That was quite a busy birthday celebration. The 4th of July, and the week leading up to it, is always one of my favorite times in Steamboat. Starting last Monday we held another camp with the Ski Team. It was a fairly normal week of training, but it's more fun when we're alongside the Team.
In the past years we've always had some pretty intense "Juniors" vs. Ski Team full-field soccer games. The seem to result in bitter feelings our side, and occasionally have been known to end in bruises, sprained ankles, and sore heads. They're a big deal though. Last year, we held a soccer practice before one of the games. This year, however, no one was hurt, and we, the juniors, evened up the series for this year with a decisive 3 - 1 victory. It probably helped that the Ski Team's head coach, DJ, wasn't there, as he's possibly the most skilled and competitive soccer player of everyone.
Besides soccer games, and the usual biking, jumping, rollerskiing, weights, etc, we also raced another time trial this week. It was the same one we did earlier in June. Although I still didn't finish exactly where I would of like to, I was a half a minute faster than last time, and all you can ask for is improvement.
A little patriotic body-paint for the race.
Competition started on Sunday morning with a jumping comp. These results determined the start order for the rollerski race on the 4th. This race is different from anything that we do - it's a 2km sprint race up and down Lincoln Avenue, downtown Steamboat Springs. I've never been much of a sprinter, but I still had fun and enjoyed the big crowd lining the streets. My teammate, Michael Ward, finished 2nd, which was pretty cool, behind Todd Loddwick and ahead of Olympian and World Championship team members Taylor and Bryan Fletcher.
After the race we had an elimination longest standing competition. This was by far the highlight of my weekend! I haven't done well in a long-standing for a while, but I had a really good feeling about this one. I even went so far as to tell my coach and some of the other skiers that I was going to win, not out of cockiness, but more of a, "why not?"
The format was 4 rounds of jumping where they cut the field down from the original 30-some to 24, then to 12, and to the final round of 6. Each age-class had a different gate cap - or limit to the amount of allowed inrun speed. This sort of evened out the playing field, and allowed the spectators to see a lot of long jumps, as the gate-caps were fairly generous.
For the final two rounds I was immediately after Ben (my 13 year-old brother). He put down some pretty big jumps throughout the rounds, and on the last jump he went 74.5 meters - the farthest so far. At the top, we all knew we had to up our game. There was a little headwind and I pulled off a good jump, and somehow managed to land at 77 meters. I actually fell in the grass but made it past the "fall-line" without touching.
It was a pretty fun competition to win, especially because I edged out my brother and was awarded the pot that the generous crowd had contributed! Those few jumps were probably some of my more exciting and most confident competition jumps I've had.
Where am I?