“I can do it in training and it was going so well,” reflected Ryding after his run. Ryding was skiing like so many of his fans know, he was on a “Rocket” run and his split times were showing positives signs. Starting outside the top thirty and having to cope with the post Championship celebrations of the Austrian crowd, Ryding skied well on the top two thirds of the run. While Marcel Hirscher celebrated his win, Felix Neureuther had second and Mario Matt was third, for Ryding the pressure was off and it was all to play for but nothing to lose. Ten gates from home he got bounced around by the deteriorating course conditions and try as he might he was thrown off the course and too low to make the next gate.
This was an inauspicious end to his Slalom race but the positives were there. “There are always positives,” Ryding reflected, “I just wish I could put two runs together that I am doing in training.” Ryding is hard on himself. He knows that he can do it, he knows that the door is slowly edging open and that he will soon push it open again, “I just wish someone would hear that I am knocking on that door,” he reflected.
With the snow deteriorating and the with 32 racers having gone done before him, Ryding put in a great effort on the second run. This was no stiff upper lip, well done od fellow type of run, Ryding put in a full gas, leaving nothing out run. He was going for it and the times showed he would have been the first racer to break through to the guys who had made the flip. The fact he had not made the flip, hurt Ryding. He had wanted to be in the flip badly, “Maybe I wanted it too badly on the first run and that cost me,” Ryding felt after the second run. He is always learning and always wanting more from himself.
As the race would up, Ryding looked at the likes of Andre Myhrer, 4th in the race, and saw his serviceman walking away with his skis. Ryding does not have a serviceman. “When I go to the Europa Cup races, none of the other guys know that I do not have a serviceman, they all do. Despite the great help from Delancey, I need to find the support that can help me get one and then I can take another step forward.” With a serviceman costing in the region of Â£50 – 60,000 a year, this is no easy ask. Yet the rewards are huge that this addition to his team would make. Instead of having to learn the trade of preparing his skis as he goes along, he could be spending time getting his body in the right form. While he is not struggling with niggling injuries that other racers complain of, Ryding is lucky in that fact. The need for a serviceman for both the technical team and the speed team is one of the headaches that the management of British Ski and Snowboard have. It is a question of money, something there is not a lot of at the moment for British Alpine Ski racing.
So a DNF is recorded on the results. So many positives come from the second run but in this industry, results talk. Ryding will fight another day and with Sochi getting ever nearer, Ryding will be back on the road straightaway. Steep and challenging slopes are something he is working on and with Sochi being another such like slope, the work is never ending.