Diary of A Novice Racer - Part 2


By: Caroline Brown

I had invested in the skis and protective kit so now what?

Interestingly, as soon as I shuffled onto the Chill Factore slope in all my protective gear and feeling very conspicuous, more of the other Race Clubbers started talking to me and treating me as 'one of them'. Up till then I had been pretty much left to my own devices, probably regarded with bemusement as an ageing weirdo with nothing better to do on a Tuesday evening!

Not long afterwards I was taken in hand and my education furthered with an initiation into the art of crossblocking - one method of fending off the slalom poles with the handguards on your ski poles as you ski through the course. Try doing that AND keeping your eyes open at the same time. Blinking is instinctive but seeing where you’re going is also very important!!

It was about this time that I went to my first Sunday session - 7-9am. Alan was away so there was no-one to object to a 5.30am alarm! It felt very early (well, it was!) but getting to make first tracks on an empty Chill Factore slope made it worth it. The other main benefit is that the slope is closed to the public until Race Club finishes at 9am so there are no recreational moving targets to avoid as we practice our drills.

By the end of the winter season I was getting keen to put my new skills to the test and I had found details of the summer indoor slalom race series. The only one that fitted in with my summer extracurricular activity (helicopter competition flying - it's that competitive streak!) was at Milton Keynes in May so I duly turned up to register at 7.30am on the appointed day. Early risers, these racers! There were 176 competitors in total including a few from Chill Factore. The youngest children raced on a different, shorter course before the rest of us filed out to the start.

Two nerve-racking runs and a presentation ceremony later I was the proud possessor of a small metal dish that proclaimed my 3rd place in the Ladies' Masters event. I was hooked but what now?

To be continued.