I can’t pretend that being able to execute a clean, powerful ski jump or racing around a cross-country track at maximal effort are the kind of skills that will transfer into “real life.” The actual skills used for Nordic Combined are pretty specific and won’t be good for much else. But, there’s no doubt that this sport teaches intangible skills that we will never lose.
Over these past few weeks, I’ve been practicing adaptability (whether consciously or not). To compete in Chaikovsky, Russia and Hoydalsmo, Norway, we traveled countless hours via just about every mode of transportation possible. Overall, I think we all can strive for better results, but in no way do I regret the miles we traveled to get to compete.
The first challenge of this trip was simply getting to Russia. After securing our visas, we left early Monday morning and arrived in Moscow on midday Tuesday, the 31st. On Wednesday, a short flight plus a “few” hour van ride turned into an all day haul. We arrived in Chaikovsky for a late dinner, much too late for our usual mid-week interval session.
On the weekend, when the competitions rolled around, the temperatures barely crept to the edge of the FIS legal limit at the height of the day (-20 °C). As a group, we were smart and kept our pre-race workouts to a minimum. Taylor Fletcher skied the fastest race time by over 30 seconds both days. On Sunday, in my first individual World Cup, I skied the 13th race time, and these races were all following an unusual week of traveling and lack of training. It goes to show that if you have confidence in your abilities and can ignore the uncontrollable elements, it’s easier to roll with the punches and perform at your best.
We left Chaikovsky in a fully loaded van in the middle of Sunday night. After two flights and five hours of time change, we arrived back in familiar ground at the Munich airport. Taylor and Brett drove to France for the next World Cup, and the rest of the crew started the journey up to Norway. Most of the teams fly up to Oslo and then drive to Hoydalsmo, but we get a little extra team bonding time in the vans. We drove straight through Germany and Denmark, then hopped on a ferry to Norway. Back in our vans and three hours more on the road, we arrived in Hoydalsmo Tuesday night, feeling somewhat jetlagged for the second week in a row.
After Hoydalsmo, we were planning on continuing on the circuit in Germany. Mother Nature, however, had other plans, and the organizers made the decision to cancel. Apparently it’s pretty tough to hold Nordic events without snow...
Again, we had to adapt, and decided that the best thing to do would be to get home. After competing in Norway, we retraced our steps back down to Munich and flew back to Salt Lake City. When the competition circuit is an ocean and thousands of miles away, it’s tough to be at home in the middle of the winter. But, the opportunity for good quality training between competitions is really a rare blessing in disguise. We can use the next couple weeks to get our jumping up to 100%, keep our racing fresh and fast, and be ready to kick some butt in the second half of the season.
The dynamic and uncertain schedule of an athlete can be tough, but I’m learning that if I choose to, it can just be a fun journey. I’m grateful that the NNF supports and makes these crazy adventures possible!
Where am I?