Race 5 - Calgary. A track I had been to twice before and where I was confident of a good result. Training leading upto the race went well, so much so that a top 3 spot was looking likely. My driving was coming together well and I was actually making up positions without my trademark push on each run. Race day arrived and I was ready. Conditions were perfect and I was confident that with a decent push my times would come. Bizarely however something on the day just didn't click. My two runs were 5th and 7th putting me overall in 7th place for the race. My race times ended up being slower than my training times despite my race pushes being 3 tenths quicker. To this day i'm not entirely sure what happened. I am meticulous in analysing my performances, a firm believer that its the defeats you learn most from rather than the successes. Success is only ever the culmination of lessons and improvements made upon your journey. So, the following evening when I was sat alone in my hotel room picking apart the two races, the only thing I could put my finger on was being too 'hyped up'. I didn't feel any different in terms of my preparation for these race than I did before any of my races before Christmas where I slid some of the best races i've ever done. However, the only factor I can think of was of being too excited, it takes me back to my University days of learning about the 'inverted U theory of sports arousal' sometimes you just tip into a negative performance zone....consequently, notes were made, performance routines changed and we moved forwards to Park City for the final two races.
Calgary - Race 6.
Same as the day before by all accounts. 7th and 6th place runs put me 7th overall. This dropped me to 5th place overall and having surrendered my 3rd place position in the GB rankings for the World Championships. I had it all to do...
Park City - Race 7.
Park City is one of my favourite tracks, somewhere I had a lot of experience and was again confident of good results! I altered my pre race routine to account for what had undermined my performances in Calary and with training runs again going well things again looked positive! I had it all to do however to make up as many positions on the overall rankings as I could. Two very decent pushes and a 6th and 5th place couple of descents saw me sit in 6th place and having clawed back a few points on the Russian Anton Batuev in the overall standings. The runs were by my standards pretty poor. With changing weather conditions I had struggled for the majority of the week to find a setup that suited me, so a 6th was pleasing, and the possibility of better to come the following day.
Park City - Race 8.
A lifeline...a bad first run by Ed Smith opened the door for me to claw back the World Championships spot that I had previously surrendered and seen fade into the distance. I was sitting 5th after the first run with Ed down in 13th. A positional deficet of 7 positions would have been enough to see me grab the spot back again. Ed however put down an absolute blinder of a second run (The fastest of the second heat) and clawed back a good 5 places. So it was all down to my 2nd run, amazingly everything clicked...finally, and I put down the second fastest run of the heat and was stood at the bottom of the track watching the final few sliders who would decide my fate. The run however just wasn't quite good enough and I ended up in 4th for the race. The size of the margin between me and the second place I needed that would of sent me to the World Championships? 0.15 seconds. A miniscule fraction of a second over almost 2 miles of racing. Agonising.
World Ranking 21st.
ICC ranking Joint 4th. (5th on Countback)
GB ranking 4th.
Push Start at Park City