World Cup: Big White Canada

After having a 3 week summer break at home, our team travelled to our Canadian teammates house in Barrie, Ontario Canada. We spent two weeks training before the next World Cup Competition in Big White Canada.

Big White has hosted an event for Para Snowboarding for 7 years, including a World Championships. It is always nice to go back to Big White as it is a familiar place for everyone competing. This year there was 2 Boardercross World Cups and no Banked Slalom. The course is always similar to the years before, a nice long and wide course thats lets you carry lots of speed throughout. It is my favourite course on tour. We had 3 days there before we started training, so we took some cruise days and did a bit of freeriding. Training went really well for me. I was able to test different lines, whilst also testing out new bindings. I had some good heat races in for training, with other athletes that prepared me for competition!

The first World Cup competition was off to a great start because it was the first time I had a bluebird competition day in Big White. The resort is known for its overcast and whiteout weather. I put a clean run down in qualifications and qualified 2nd for finals. This put me in a great headspace going into the actual races. The semi final race I was able to get the whole shot out of the start and maintain first place to the finish. The big final was up and I had some fierce competition, with myself, Keith Gabel USA, Bubz Massie Canada and Zach Miller USA. I knew it was going to be a battle to get the gold. We were lined up in the start and after my start routine I was calm and ready to go. We pulled out pretty even, but then the nose of my board dug in on the step down off the first feature, I was able to recover it, but lost speed and was in 4th going into the 1st turn. I was drafting the two guys in front waiting for an opportunity to pass. In turn three, Bubz 2nd and Zach 3rd collided, I thought it was a good decision to make a pass but I ended up doing the wrong move and didn’t have room to pass, staying at the back, with Keith able to extend his lead to 5 board lengths. Unfortunately I made a big mistake in the racing world, becoming impatient after that, trying to overtake in every possible moment, not strategically thinking and couldn’t catch up with the pack, finishing 4th. I was upset with my poor riding in the final. I hadn’t been in close situations on course in a while, so I forgot how to handle tight races.

We had a day off in between Worlds Cups, as it was too windy to race. It was unsafe for the athletes. Also the wind blew off all the soft snow, so the course was pure hard ice.

The 2nd World Cup, I was determined to step up and be satisfied with my riding at the end of the day. My goal was to ride smart and patiently in races. It was snowing, so the course was a bit slower, but because the wind the day before it had a solid base underneath. I tested out a new line in training which worked well in turn two, so I was stoked going into qualifiers. I ended up qualifying 1st, the first time I’ve ever done so. This gave me a big boost going into finals, as I knew what I was doing was working. The semi final, I had a slow start, but was in 2nd going into the 1st turn behind Zach Miller. I waited till the right moment where I was carrying more speed then him and cleanly overtook him halfway down the course, finishing 1st. The Big Final was up, with the same athletes as the race before. I wanted a good start section and not to be at the back in the first turn. I ended up surprising myself, having my best start and was able to be in 1st going into the 1st turn. I had the lead for 3 quarters of the race, but I could feel all the athletes on my tail. Going into the 2nd last turn, I decided to take a mid-high line because I knew I would carry a lot of speed out of the turn. Bubz was able to successfully take a low line, overtaking me. I knew I had more speed then him going into the last turn and then I could get him again in the last long straight section before the finish. I got really close and going over the first feature of the final section, the nose of my board got caught over the tail of his board. As he jumped down, his board flicked my nose high into the air causing me to get out of control, trying to manoeuvre my tail. I was headed to the fences as I crossed the whole course and unfortunately I accidentally took Keith Gabel out on my way when he was trying to get passed. I had a hard fall, but didn’t do any damage to myself. I finshed 4th, as it took some time to unscramble myself from the fence. What can I say, that’s racing, I was really stoked on my improved riding even though I got the same result. Special mention goes to my teammates, Bubz for his first ever World Cup Gold medal and Sean Pollard for his first ever World Cup Boardercross medal in the UL category.

I didn’t quite get the results I was looking for in Big White, as I would of liked to bring some hardware home. I learnt a lot of new and different things that will help me improve in the future. There were great races and I had an overall great time. Now it’s time to get some time off, as I go back to Barrie and hang out with Bubz! Then it’s onto the next competition in La Molina, Spain.

Until next time,

Ben

Carve Your Way

Video: Keith Gabel

 

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Ben Tudhope