Monday, March 12, 2012

Twin City Twisters and Monday Mueller

This weekend was my gymnastics team's last regular season competition. This was a big one! It is the same location that regional championships will be this year and National Championships next year. We like to go to these meets to give the girls a chance to get a feel for the meet. I don't know if we will be able to do this every year, but we have done it the last two years and it seems to have worked well. Last year I took the girls out to California because L9 and L10 Nationals were both in Cali. As a gymnast I always did horrible traveling and competing in California with all of the travel, time change, and the distraction of being in California. So when we went last year we talked about that a lot and made sure to make the girls prepared.

Twin City Twisters is the best team in region 4 I think. They have a huge team and just about every kid on that team would be a super star on any other team. I would love to get to that level with our team. The coaches that work there I think have been coaching much longer than I or my coaches, and they really have it all together from what I see. We have a long way to go, but at least we have a bar to shoot for. Since TCT is so good a lot of good teams attend their competition. The amount of good teams there was amazing, and only a few other meets in the country get a meet like that.

A nice little extra that TCT throw into their competition is an event final. Most competitions don't do this as it is not a money maker. In fact the entire session is almost a total loss. The only income for the session would be ticket sales from viewers, and compared to the size of these meets that really isn't a huge amount. The event final was like being at National Championships. The girls were all amazing and were doing skills at the extreme end of difficulty in our sport. There were glimpses of elite level skills, that is crazy! That means there are kids out there way beyond what I thought we needed to do with our athletes. Every year though I am surprised by the skill level that I see, and I then go back and raise the bar for what I have to shoot for. Then around this time I start to feel like we are doing better and starting to gain some ground, and then BOOM! I get hit with how hard some coaches and athletes are working.

We have 3 athletes that made the event finals. One on beam and vault, and the third athlete qualified for bars and floor. The line up for the events were set up so that the best athlete that qualified into the event competed last. This makes it pretty easy for the judges to know who should win, which I don't really like. I think it can make it pretty hard for a mid pack athlete to show a great routine and move up. But on the other hand if I was a coach of a kit that qualified first I would want to make sure my kid comes out on top still, soooo I can see the other side too. Our kids all did a great job and hit some really great routines. They didn't really move up or down in their placements though. I do think that the girls that won however, were the best ones and they should have won.

I was really hoping that my level 9s had a really good weekend and turns out they DID! I didn't think that our scores really showed it but their gymnastics was so much better. We hit more routines, and made improvements in all the places we have been focusing on. I was also super proud of how well they did without our beam and floor coach Laura there. She is SUPER preggers and couldn't travel up to MN for the meet. Some of the girls really need their pre-meet routines, and Laura is a big part of that. But Laura and I had been talking about her not being around and getting ready for it for some time. The girls really took more ownership of their meet and also had each others backs the whole time.

Unfortunately the level 9 meet ended on a little bit of a sour note with one of our better girls getting a score a good point lower than what she should have had. As a coach all I really have to help raise an athlete's score is called an inquiry form. And it is just there so the judges don't have to talk to the coaches when they FUCK UP! So there was nothing I could do. I could have started screaming and swearing, maybe throwing some things. All of this is stuff I would love to do, but it really isn't how I work. It most likely wouldn't have changed anything, and could have hurt my rep, or helped it. I doubt the second though. The silver lining was that she still won the all around title for the meet, but she should have been much farther ahead, and the improved score would have put her into the floor finals as well. Another nice little bit from the meet was we won the top three all around spots in that age group.

Our level 10s did well also. One better than the other, the other really didn't think she did that well, but she did. I have one level 10 that has been struggling for some time now. She has had some major injuries and has worked extremely hard to make it back. The schedule we had to work with getting her back didn't really allow us a lot of wiggle room. She has been able to qualify for state but has not been able to hit many of her routines. This, because she is still struggling with her injuries. She is really frustrated, and I feel like she wants me to give her some magic speech that fixes it all for her. But I don't know what that is. All I know I can do is help her in the gym as much as I can. Try to get her as consistant as I can. But I don't know if all that I have is enough. My other level 10 is a little more lucky, she got her major injuries out of the way a few years back. Over the last couple summers however, she has been sidelined with small injuries that have made things more difficult that they need to be. This weekend she came one more step to getting everything pulled together though. She put two of her vaults on her feet, hit a perfect beam routine, and an amazing floor routine. Bars did not go so well, but I think it was because she was trying to be too perfect. She was holding back trying to make sure she hit all her handstands and other positions. But it made her too tight, and got all her timing off. But with a little work she will be right back on track.

There always has to be crappy things that happen at these away meets. This year it was that the level 5s did not get any awards. They did not rank the girls, or get any medals, or anything. I don't know what they were thinking, but I had at least one parent that was PISSED. And for some reason when these things happen they think that I had something to do with it, or that I knew it was going to happen. Last year we had a whole level that competed on their own. We traveled all the way to California for an intra-squad. Ya that didn't go too well.

So we go home from the weekend this morning and it was 80 degrees and sunny here in St Louis. I had planned on going to a meeting for the Missouri Bike Racing Association, (MOBRA) but just couldn't pass up the amazing weather and a chance to ride with some of my teammates. They do this ride in St Charles called the Monday Mueller. It leaves from Mueller park, which is just a soccer field on the side of the highway, and does a 30 mile loop with no elevation change. This ride is basically an unsanctioned race, and I have seen some crazy stuff happen. This ride went well though. The wind was tough and all it really took was being near the front when the speed shot up to make the selection. Turned out that all the QMC guys made it! That was good because it was 3 QMC, and 4 Momentum guys. And it was all out for the whole ride. I still have a lot to learn about riding in a break away. I know how to keep in a draft, and make it to the end. But when it comes to getting the win, or even getting my teammate the win, I make a lot of mistakes. I guess that is why you do training races though, to make mistakes and learn from them.

What was great though was how good I felt riding. The legs just kept going and for the first time in a long time they didn't feel heavy, tired, and slow. The three days off really helped, and I am looking forward to this weekend, and racing in Arkansas with some of the guys. It is a long hard road race with a huge climb in every lap, so no exactly to my strengths. But I am going to give it my all and maybe we can get another win for the team.

It was a busy last few days, and it is going to be even busier for the next couple months. A lot going on, at least with so much happening, time will seem to fly.

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