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Friday, January 25, 2013
Fueled by X Games courage

By Kelly Clark

Kelly Clark
Kelly Clark is planning her runs for X Games Tignes.

The week of X Games is always crazy busy, between media events and training. We like to call it the Stress Games. It's the biggest event in our sport and people have huge expectations, from athletes to sponsors to fans. You do get X Games courage, which can either fuel the fire or cause people to crack.

Elena Hight is going to be one to watch in Saturday's SuperPipe final. She landed the first double backside rodeo in pipe practice Wednesday night, so she’s definitely going to bring it. Of course, it's not about one trick, it's about the whole run, so we'll have to see how it all shakes up. With three runs to get your best stuff out there, exciting things happen at the X Games. I'm planning my most technically difficult run ever.

My mission so far this week has been getting my body adjusted to staying up late and sleeping in -- a tough job, I know, but I'm usually an early bird. The women's SuperPipe final is the last event on Saturday night, so we've had night practices this week. It's been going really, really well. I don't always get to practice my finals run before finals day, but this year I was doing my finals run the first night of practice! It's nice to raise my own standard. I'm planning to skip Friday's day practice and rest my body. I've done my prep work, and rest is better heading into the event than cramming and beating up my body now.

You can go to a party every night if you wanted to this week, but laying low is my strategy. Parties are not really my scene anyway; I'm kind of an introvert. Between that and the night practices, I've hardly seen anybody so far. I find it's better to save the socializing for after the competition. I can go out Saturday night and Sunday to catch up with my friends then. But that doesn't mean I'm tuning out the events as they take place. I watched the boys' Snowboard Slopestyle semifinal streaming on my computer, and after practice Thursday, I went over and watched the boys' halfpipe elimination in person.

The competitions have been pretty entertaining, but I think I've enjoyed the awesome boys haircuts here even more. There's a barber shop in the athletes' tent and all these boys are going to get funny haircuts, or the bravest ones get shaved. Questionable things can happen style-wise when you get your haircut with friends egging you on, it seems.

Most of the U.S. women's halfpipe team is staying in a house together, which is pretty fun. The few who aren't staying at the house always seem to stop by anyway. We have a physical therapist and our own chef, who has been serving up tons of great comfort food when we come in from the cold: spaghetti and meatballs, chicken noodle soup, and I hear we have filet coming up one of these nights.

Most of all, I’ll be laying low for the final days leading up to the competition. Saturday will be a mellow day of reading (I'm into personal development books, and my latest is the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People"), playing my guitar and maybe 30 minutes on my spin bike to get rid of the lactic acid from my legs. Then it's go-time at 7:15 MT. See you out there!