It came down to the last minute for me to even compete in the Calgary NorAm. I suffered a back injury the week before the contest while riding the pipe. It seized up and I was in rough shape. My focus suddenly changed to doing everything I could in order to get my back better. In the course of a week I attended 3 physio appointments as well as 3 chiro appointments. I was improving every day but it wasn't fast enough for the start of the competitions. There was a halfpipe competition on Friday and one on Saturday followed by a slopestyle on Sunday.
On Friday I made the tough call to drop out of the halfpipe contests. It was more important for me to get my back healthy for the rest of the season. The following day, I felt well enough to ride and tried a few jumps on the slopestyle. I was able to compete in the slopestyle the next day and felt great. This scenario reminded of my experience at the Canada Winter Games a couple years ago when I competed with a knee injury, completely cold turkey and placed 5th. That is one of my most memorable athletic achievements to this day.
So here I am, standing at the top of the course, headphones blaring in my ears, bindings done up tight, trying to breath and relax while getting stoked at the same time. The starter radios in "Andrew Matthews, dropping in switch" and gives me the go ahead. I land my switch back (s/b) 5 really well and remember thinking 'Andrew, that was one of the best s/b 5s you've ever done, you better land this run!' I then line of for my front 7 mute. I spot my landing and, oh no, I'm still flying through the air. I send it deep but stomp. A few seconds later I'm sending a backside 5 and it's the same thing: there was the landing, there goes the landing. 'This is going to be really good or really bad,' I think to myself. Boom! I land clean. Then before I know it I'm in the rail section but I wasn't able to set up for the right side because I went so deep. I improvise and just get through the course.
That run got me through to finals where I only needed to land a run in order to make the upcoming World Cup (again in Calgary) as 9 out of 10 riders in finals made it. On my first run, I was shaky but stayed on my feet. On my second run (best run of 2 format), I did the best front 7 of my life, double grab mute and stalefish. Unfortunately I went down on my next trick, a backside 7, and so too did my chances of standing on the podium that day. My first run was good enough for 7th place and a spot at the World Cup!
So I'm off to Calgary again next week for my first ever World Cup slopestyle followed by the Burton Open Global Series slopestyle and halfpipe. Stoked!