Gravel Tour was SICK! First of all, no, I didn't do a dock start. Even some of the sponsored riders in boys division chose to hop off the dock and start from the water.
As soon as I got to the site, I chatted it up with the people in my division. I figured it would be better to be chill and have fun than be serious or try to intimidate kids half my age. As soon as I got in the water, pretty much all of my nerves just evaporated. I was so stoked just to be there. Travis Moye was driving and I told him to wait so I could take a piss. He did
. He was a very chill driver and made me feel very comfortable. Thanks Travis!
I was super stoked on my run. I fell twice, but that was fine because I was allowed three falls. I rode with confidence and went bigger than anyone else in my division. The course turned out to be much shorter than what I had been practicing for, which threw me off. I didn't have time to do all the tricks I wanted to do, but I got some good hits in there. I really felt like a winner when I whipped back into the dock.
There were seven riders in my division and I ended up in a tie for 4th place. I was a little disappointed because I felt like I should've gotten 3rd, but I was also really proud because I had been expecting to totally crack under the pressure.
After talking to the judges and the other riders, I realized that I really hadn't understood the scoring. It turned out that I had wasted the time before my first turn and after my last turn. I didn't know that I was allowed to start doing tricks right away and keep going until I hit the dock, so I missed out on a chance to get some of my most technical tricks in there, like the 360. I should've paid more attention during the riders meeting.
Because it was novice division, the judges were really looking for consistency and solid fundamentals, which were not my strong points. I didn't like the scoring system because the 3rd place rider had repeated a lot of tricks, not taken any real risks, not gone beyond the 2nd wake, and not done many grabs. I felt like my intensity, variety, and style should've counted for more, even if I fell more and didn't get in quite as many hits.
That said, it's their contest, and those are the rules. I'm not mad at the judges. They were super nice in explaining what I'd done wrong. I need to learn to manage the course better and be more consistent with my form.
Overall, it was a super fun and exciting experience, and I can't wait for my INT comps in August and the last two stops of the Gravel Tour in September and October. I'm gonna go back to work on my pass and hopefully land on the podium soon. Thanks to Performance Ski and Surf, Travis Moye, the judges, and all the other riders at the comp for making my first contest experience so chill and so fun!