Speed Nation NorAm ParaSnowboard NationalsAndre Barbieri
I bring great news from Canada, where I had 2 separate races in 2 days!
This was an amazing experience and my first time racing Snowboard Cross (SBX), also a chance to accumulate points to enter the rankings. A couple of mishaps along the way, one could say I had the odds stacked against me, but I saw it as an opportunity.
Arriving there in the evening, I would have the following day for training in the mountain (with 2 hours to train on race course), which would be good to test my new board. Rule number 1: never test new stuff on race day, but the coach I trained with in Mammoth guaranteed this new board would feel better.
Well… upon arriving, neither my board bag nor my checked luggage arrived with me. Hopefully they’ll be here the next day. At least I learned to have a spare set of clothes in my carry on, and I always carry my specialty legs with me in the flight – in this case, the snowboard leg.
The race director had connections w the mountain guest services, and they were nice enough to let me borrow rentals without paying. So I could at least train. The snow quality was so good and the mountain and the runs so perfect I just wanted to go all day. But had to pace myself to not burn out and stay fresh for race day. My board arrived that night, meaning I would have 1 hour before race would start the following day to get used brand new equipment! Not ideal.
Race day: Board felt great, and the American athletes helped me dial my leg a little better. But it was a lot of new stuff to get used to.
Took a couple falls on race course, nothing serious, but I kept improving every run, feeling better every time. And also more tired; with 8 hard turns and a couple small jumps per run, this is an explosive course that takes a lot out of you! End result; I could not believe I was in the podium in 3rd place!!! The 1st place guy has also won the last Paralympics, he is next level.
I was so spent at night but did everything I could to recover: really cold shower, good meal, hot tub, hard foam roller and stretch. I still woke up next day feeling like a truck had run me over! Oh & it was nice of my bag showing up on departure day! I didn’t even care anymore, it’s fine using same clothes for 4 days -it’s a race not a fashion show.
Race 2: today would be race and go straight to my room to pack and not miss the 1hour shuttle to the airport; I unfortunately would miss the medal ceremony even if I podiumed again. I made sure I stayed nicely warm, staying warm is key. And it’s hard at times, because it was cold & extremely foggy today, and there’s wait times between different categories and heats. I was so sore I just ran the heats I absolutely had to. Not too many extra runs, I didn’t have much left in the tank. Still, luck seemed to be on my side. On the semi final run, the other athlete flew by me, I thought he was gone, and then I see him falling! There’s my opportunity!! I go pass by him full of adrenaline, now I was the one being chased! I crossed the finish line screaming, “I’m in the final!”
Finals run: I was happy that would be my last run of the day, and if I played my cards right, I would get 2nd place!!! Excited!
Well… things didn’t go like planned. Even though I played safe just to finish the race, right on the 1st turn, I took a silly fall and slid off the race course. So I undid one of my bindings and jumped up the mountain to get on the gates again (can’t miss the gates bc you get disqualified). In jumping up the mountain fast, I had the board sideways & put too much pressure in the prosthesis in a weird way. When I sat to tighten my binding again, I saw the prosthesis was completely crooked, with the foot turned 90 degrees the other way…
Right there my race was over:( I had to take my leg off to readjust the screws and such, and that all took longer than the maximum slotted time to finish the race. So sad, so frustrated, so close to a Second place!
But such is racing. I’m grateful to have had this opportunity, and will study how I look in the rankings now, so we can move on with my options.
I’m grateful that PossAbilities believes and invests in me!!