Hurrah for coconuts

Last week ended on a real high it has to be said. On arriving at SNO!zone MK for my Friday night session, I was stoked to see that I had won a months’ supply of Vita Coco‘s amazing coconut water following my entry into their Twitter competition. As you should know by now I love Twitter and it’s played a massive part in helping me to get my snowboarding sponsors, so when I saw their competition tweet I couldn’t resist entering…..plus I love coconut juice, it’s amazing on hot days and I really wanted to give it a try while snowboarding too.

So expect more blog posts and lots of photos over the next few weeks as I use it to help me train for the British Indoor Snowboarding Championships.

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Thursday Shred

Since we moved I’ve managed to sneak in a few mid-week sessions at SNO!zone MK, something I wasn’t able to do when we were in Essex as I couldn’t get through the traffic after work in time to get to MK before the slope closed.  The Boyf and I headed up there again last night and had a great time sessioning the kicker they had out, in fact I had so much fun on it I didn’t even make it over to the rails.  It was a nice sized kicker, not too much whip and enough of a table that you could hit it mid-speed, although if you came in too fast you did clear the landing and needed stong legs to keep you out of the snow.  This did however mean that it was nicely spinable, enough airtime for me to bring my knees up and grab, not that that stopped me doing a couple of straight legged, ballerina armed attempts.  I did however manage to get some solid frontside 180s with mute and indy grabs, so I was pretty stoked with that.  By the time I’d moved onto backside 180s I’d lost the flow a bit and let myself get a bit distracted by other slope users who weren’t quite clued up about the purposes of the run in and landing, so I’ll need to get on to them a bit quicker tonight, I also want to see if I can transition from nice tucked grabbed 1s to a 360 without reverting to a ballerina-esque pose!

If you fancy shredding tonight there’s another freestyle session from 7pm-11pm with the same layout.  Lots of fun toys and great people to shred with in a relaxed environment.

Check out the Park Plan:

Shredding with the pros & slamming till it hurts

Kat - bench gapWhat a week!  With plenty of ups and downs last week’s shred sessions certainly made their mark in more ways than one.  Wednesday night saw The Boyf and I heading over to SNO!zone MK for a private shoot, not only was it a chance for The Boyf to get some shots of the SNO!zone sponsored riders, but due to a cunning plan dreamt up by Senior Park Shaper & Team Manager Thom Boddington there was a little surprise for the team.  Not only was there a super fun park to shred but we had a handful of extra riders there to spur us on even more than normal…..enter the Salomon/Bonfire Pro Team who were in the country as part of their Team Vacation.  The team only had 2 scheduled stops to meet riders in the UK but Thom spotted an opening in their schedule and managing to get in touch with the UK Salomon Team Manager, the lovely Fuller, convinced them that an after-hours shoot at MK would stop them getting bored and give them a chance to have a quiet shred and get some shots/video for the vacation edits they’ve been putting out.

Getting the team along was no mean feat, these aren’t your normal shredders, this was Scotty Arnold, Chris Carr, Harrison Gordon, Viktor Wiberg & Jed Anderson….so mad props to Thom for thinking this up and managing to pull it off and thanks to Fuller for bringing the team along.  Shredding with these guys has to be my best session ever, not only did I get to shred with Scotty Arnold (who’s one of my favourite riders having starred in the Afterbang movies) but just having uber-pros in attendance really made me step up my riding…as you can see from the photo of me gapping the bench!  The Boyf almost missed the shot the first time I did it as he was expecting me to do my normal slow press along, but a mixture of Kodak courage and a determination not to embarrass myself by looking rubbish in front of the visitors really made me step it up.  In fact The Boyf spotted the pros commenting on my back-lip 270 attempts off the pipe and apparently I got a whoop from Scotty as I gapped the bench!

It was a truly amazing night and I had so much fun, I was still buzzing on the session when it came to riding again on Friday night.

Friday was another great night, the setup was mostly the same as the session on Wednesday so I was feeling quite confident and was soon back into the flow of things, so much so that I started to contemplate hitting the yellow rail at the top of the slope, this had quite a hefty jump on to it but it seem to be about the same height as the gas pipe so I figured I could give it a try.  Mentioning this to Gary Walsh he offered to take me through how to do it and assured me that if I followed his guidance that I’d be able to do it.  Gary’s one of the amazing local riders, who kills it on the rails weekly, so I was more than happy to take his advise.  Taking me through it step by step with in snow diagrams and instructions for each phase of the trick I was soon giving it a shot, each time got a little better from a slight tap of my board on the rail to a brief slide on it before dropping off.  Each time I really tried to listen to his feedback and work on the minor corrections he was giving me (drop in a bit higher for more speed, a bit further over to give me a better line in etc.), all was going well and then it happened….mega-bail, I didn’t get the pop timing quite right, it all went a bit wrong and the next thing I knew I was smacking down on the metal bar on my left upper arm.  I was up out of the snow pretty much straight away reassuring The Boyf (who was shooting at the time) & Gary that I was OK and then took myself to the side of the slope of a quick assessment of whether I was broken or not. The pain was incredible and I felt like I wanted to throw-up, but my hand could clench OK, I could bend and straighten my arm and move it in a circle, hurrah, it didn’t feel broken.  Slams are horrible, especially when they sneak up on you, as this one did, and this left me feeling really shaken.  Not one to be beaten though I rode down, grabbed a drink of water to try to shake off the sick feeling and then squared up to give it a go.  A bit more guidance from Gary and I managed a couple more attempts before the feeling of sickness really started to distract me from trying to do the trick.  At least I gave it a go so the fear isn’t going to be too great when I try it next time the rail is out.  One of the most important things when you have a bad fall is to try the trick as quickly as you can afterwards to avoid getting really scared and avoiding it the next time you ride.

