Roller coaster at Canadian Olympic Park-Kristi Richards — On the Road to 2010

As I boarded the plane to the next venue in Deer Valley, Utah, I had mixed emotions about the last two World Cups in Calgary

As I boarded the plane to the next venue in Deer Valley, Utah, I had mixed emotions about the last two World Cups in Calgary. I came out of the weekend with a solid 6th place finish from the first day last Friday, then a disappointing 28th on the second day. It was an action-packed weekend, with two separate World Cup mogul events on Friday and Saturday, and a World Cup aerial event on Sunday. The Canadian organizing committee was busy behind the scenes, making it all happen at Canadian Olympic Park. Despite the chair lift breaking down before Friday’s finals and the Chinook winds radically changing the weather, the event ran smoothly. The course at COP is set on the landing hill of the old ski jump and finishes in the bowl below the spectators. It is a very unique set-up and it is really cool to have a World Cup event so close to a major city.

It was impressive and nerve-wracking watching my fellow competitors fly down the course and take on the challenge of the extreme pitch change in the middle, trying to get their speed in check for the massive bottom air. Many athletes flew off the bottom air out of control, hitting hard in an awkward landing, whereas others just barely managed to get themselves prepared to impress us with their tricks.

I enjoyed the challenge that the course presented. I am proud of my 6th place, feeling like I kept my composure on the steep section. Saturday’s performance was less than ideal as I lost control and gained too much speed before the difficult section. I had to pull out of the course to avoid the possibility of injury and failed to qualify for the final. It was humbling but at the same time it gets me fired up to compete this week in Deer Valley. I also know that my 6th place is another great result for the Olympic selections, so that takes even more pressure off as I head into the next few weeks. After an upsetting event, there is nobody better to console me than my mom and dad. My dad immediately suggested that we try a new sport… bobsledding. Just 30 minutes after my competition run, we were geared up in big helmets at the back of a four-man bobsled in for the bumpy 60-second ride of our lives. It was such a thrill. We were clocked at around 115kms/hour, our head banging from side-to-side, the g-forces so strong we could barely see the track ahead. I often just saw the track below me as we were suspended on the side of a spiral turn with nothing to do but to hold on and trust the driver. If you are ever in a funk, I suggest trying something exhilarating. It puts a smile on your face immediately and life is viewed from a better perspective.

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