Josh: I tried my hardest
Editor’s note: Team Vail rider Rob Bak, who competed in Friday night’s rail jam at The Session, is writing a daily rider’s journal for the Vail Daily. The following is a recap of Friday.VAIL – I wish I could be a little more stoked tonight, but I’m hurting pretty bad. Tonight I took a really hard fall. I went straight in to a wall again. I was trying to go up the big-kinked rail on the rails course and I got bucked and smacked my back against the wall of ice leading up to the quarterpipe.People said I almost did a backflip into the wall, then I fell directly into the pit of death. My roommate, Brian Peters, hopefully he’s going to get a better job still, but he got a good picture of me laying in the alligator pit just battered, broken and bruised. I had to come out of that and just be stoked. I put my fists in the air and the crowd got stoked. Right now, I am hurting pretty bad, though. I had Ski Patrol check me out afterward because I almost thought I broke my back. I really think I drove my spine into my pelvis. I’m probably not going to be able to walk tomorrow. It was a pretty heavy fall, but that’s what I’m stoked about. My personal goal tonight at the rail jam was to try to take the Malay Factor award for best trick. Josh’s mom called me last week and was pushing me to try my hardest to reach that goal. I thought I had it tonight. A lot of the competitors thought I had it. It sounds like a lot of the people overseeing the contest thought I had it, and people interviewing me afterward thought I had it.
They gave it to a little 15-year-old grom named Mike Casinova. He should be really stoked because those are some really big shoes to fill. There were two tricks that I did that all the riders thought should have gotten me the award. The big one was coming off the left-handed hip to the left to of the quarterpipe on the far end of the course and then doing a frontside lipslide over the whole thing, including the death gap over the alligator pit. I had to make it over that because I didn’t want to get bit by the alligators. I made it all the way across after three tries.I felt really stoked on that because during rail practice the other day, I kind of did a lipslide on the quarterpipe and my team manager at CAPITA said to me, “Why don’t you try going all the way?” I said, “I don’t know, man. That’s pretty crazy.” Lo and behold, tonight I did it. I had a little quiet time before the competition and I just said, “Josh, if you’re up there, give me some energy. Give me something that will give me an idea and put me in your shoes.” That trick felt really good and lot of people were really stoked. The crowd blew up and the kids blew up. I want to say one thing: To the rad kids at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail – all the dudes that I coached last week – you guys were 100 percent behind me. You guys got me super stoked. That pushed me to do that trick. After that trick, I started thinking about other things. I did kind of a frontside-270 on the up-flat rail to a 180 off the rail up to the quarterpipe and then did a switch 50-50.
Those two tricks – I don’t know, I thought I had the award won. I had a lot of people telling me that they were sweet. I know that everybody was throwing down. Jeff Meyer was killing it with handplants on the wall. Scott Shaw, TJ Schneider and Matt Peterson were all killing it out there. TJ was on fire. Those Canadians must eat their Wheaties in the morning. I’m so happy to be part of the CAPITA family because those guys rip. All in all, tonight was fun. I was a little bummed out because I didn’t get the award.If I wasn’t going to get Josh’s award, I was going to crash as hard as I could trying.Now, I’m hurting. I’m going to go to Art’s Bar to just kind of hang out. I may or may not go to the VIP party at Garfinkel’s. Who knows what can happen? Tomorrow, I’ll take painkillers, but tonight I’ll take my own medicine. The day did start out great. I got up this morning and I was stoked and ready to go. I went into town and while at breakfast I met Jim, who is the dad of a friend of mine. He made all the trophies for the event, so it was really awesome to meet him. I also want to thank Buzz Schleper and everyone at Buzz’s for letting me wax and tune my board there on a whim today. After that tune-up, I started to shred the course with everyone else. It was really wicked awesome. The jumps were really fun and the warm-up during the day for the rails contest was great. For lunch, I went into the Larkspur and got myself a chicken Caesar salad. I thought by eating something healthy that it would help me in the contest, but I guess I should have just eaten candy bars and Twinkies and stuff because that probably would have been better. I would have had a little more sugar in my system.
After the competition was over tonight, I burned my bib in the fire pit for Josh. Then, there was a silent walk away. I feel bad because I wanted to call his mom and tell her I did it for her.I didn’t see Josh’s brother, Sean. I think he kept to himself tonight because I saw a lot of people that would have been hanging out with him. Sean, I just want to say that I love you, dude, and I tried my hardest for it all. I guess the Vail Valley Foundation wants their winners and I wasn’t one of them. That’s all right, though. I’ll live another day.Rob Bak rides for CAPITA, Oakley, Team Vail, DC Shoes, Emagesnow.com and Colorado Chiropractic Sports Medicine.Vail, Colorado