I love snowboarding! Unfortunately over the last couple of years I haven’t been able to ride as much as I would like, it’s been 2 years since we were in the mountains and we haven’t really been able to ride that much indoors either. Thankfully though things are looking up, with our recent move from the traffic hell that is Essex we’re now living a mere 45 minute drive away from MK and so in the last month we’ve been able to ride at least once a week.
SNO!zone MK has its freestyle park nights on a Thursday & Friday evening, this meant we were unable to ride Thursday’s as we couldn’t face a 2.5 hour each way drive with work the next day, and to ride a Friday meant leaving home about 2pm to miss all the traffic on the M11 & M25 otherwise we’d never get there for the 7pm start. Now I can do a full day’s work and still ride, and because the journey home is short I can even squeeze in a Thursday shred without being too exhausted and grumpy the next day.
One of the problems I’ve been having in the last couple of years is progression. When you only ride once every couple of months it can be really hard to convince your mind and body to do what you want, especially when it comes to side-on hits, add to that my general hatred of gas pipes (they’re slippy, have only a tiny balance radius and if ribbed give 100s of opportunities for edge catching) and riding MK hasn’t been that much fun for me. Couple that with long days in the office and I’m normally pretty tired when I’m there meaning I’ve not really been on top of my game. Thankfully riding weekly is providing a much needed boost to my confidence and I’m starting to feel that start of progression again. Not only is it great to be spending more time on my board, it’s nice to be a more regular face on the sessions, catching up with friends and being pushed on to try new things. This Thursday I had a fun time getting my legs back and starting to push myself a bit more, hitting the shot-gun pipe and also trying to get back into the side-on hits by trying the zig-zag pipe at the bottom of the slope. I started to get the hang of it, but tired legs kicked in and I stopped riding after a couple of hours. It was really good to catch up with Bexx Menday, I haven’t seen much of her recently as she’s been away doing a lot of comps in Europe, but her riding is going from strength to strength, I’m definitely going to have to step up my game if I’m going to keep up with her on a freestyle night. She obviously really enjoys her riding though, she’s constantly smiling as she rides.
Friday nights session started off really badly, while I was getting grabs off the shot-gun pipe I just couldn’t get the line into the zig-zag. Time and time again I;d get the speed wrong, the timing of my pop wrong and I was getting more and more frustrated. After feeling like I was getting better on Thursday night I started to get really down that I couldn’t do what I’d been able to do jsut 24 hours earlier. Not one to be beaten I decided to step it up a bit, the night before I’d managed to get one hit nailed on the down gas pipe at the top of the slope. As the run in was a straight drop without any wiggles I figured it would give me less room for getting it wrong, I headed up to give it another go, after a couple of ball-less attempts where I rode over the kicker but failed to pop I lined up for attempt 3 and stuck it….the buzz came back and away I went!
The thing I find with snowboarding is that once you have the buzz of a good trick you just want to keep going and so for the first time in about 5 years I actually rode a session to the end. From first lift to last I spent 4 hours shredding (I normally quit after 2) and found my confidence start to grow. Admittedly I was only doing 50:50s, I couldn’t quite convince myself to open my shoulders and move into a boardslide, but hey I have to leave something to progress to next week. The best thing is that I know I can go riding next Friday and keep pushing myself a tiny bit more, I know that the foundation I’ve started can keep being built on rather than having been washed away in a 6 month break between sessions.
Massive thanks to SNO!zone for being awesome and supportive as ever!