackets) I found myself in 13th out of about 30 girls. Seeing as time trials have been one of my weaker points in years past I was happy to start with a strong showing. The next day we went into 4 heats of 6 women. My first heat went well finishing in 2nd, putting me through to the semi-finals. Come semi-finals and small finals didn’t go quite as I planned, accidentally leaving room for passes to be made. Finishing the day with a 12th place finish left me satisfied with my riding but hungry for better results.
The next day we had yet another race. This second day we had time trials and heats in the same day. Everyone was exhausted, and we had to do twice the amount of snowboarding that we do in a normal race day. Falling my first time trial run let me do an 11th place time trial on my second run (getting more consistent!). Following time trials my heat didn’t go well at all. I got edgy in the start section, almost fell, saved it, but by that time the other 3 girls were gone and I didn’t stand a chance. A disappointing 11th place finish to end the trip at the time.
Now looking back at it, I can’t believe I was as disappointed as I was. After having a good season last year it turns out I really raised my expectations for myself, as I should. But I have still come SO far and I outperformed many of my other finishes. I am really excited at the caliber I am performing at and even more excited to see where it takes me when winter hits and our next races in December come around. For now, ready to hit the dry land hard until snowboarding rolls around again :)