This weekend in Szczyrk, Poland, I had a personal best finish of 28th place in a Continental Cup(COC)! This was a big goal of mine because top 30 earns COC ranking points.
I jumped to 43rd, which isn't great, but much better than being way back. However, it was a tight field in terms of start times, and we raced on a really tough course. Especially on Saturday - when I earned points - because we ended up doing 6 2k laps instead of 5! Some course official miscounted and waved everyone onto another lap when we thought we were sprinting towards the stadium! It worked out OK for me though, because I moved up 2 spots on that last, surprise lap, but it sure made the race tough. It was definitely one of my best races though - I had the 15th race time and enjoyed being able to ski in the thick of things, with lots of others to draft behind and try to pick off.
Sunday wasn't as good of a day for me; I finished 43rd, but overall it was a great weekend.
After Szczryk we stayed to train in Zakopane, Poland for a couple more days, before travelling all the way over to Kranj, Slovenia, just east of Italy. Poland is definitely a different place to be then western Europe, but it's a cool culture to be in. Despite not being a terribly wealthy county, they sure put a lot of money into their jumping venues! The meals and lodging are pretty simple and the two towns I've been in have actually been really touristy. Especially Zakopane, where the downtown is packed with people checking out vendors selling all kinds of trinkets, homemade goods and cheap toys.
I'm in the middle of a long Continental Cup tour throughout Europe. I flew over here on the 30th of January, and will not be returning home until the 16th of March! I've been travelling with two members of the US team, Brett Denney and Nick Hendrickson, and their coach. Originally the plan was to go home on the 23rd of February, but my coaches and I decided last week that I would stay over with Brett and meet up with some of my teammates from Steamboat. They'll get in at the end of February, and we'll go to compete in more COC's in Finland and Scandinavia.
So that's whats ahead, but here's a brief recap of what's been going on so far. The first leg of the trip was in Eisenerz, Austria, where we competed on the weekend, and then we drove to Predazzo, Italy. We only spent a few days in Predazzo but it was a cool experience. I think my favorite part might have been this little bakery we went to that had the most intricate pastries I've ever seen. Every little item looked like it took hours for an artist to carefully construct.
The skiing there was pretty good, even though both the jumps and the XC trails were all man-made snow. we competed in Italian Nordic Combined Championships. Is what cool because it was a fairly laid-back competition, and the race was at night (on a lighted loop- of course). I skied up from 14th to 10th, which I was fairly happy with. Brett Denney was 3rd and Nick was 6th. Although, being Americans, we didn't get to be a part of the awards, we did get a bag of participation pasta!
Where am I?