Having "The Fear"
So have any of you ever had “the fear”? You know, when you want to try something but the fear of failure sets in and you bottle it? I’m assuming some of you have, so maybe you can relate to this… I should also mention that I’ve been meaning to post this since last January, but haven’t really gotten around to it.
Last season when we were in Morzine/Avoriaz, I was quite looking forward to hitting the kickers in Avoriaz’s Chapelle Park. In my opinion, the kicker line there isn’t big, not at all, but to me the kickers represent a useful size. For example, you will see decent riders spinning smooth 5s off them. If you can spin a smooth 5 that looks good, the kicker is useful. It’s the type of size that I’d like to be able to nail 1s and 3s (and maybe 5s) on – and I’d be happy if I didn’t/couldn’t hit anything bigger.
So, the first day we went to the park, I decided I’d try what I considered to be a safety trick, a backside 180. In my head the kicker looked a little whippy, so I thought a smooth, back 1 would keep me on my toes and stop me getting caught out by any whippy’ness. Make sense?
I put in an extra speed check, hit the knuckle and slammed. Not a disaster, but I hurt my knee a little and smashed my goggles. One of those bails where you hit the knuckle and bounce half of the way down the landing. I decided I needed to put one down before leaving, so borrowed a mate’s goggles, went back to the top and decided a straight air would suffice…
This time I had a little too much speed, or at least it felt that way as I was getting to the kicker. Unfortunately, this caused me to lean back (classic mistake), the weight went onto my back heel, and yes, combined with a little bit of whippy’ness, that sent me un-intentionally upside-down.
I won’t say it didn’t hurt, but to be fair, it wasn’t that bad. The biggest damage was to my confidence. I’ve hit kickers bigger than this in the past, with relative ease. I’ve sessioned similar or slightly smaller kickers, and been comfortable enough to progress to trying different tricks, variations on tricks. I came away from the second attempt thinking I sucked at snowboarding…
Everyone asked me: “why’d you try a barrel roll, what’s wrong with a straight air?” To which I replied, “that was supposed to be a straight air!” Not good. How did I mess it up so badly?
Before I go any further, I’ll show you what happened Yes, lucky for those reading this, a friend video’d the attempt. It’s pretty funny, but, by adding some visuals to the words above, you can see how basic the mistake was, how dramatic the effect was, and hopefully why it knocked my confidence so much:
And so the fear set in. I really wanted to work with this kicker line. It’s totally within my capability, but I bottled it. I didn’t hit it again.
There were a few things that got in the way: we had some powder days (not complaining), I was enjoying riding in the Stash (not complaining) and I had the wsg review to deal with, which meant I needed to go to all the areas of the Portes Du Soleil (not complaining, but I’ll write about that soon). But the truth is, I bottled it, and made excuses to myself to not go back and try again.
I’ve had a couple of episodes in the past that have made me think “ooh, I messed that up and it hurt”, or, “that was kinda scary”. But nothing has stopped me in my tracks like this. Interesting. Normally when I come back from a snowboarding trip I’m thinking “gotta go bigger next time”. Now I’m thinking “can I manage to maintain where I was at before?”
Any of you ever had the fear?