Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On the podium at the World Cup Finals!

I finished the season last week on the podium at the final world cup of the winter.

It was a great ending to a brilliant season. All of my results have been in the top ten this season and I’ve made it to the finals in 5 out of the 8 competitions.

The only thing that had been eluding me was a podium finish, so when I finished in 3rd place at the world cup finals it was just brilliant.

It was a really fun and eventful race. I qualified well in 6th place so was feeling good for the finals day.

My first heat went well and I got through to the semis without too much trouble.

In the semi-final I had some girls trying to pass me from behind but I managed to fend them off to get myself through into the final for the 5th time this season.

In the final I got out of the gate pretty well but then didn’t ride the first few features quite as fast as some of the others so I was in 5th place. Going into the last turn I was doing all I could to pass when there was a crash, Olympic champion Mielle Ricker who was in the lead had fallen! I passed around her so I was then in 4th. Then the girl who was in 3rd place, Dominique, went down as well! I had to turn very sharply to avoid crashing into her and lost a lot of my speed, so much so that she had got up again and it was a race to the finish line. We both went off the final jump together, neither of us having enough speed to make it to the landing but not really caring at that moment that we were going to land on the flat and it was going to hurt. We both slammed onto the snow and struggled to keep control. Dominique bounced up and flipped over the front of her board while I stayed on my feet allowing me to get over the finished line just in front of her to win the Bronze.

It was a very close finish and just goes to show how it’s never over in snowboard cross until you cross the line.

This 3rd place finish meant I finished the season ranked 6th in the world.

I want to say a massive thank you to my sponsors Pokerstars, Optimal Payments, Isle of Man Sport Aid and BMW as well as my official suppliers Oxess snowboards, K2 boots + bindings, Von Zipper Goggles, Giro Helmets and Dare2B clothing for their help this season. I also want to say thanks to all the Manx businesses and people who've used www.IsleofDeals.com. Every one of you is assisting me on journey towards Olympic gold. Thank you.

Friday, February 10, 2012

5th in the world!

The latest round of the world cup circuit was held last week in Blue mountain, Canada. I had a really good race and finished in 5th place.

Despite a few good results this season I haven’t quite managed to get onto the podium which is a little frustrating but I am very happy that my results are looking steady with 10th, 7th, 4th, 6th and 5th so far this season and I know the podium will come soon.

The great thing about this latest result is that it bumps me up to 5th in the world which I am super stoked about!

Many thanks to my sponsors Neteller, Pokerstars, BMW and Isle of Man Sport for helping me into the world top 5 J

Friday, February 3, 2012

Winter X games 2012

Last week I competed in the winter X games in Aspen, Colorado.

The X games is an invite only competition where not only snowboarders compete but also skiers, snowmobile riders and more. It’s a bit like the American version of the Olympics but exclusively for action sports. This was my 4th time competing at the X games so I knew what to expect and was really looking forward to it.

The course at the X games usually has bigger jumps and features compared to the world cup courses and this year was no exception with a 16 foot high gap jump mid-way down the course and a massive final jump. World number 1 and 4 times X games winner Lindsey Jacobellis fell on the final jump on the first training day and tore the ACL in her knee putting her out for the rest of the season.

The qualification day was pretty chaotic as it had snowed quite heavily the day before and slowed down the course enough that most of the girls didn’t have enough speed to make it over the gap jump. Considering that if you didn’t make it to the landing you would just slam straight into a solid wall of snow, understandably none of us wanted to go off the jump when we thought we make not make it! So after much discussion the organizers sorted it so we would do qualifications the next morning when the course had sped up a bit.

So we did one qualification run each the next morning, at the X games only the top 12 girls qualify for the heats and I qualified in 3rd! That’s the highest I have qualified in a world level competition since back in 2004 so I was super happy. The better you qualify the better lane choice you get in the heats and my qualification times is one of the main thing I am working on this season as now there are 6 people in each heat instead of 4 lane choice is even more important. I am happy with my qualification results so far this season as they have improved with every comp from 9th to 7th to 4th to 3rd.

After qualifications we had a short break for lunch before the heats started in the afternoon. My first heat went really well, I got into 2nd position near the start and stayed in that position all the way down, so I was through to the final!

