While the Pitman brothers prepare for the biggest race of their lives, their mother Valerie is cooking up ways to keep the athletes in training.
Canada-Snowboard announced Tuesday that Mitch and Tommy Pitman of Warfield will race in the Snowboard Cross (SBX) World Cup in Blue Mountain, Ont. next week and in Stoneham, Que., Feb. 23.
The Pitman’s will join the Canadian Team in Toronto Saturday to prepare for the first race at Blue Mountain, Feb. 10-11.
“We didn’t do that well at the races so we weren’t really expecting to go,” said Tommy, but they are looking forward to the experience, added Mitch.
The Pitmans were hoping for top-10 finishes at the NorAm events this season and came close last weekend at Big White ski hill in Kelowna.
In Saturday’s race, Tommy was the fourth fastest Canadian coming in 12th overall. In Sunday’s qualification, he raced to ninth position but was squeezed out of his bindings by two racers in the next run and ended up 25th. Mitch meanwhile finished 17th and 19th overall and was the fifth best Canadian on both days.
After being named to the Canadian development team, the trip to the World Cups was their goal for the season.
The 18-year-old twins are the youngest of nine other racers on the SBX team including National SBX Team members Rob Fagan, Dan Csokonay, and Kevin Hill.
The Pitman’s hopes at the World Cup are modest, as they look to make the top 48.
“The track will be bigger and since it’s our first one, it’s mostly just seeing what it’s like to compete at that level,” said Mitch.
Snowboard-cross is an exciting and unique event where athletes compete in heats of four to six racers, with the best qualifying times moving on to the next round. SBX courses are typically quite narrow and includes cambered turns, gap jumps, berms, drops, and steep and flat sections designed to challenge the riders’ ability to stay in control. It is not uncommon for racers to collide with each other.
The unique thing about snowboard-cross is that no two courses are the same and there are few training facilities available. At events like the NorAms and World Cup, boarder-cross athletes are only allowed a certain amount of time on the course.
“You might get a day of training on a NorAm course,” said Mitch. “But on a World Cup course it’s like two hours.”
The advantage is with the older more experienced racers on the circuit, he added, the more you ride, the more you know what to expect.
There are so many variables to success on the NorAm circuit, with the difference between 10 places decided by mere tenths of a second.
With few training options while at home, the boys constructed a starting gate in their backyard to practice their “pull and go’s”, because in snowboarder-cross, jockeying for first position is key.
“Usually there is only one fastest line through a berm and the guy up front is going to take that,” said Tommy.
So while the Warfield boys spent much of their time on the road training and racing, their mom compiled a cookbook for the twins appropriately entitled “Cooking on the Road.”
“I created this guide to encourage my twin sons to prepare healthier meals,” said Valerie Pitman.
“This is something I wish I would have done more of – encouraging my kids to take the lead in preparing meals (not just help) so when they left home they were able to make a meal that doesn’t come out of a box.”
The family has received generous sponsorship from Teck, Ferraro Foods and Hall Printing and Pitman’s cookbook is also a way to raise funds for growing costs.
“Their expenses are very high, at his level of competition as they travel further, and other sources of funding are generally for athletes one step above where they are competing now.”
“Cooking on the Road” will be sold at Ferraro Foods in Trail and Rossland.
The Pitman’s will be at the Trail Ferraro’s Friday from 3-6 p.m. and in Rossland from 2-5 p.m. Email email@example.com for more info.