So thanks to Gary (plus additional advice from Alex & Neil) I have at least given it a good shot and I’ll be back to make sure I get the trick nailed as quickly as possible.
Bruise at 2 hours post slam
Bruise - slam plus 2 hours

Bruise at apx 36 hours post slam – getting nice and purple now
Close Up
Bruise, getting nice purple now

Not so close
Bruise, getting nice purple now

 

Downs and ups

When I’m feeling down I find it really hard to blog, I’m not sure if it’s because I don’t want to seem whiny, don’t want to force people into feeling sorry for me or whether I simply can’t be bothered (probably a mix of all that and other reasons too).  Whatever it is it’s meant that posts have been a bit on the thin side recently.

Work’s been really busy, I’ve been travelling all over the place on visits to NHS Trusts to tell them all about the NHSE Membership scheme and that’s left me feeling tired and not really myself.  Sales isn’t something I love doing, I’m great at information transfer but actual closing of sales is something I struggle with.  Thankfully what I’ve been doing has been more on the info transfer side and because I really believe that the membership will make a difference, not only for the HR teams but the Trusts as a whole I think that that has come across in the meetings and I’ve managed to get quite a few Trusts on-board.  It still doesn’t stop me feeling a bit nervous and stressed going into the meetings though, and as January looks to be more of the same I think I’ll need to stock up on some more Bach’s Rescue Pastilles to try and take the edge of the fear off a bit.

Which brings me on to the New Year, yes we’re about to enter 2010 and I’d planned on it being filled with snowboarding and fun and big competitions, but as ever circumstances change and being a grown-up (well I try to be one sometimes) The Boyf and I have cancelled our unpaid month off in Laax this January and are staying at home to work instead.  This means no week of coaching and no Burton European Open (I guess 2nd time lucky just isn’t) for me.  We’re both pretty bummed out about it but I’m a strong believer that everything happens for a reason and so once 2010 officially hits I’ll be looking to the bright-side and making sure I get plenty of English shredding done so that I’m ready for the British Championships in March.  I’m going to miss being out there with all of my friends but to make up for it The Boyf and I are going to have a weekend break in the UK for his birthday.  It’s something we’ve been meaning to do for ages but never got round to so I’m hoping a weekend of fun and good food will perk us both up!  We’re also thinking that we might finally make it out to the board test this year, something else that’s been on the eternal to-do list but never quite made it to done.

In addition to exercising my body with snowboarding, Sports Active on the Wii and maybe even venturing back to the gym, I’m planning on exercising my brain a bit more too.  So I’m signing up to do a couple of short courses with the Open University.  I’m not sure if I want to do a full degree, I think I’m a bit lazy and not studious enough for that, but I like the fact that I can pick n mix a couple of subjects and who knows what will happen if I really get hooked.

As the New Year, and I suppose, new decade starts I won’t be making promises or resolutions to blog more or anything else really, what I will be focusing on is being happy, healthy and enjoying my life!

A good start to the 2009/10 season

I’ve just had a really hectic weekend, after a long week at work I headed 85 miles from home to Norwich Ski Centre in Norfolk for the British Artificial Snowboard Championships, nick-named the mini-Brits. This was the first of this year’s series of UK based snowboarding & skiing competitions and was ranked as a TTR 1 star event, the upcoming indoor snow comps are all ranked as 2 star events, and comprised of boardercross, big air and slopestyle over the course of the weekend. It was great to see everyone together again as most of us don’t get the chance to catch up over the Summer and I hadn’t seen most of the riders since the British Championships in Laax in April.

The weekend kicked off on a scorching Saturday with the boardercross, which took place on the main Dendix slope, and we each took 2 timed runs. We then moved through to some races with 2-3 people battling it out at the same time. Don’t be fooled, Dendix is not easy stuff to ride and its diamond shaped sturcture means falls can get nasty, luckily though the slams I had in warm-up coincided nicely with where I’d placed my padding and I survived in 1 piece. I finished the morning session in 2nd place in the Masters (over 30) age group. The afternoon was spent sessioning the kicker for the (big) air competition. Unfortunately the slope was running quite slowly and so if you didn’t land in quite the right spot then your board stopped and you kept going….cue whiplash for me! I’d decided to try and step things up, with only 3 in my group I figured I might as well try the spins I’d been working on in practice. It didn’t work out though and although I did a really nice BS180 Method I sat down on my landing, my second run was even worse and I managed a big FS90 to slam. The way I see it though if I’d landed the tricks I’d have been in with a chance, both girls in my group are trying 540s so I had no option but to step things up.

Sunday was slopestyle day and it was a bit cooler, unfortunately the slope was still running really slowly, so much so that the judges had the toys swapped around as people weren’t able to get enough speed to hit the higher scoring line the way it was originally set up. After a few practice runs I managed to work out the line I needed to keep my speed and my first comp run was a smooth and clean frontside nose press, followed by a nose press and then a 50:50 to boardslide, switch out over the up-down shark’s fin. It all went wrong on my second run though, I did a nice tail press to switch over the first box, but slipped out on my switch frontside on the next box ending nicely in a perfect faceplant. Hopping up the slope to try and get enough speed for the shark’s fin, I tried but failed and made it half way up the up box before having to jump off. I just missed out on a place in the final by coming 5th overall but my first run was enough to get me 2nd in the Masters.

So I finished the weekend with 2 silvers and a bronze, not bad going considering the sticky conditions. The big air and slopestyle will both get me started in this season’s TTR ranking and hopefully my luck will hold for this Saturday when I head to Milton Keynes SNO!zone for the British Indoor Big Air championships.