In the final all 6 of us were out of the gate in a big group, everyone was jostling for position trying to get into the top 3 and onto the podium. I was in 4th position trying to pass into 3rd at the same time as the girl behind me was trying to pass me, all in the first corner! About half way through the corner I don’t know if I hit one of the other girl’s boards or if it was just a patch of ice but all of a sudden I was face down on the snow. I got up and finished the course but I was at the back because of my fall so finished the race in 6th place over all.

I was disappointed to not get onto the podium as I feel like I have been riding really well the last couple of competitions and it’s just out of my grasp, but on the other hand 6th isn’t a bad place to finish and with the size of some of the features on the course to be honest I am pretty relieved I got through it all injury free too.

I am in San Francisco for a few days now, my Brother Jon, his wife Tyla and my little very cute Nephew Zadin live out here so I have come to visit them for a few days before I head to Canada for the next two world cups of the season which are in Blue Mountain, Ontario on the 8th and Stoneham, Quebec on the 21st of February.

Monday, January 23, 2012

4th at the World Cup in Veysonnaz, Switzerland.

Yesterday I competed in the second world cup event in Veysonnaz and I finished 4th!

The qualifications should have been run on Saturday but it was really windy and girls were being blown off course when in the air so the organizers rightly decided it was too dangerous so cancelled it for that day and ran the qualifications on the Sunday morning before the finals that afternoon.

It was still a bit windy so all the riders were trying to stay as low as they could down the whole course to avoid it as much as possible but it wasn’t as strong as the day before so the race went ahead.

I had a good first qualification run which put me into 4th place. My second run was slightly slower but I kept my 4th position which is my highest qualifying place so far this season.

I am training with the Dutch team this season and there’s one other girl on the team called Bell Berghuis, we knew eventually we were going to end up in the same heat at a world cup and in Veysonnaz it happened. There was Bell, myself and 4 other girls all trying to get into the top 3 to progress to the semi-finals. Bell and I are both super competitive but at the same time we wanted the other to succeed as well.

Because I had qualified well I got first choice of the gates in my first heat which was great. The 6 of us all pulled out and I got into second position after the first jump. Bell got into a crash with another girl unfortunately at that point so she was out. I stayed in second position to the bottom so qualified through to the next round.

I was happy I had got through but disappointed Bell didn’t make it too.

In the semi-final I was in 4th (I think) near the start but then passed into 2nd place over the third jump. I was thinking about half way down “just keep this position and you’re in the final, concentrate on your riding and don’t let the girls behind pass!” I did just that and crossed the line in 2nd place securing my place in the final J

The final was tough with Olympic gold, Silver and bronze medallists making up half the pack. I had a good start out of the gate but made a mistake on the first feature so I was behind over the first jump. I picked up speed quickly though and got into 5th position, then I really got into it. I was heading into the first corner and there was a girl to my left who was a little in front of me and on the proper line for the corner but I knew I needed to pass her quick if I was going to have a shot at the podium so I took a risk and went straight for the apex of the corner knowing I might not be able to hold on and I would lose some speed but hopefully I would get in front. It worked! I got in front of her and even though she came out of the corner with more speed I managed to stay in front so I was now in 4th.

Now I only had to make one more pass to get on the podium but we were nearly at the end of the course! The 4 of us went around the last corner and I took a different line to the girl in 3rd giving me more speed than her coming out of the corner, I was gaining on her over the rollers towards the finish line but just like in my semi-final in the last competition here I didn’t quite manage to get in front before we crossed the line. I think I was about a foot and a half away from doing it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Switzerland world cup

Yesterday I competed in the most recent round of the world cup circuit which was in Vaysonnaz, Switzerland.

Qualifications were on Wednesday and I had a good first run putting me into 7th place in front of the Olympic silver and gold medallists. I beat my time by 15 hundredths in my second run but I stayed in 7th place for the heats on Thursday.

At this competition each of the heats had 6 riders in so I had to get in the top 3 to get through to the next round.

My first heat went well, I rode well on the start section and got into 2nd place in the first corner. I held 2nd place all the way down the course so got through into the semi-finals no problem.

In my semi-final heat I didn’t get a very fast start out of the start gate so was in 4th going into the first turn. I wasn’t far behind the girl in front of me and I was getting closer as we went down the course. I negotiated the final turn better than her so came out of it with more speed. There were then 6 rollers in a straight line towards the finish and I was getting closer and closer to her until I was only a foot behind…….. and then we crossed the finish line. I was soooo close to passing her into 3rd place and qualifying for the final!

