By ANTON POGUE
Special to the News
Greetings from Whistler.
I recently had to qualify for our first World Cup event in Chile. I performed great and was on my way. We went early and got insane surf at Pinchy Lono. It was huge!
The racing started with a Boarder Cross on an active volcano. I made the finals and was pushing for a win, when the hugest French dude ever cut me off! I tried to run him over, but this move rendered me unconscious.
I ended up finishing fourth and because of the grogginess from my fall, I didn’t answer some questions right so I was denied training for five days. I was going to fight the doc, but my shoulder was so hammered I thought I needed surgery. Huge setback.
The World Cup Giant Slalom came and went, and I did terribly. I like to blame it on the shoulder injury. Then the slalom — my specialty — came around. Slalom day was my day, although I almost missed my start.
There were no trees to hide behind so it was a huge crow-pleaser. I normally wear bib #2 because I usually win with it. I had a good start, but I squandered my lead and fell at the second gate.
The rest of the day went well, and it must have been 80 degrees. I rode in shorts, then headed to the outdoor pool to hang with other competitors. Later, it was on to a dance.
My next World Cup was in Isgle, Austria. Slalom only, as I didn’t qualify for Giant Slalom. I placed 16th in Slalom, and again, a Frenchman spoiled my day by knocking me out in the first round of the finals.
Now I’m in Whistler, Canada, where we have been plagued by snowstorms and soft snow (not good for boarding). My friend has a “Powder Sucks” T-shirt, which is kind of funny if you’re a racer. I am praying for hard snow soon so I can pursue my Giant Slalom revival.
I’m actually going to have a Boarder Cross retirement party, due to my injured shoulder. Not to sound like a bad wheel, but having this party will also be a Giant Slalom rebirth. I can only pray it is not too late.
I almost forgot: two of my best custom Giant Slalom boards got the edges smashed in on the flight to Europe. They aren’t as fast now, which is yet another setback. I’m in the process of getting them replaced, but it takes about three weeks.
I’ve had some sad moments so far, but don’t worry. I still have an Olympic dream to pursue.
I’m actually starting to get more excited about my riding. Today I beat the Swede that took second place in the previous Giant Slalom World Cup.
Although I am having a great time, I look forward to getting back to my new Chevy Silverado. I have not broken it in on a Baja surf trip yet, but took quite a few trips to the Oregon coast. The 4-wheel-drive got me over the sand dunes to a great spot that I could not access before.
See you next month!
Hood River resident Anton Pogue is a U.S. Olympic snowboarding hopeful and is one of 40 athletes from across the country who received a vehicle as part of Chevrolet’s Team Behind the Team program. Team Behind the Team is designed to help relieve some of the financial burdens Olympic training can place on an athlete and his or her family. Pogue will be submitting a monthly diary to the Hood River News to chronicle his training for the 2002 Olympics.