My first big longboard race was this summer’s IDF World Cup race in the Czech Republic, Kozakov Challenge 2013.
My decision to go was made really quickly. Everything was organised perfectly. We had decided to finally put Russia on the list of competitive countries! I didn’t know what to expect from the trip just that it’d be fun. The most important thing was to come back in one piece, because I’ve never done ”serious” downhill, only freeriding. What I got from this competition was much more than I’d expected!
I flew from Greece and had some problems with tickets, so I almost didn’t make it, but my will was too strong and I did everything to get there! My friends went from Moscow by car and met me at the Prague Airport. We got to Kozakov on the same evening and decided to have a look at the track. It was a fast look but I can’t say that I got scared from it. We just had some fun thinking of at least ten breaking slides at the first kick off line.
We set our tents near the track near the tent with food, Party tent and a car with water nearby, so we had all that we needed!
Day 1-2. Freeride.
The leather suit and a full-face with visor are best things ever invented! I can’t imagine riding without a leather suit now, it feels so different! Feelings of security. I couldn’t feel my speed at all. I got almost up to 80km/h but didn’t feel that, it felt the same like at 50 or 60.
I started to get used to the track, where I had to slow down and so on. From the first run I realized that foot brake is a king of the world! I didn’t have any fear there. Pavement was perfect, speed could be nicely controlled by air/foot-brakes and slides. All the turns were quite negotiable. I liked it from the first try! We had a bus up every time which was very effective for the 3km track, hot weather and leather suits. I was really happy! I started to communicate with other riders from all over the world! It was very interesting to talk to them. They gave me some tips on the board set up and how to ride some of the corners. That evening we drove to the river and had pizza and beer. Perfect end to a good day!
Day 3. Qualification.
This was done as single timed runs. Every rider had a personal transponder which measured time. We did 7 runs that day. With every run, my time got better and better. The weather was not good during the first half of the day. It was wet and rainy but I was riding anyway, that was fun! After lunch the track was dry and all riders were skating. I ended up 10th among girls and 144th in open category that day. I was happy with the progress I did!
Day 4. Brackets run.
We all were divided in three Categories depending on our time. I was in C. We did runs with 4 people – open, women, juniors. I was second in my first heat and went further. In my second run I was third and stayed just for freeriding.
That day was definitely the best one! I was doing the track much faster, reducing braking and getting taking corners quicker! I wish they’d measured time that day.
Day 5. Women’s Competiton
I was a bit nervous that day, but fully ready to get a good result because the last day gave me motivation and positive thinking! I was in a heat with two other girls – Tamara Prader and Sonso Masia. Tamara was very strong but I thought I had a chance to pass Sonso and get to the ½ final, that was my goal. I thought a lot about my lines, speed, etc.. But now I do understand the phrase “well, it’s racing…”. Firstly I made a mistake at the start by pushing and had to let girls first. At the last turn we were all together – very close. But on the second one I caught a drift and screwed up. I stopped completely and the girls rode away. I started to push and suddenly I passed Tamara after the next corner where she had fallen. At the last corner, I was in front of her but she passed me on the straight and I finished a couple of meters behind her. I was close. If I hadn’t made that mistake on the corner I’d have had a huge chance to go further. Anyway I had a lot of adrenalin in my run and didn’t want to stop.
That was the end of my Kozakov Racing. I went freeriding a bit at the evening and of course joined the PARTY!
I’m very happy that I took part in this event! Apart from the great riding, I saw the organization behind these kind of events: camp organization, riders, competitions – everything was on a high level! I met lots of strong riders. They told me some useful things about equipment setting that I didn’t know and that helped me a lot. I also got a new nice rubber sole for foot braking! I saw how the best longboarders ride (did you know that they change wheels every run and then go around with the huge bag of once-used wheels and sell them cheaply). I improved my skill level a lot! Learned high speed foot brake and improved my speed checks. Now I know what I should improve for my next races! I feel that for my level I did very well at this Kozakov 2013 by taking 9th place, overtaking some girls and even boys!
I’m also happy I didn’t injured myself as there were a lot of injuries up to broken knees and heads. One 17 year old boy was evacuated by helicopter with the head injury. (Get well soon Pjax!). Also I have a nice leather suit now, a bit destroyed after the race, haha.
I recommend everybody to take part in these kind of events – it’s worth it!
Maria Esyutina signing out.