Since I didn’t quite manage to pass in time I was now in the small final, to decide places 7 – 12. I had a great start and pulled out ahead over the first jump (see above photo where I am wearing yellow pants) so I was in the lead into the first corner and held it all the way down. The small final was a really good race for me, I was in the lead, my technique was good and everything went perfect. I crossed the line in first by quite a way so that secured me 7th place overall which is my top placing in a world cup so far this season.

There is a second world cup here starting tomorrow which I will be going into with loads of confidence so I will update my blog again after that with all the details and hopefully an even better result.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy new year everyone!

In December I competed in the first world cup of the season which was in Telluride, Colorado. I had been training in Hintertux, Austria for two months prior to the competition so I was really looking forward to it.

The course in Telluride was quite slow and had a very technical start which doesn’t suit my riding style but that’s exactly what I had been working on in Hintertux so I felt a lot happier and rode a lot better on the course than I would have just last season.

In the qualifying I didn’t have a very good first run but my second run was a lot better and I beat my first time by 2 seconds, a massive difference on a 1 minute long course, that second run time qualified me in 9th position.

They have changed the format for most of the world cups this season meaning that instead of 4 riders in each heat there will now be 6, the same as they have at the X games. This makes the races even more exiting and unpredictable than they already were!

So I lined up against the other 5 girls in my first heat. When the gate dropped I had a good start and was in 3rd position, as there were 6 girls in the heat the first 3 went through to the next round so I was in a safe position and therefore there was no need to try to pass the girls in front. I held 3rd place all the way down the course to get through to the semi-final.

In the semi-final I was off balance going off one of the jumps near the start and fell on the landing unfortunately, it was one of the flattest parts of the course too and even though I felt a little silly doing it it’s always worth completing the course in boardercross just in case there is a big crash down below so I hopped along the flat and up the next jump to finish the course. There hadn’t been any crashes so I didn’t get through into the final but I am glad I finished the course.

I was then in the small final which decided places 7 – 12. We all pulled out of the gate and kept in a big group together, we were still in a big group when we went into the air over the jump I had fallen on in the round before. That’s when I saw the girl directly in front of me had taken off wrong and looked like she was going to fall when she landed, I was only about a meter behind her so I turned my board while I was in the air so that as soon as I landed on the ground I would be turning away from her. My guess was right and she did fall on landing and I was very glad I had turned my board in the air because I only missed her head by about 10cm! If I hadn’t have turned so sharply I would have crashed into her for sure and that would have hurt both of us.

The down side from my sharp turn was that I lost a lot of speed because of it which allowed 2 girls to pass me meaning I was now in 4th place. I finished the race in 4th which gave me an overall placing of 10th.

So some good points and some not so good from the competition but my 10th place means I am now ranked 10th in the world which isn’t too bad I guess.

One great thing that happened in December is that as a BMW ambassador I got to pick up my new BMW, it’s a brand new X3 3.0l Diesel M with heated seats, heated steering wheel, reversing cameras, 8 gears, pretty much everything you could imagine, it’s awesome and great in the snow! Click this link to see a quick edit of my first few days driving with it... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhs4_kfJoNA&feature=youtu.be

www.IsleofDeals.com is going really well in the Isle of Man and I'm really looking forward to integrating my latest title sponsor - Optimal Payments / Neteller - as a payment option during checkout. Not only are Optimal Payments / Neteller my Olympic title sponsor along with Pokerstars but they are also about to be an integral part of my business venture - a huge thank you to them.

I have also just signed a new clothing supplier - Dare2B - their clothing is absolutely awesome and I'm looking forward to wearing it at competitions all over the World. Dare2B have been absolutely fantastic and I'm proud to be wearing their clothing.

I’m also about to launch www.ZGCityDeals in Leeds early in the New Year which will be an exciting, but extremely busy time!

I had a great Christmas and New Year with my family and now it’s back to training as the next comp is only 10 days away!

Finally, a massive thank you to my sponsors Optimal Payments / Neteller, Isle of Man Sport Aid, Pokerstars and BMW and my suppliers Dare2B, Oxess snowboards, and Von Zipper goggles.