Finally back on a mountain

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2013 ended well with our first trip to the mountains since March 2010. The Boyf and I decided to go away for Christmas and so we hopped on the Eurostar and headed to Les Arcs. It was the first time we had been to this resort and we had a great time, even managing to get some powder on Christmas Day & Boxing Day (on piste or just to the edge). We treated ourselves and stayed at the Mercure Les Arc 1800 (review here) and we were really glad that we went for the half-board option as it took away the stress if self-catering (pasta every night gets a bit boring but options are generally limited when you have one hob ring and one saucepan to magic things up with). Breakfast was a buffet with a good mix of meats, cheeses and carby things if you fancied them and dinner was more of the same with extra meat & veg options…..we certainly didn’t go hungry!
We would definitely go back to the resort and the hotel, hopefully we’ll get that chance before go another 3.5 years without getting a mountain snow fix!

Some photos here, I will try and embed a slideshow when I am on a browser that plays nicely with Flickr.

Essential viewing

While this post’s title could be used for a post on Breaking Bad (I can’t wait to escape work tonight and watch the final episode), it’s actually a post about contact lenses. Not only have they made a massive difference to my snowboarding (being able to see lumps and bumps in the piste before I hit them was a massive boost to my ability to survive riding at speed on the mountain) but I have to admit I don’t think I could run without them….especially as I start to increase my time on trails, where it is really important to be able to see what’s coming up so you can adjust your stride and take avoiding action in plenty of time.

For avid, experienced joggers as well as those looking into establishing a running routine for the first time, comfort is of the utmost importance. This is why runners spend so much time looking for the right clothing and shoes, comparing Nike and ADIDAS and the like, and why different runners have different preferences regarding where they run. There are many factors that play into a runner’s comfort while exercising – but among them, perhaps the most important is corrective vision.

Namely, most runners ultimately find that running regularly with eyeglasses on can be a bother for a variety of reasons. Contact lenses aren’t for everybody, but if your eyes tolerate them well enough and you have access to them, you may ultimately benefit from wearing them for your workouts. Here are just a few of the reasons that contact lenses are essential for running comfort, as well as health.
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  • Flexibility – When you wear glasses, in any sport or athletic activity, they will almost certainly be slipping and sliding around on your face, causing general irritation and frustration, not to mention less than ideal vision. Particularly during a jog, the constant up and down motion will cause your glasses to slide down your nose (especially once you’re good and sweaty!). Contacts can help you to avoid these unnecessary issues entirely.
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  • UV Protection – If you’re one who likes to run outside, and you wear glasses during your run, you’re exposing your eyes to potentially harmful UV rays (as it’s difficult to wear sunglasses over your normal eyeglasses). Once you’re used to contacts, however, you can look into purchasing lenses that actually protect your eyes from UV rays. Visit ACUVUE for valuable information on such products.
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  • Peripheral Vision – Glasses quite naturally limit your field of vision, as they do not provide you with a full range. With glasses on, you might not be as aware of your surroundings as you need to be, and you may find yourself needing to consistently adjust them on your face for the vision you need. With contacts, however, you have a full range of vision, and won’t have to worry about peripherals (so you won’t miss that troublesome tree root poking up from your running path!).
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  • Clarity – Finally, with contact lenses your vision won’t fog up or become obscured. If you run in glasses – particularly outside – you can find the lenses fogged up from weather, sweat, etc., and you can even get them scratched, or rained on in a way that obscures your vision. Again, contacts eliminate this issue entirely, allowing you to guarantee yourself absolute clarity.
  • So while there are many factors involved in prepping for a comfy run, they’re pretty much irrelevant if you can’t see where you are heading and end up running into a lamp-post before you reach the end of your road! This is why contact lenses are absolutely essential for my (& your) running routine!

    Hold the front page

    Red Nose Day Paper

    Yay! Super stoked to have made the front page of the MK News, Milton Keynes’ local newspaper.  Check out the screenshot of their online version showing me jumping over the Red Nose at the SnozoneMK charity evening.  It was great fun once I got the courage up to go for it.

    Wham Bam, Yes Please, Jam

    Kat on lift

    After an early start of 5:30am on Saturday 22nd, we arrived in Castleford in plenty of time to grab a quick breakfast from McDonald’s before heading in to register for the Wham Bam Thank You Jam (AKA the British Indoor Snowboard Championships). The new format seemed to be eagerly anticipated by the riders & there were about 70 snowboarders taking part over the course of the day.

    After registering I bumped into fellow SNO!zone team mates Jade Walsh & her dad and we headed out to the slope for Jade’s age category comp…..this year all the under 16s had the chance to fight it out amongst their own age groups with 2 judged runs, before joining the rest of us in the jam session. Jade rode really well and was stoked to find out at the end of the day that she had placed 3rd!

    The main jam session kicked off at 10:30 and we all shredded the 4 zone course for 90 minutes, they then made the first cut. As there were less of us all the girls made it through to the first zone session, only 22 guys made the cut though. I was especially pleased that 9 year old SNO!zoner Will Gilmore made it through though as he’d been riding well above his age level!

    We then had half an hour sessioning the top of the slope, typically this was my least favourite section and not having the guts to hit the gnarly side on rails I resorted to working through my trick list on the pyramid box. Not the easiest of boxes to really get styled out on as it has quite short sections but I was pleased to get some nice switch tricks laid down including a switch-frontside over it. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough to get me through to zone 2, but at least I know what I need to work on for future comps. If I can keep progressing on the side hits then I may stand a chance of holding my own against the youngsters.

    The cuts kept coming with 50% of the riders being culled at each stage until only 4 remained in both the men’s and women’s category. In the end the style & experience of Becky Menday & Andy Nudds won out and they were crowned champions.

    Kat Switch Nose Slide

    It was a really fun day and I think it proved to be a winning format, the youngsters not only had the chance to face the pressure of 2 runs and beat their peers but everyone got to session a really good course in the jam section for at least 90 minutes (much longer if you we’re good enough to make the cuts). It was definitely the most riding I have done at any British Champs since my first one 9 years ago….in fact a couple of the youngsters were moaning about being tired they had ridden so much (of course this tiredness didn’t stop them beating me!).

    So now it’s back to practicing, let’s see if I can build on my current skills and beat a couple of the kids in Tignes.

    Results

    Massive thanks has to go to VitaCoco UK who sponsored me with a months’ worth of coconut water….it really did help keep me hydrated throughout the comp and kept any major girly-leg moments at bay!

    Autumn’s For Jam Making

     

    Well the news is out and the British Indoor Championships this year sees the focus shift in the direction of the masses with the main comp being judged as a jam format.  It also sees the demise of the Masters comp due to lack of attendees in previous years, so I’m going to have to step things up in order to survive against the youngsters.

    To spice things up the comp is working on an elimination basis with 50% of the field being ditched after the first round before getting sliced again as the jam moves through the 4 sections on the course until the winners are crowned.

    Great news for the youngsters though, not only do they get the opportunity to whip the asses of us oldies in the jam session but they also get to do their own 2 run comp before the jam to get warmed up and secure an overall age group placing….how I wish I was under 16 again!

    So it looks as though the organisers have gone all out to make as many people happy as possible this year, the youngsters get more riding time than ever before and the jam lovers get to throw down without the pressure of having to do it in 2 runs with everyone watching….let’s see whether the comp attracts more new faces than the usual suspects or whether those that have been vocal in the past that it’s the format that puts them off entering will find another excuse to stay at home!

    Thankfully the Masters will be an age category at the Brits in Tignes, so those of you that were thinking that it wouldn’t be worth going can pop the dates back in your diary as we will be able to compete against fellow oldies in March if we want to.

    I’ll update again after the Wham Bam Thank You Jam to let you know my thoughts on how the comp worked and who turned up.