We spent the last part of our Europe camp in Predazzo, Italy, and then we went to Stams, Austria for the three days before heading home on Tuesday. This was my first time to Stams, which is just outside of Innsbruck. We stayed at a small Pension where the owner would ask us what we would like for meals. Kaisesrscharrn - sweet German pancakes - was a must for the first dinner.
On Sunday we hiked up a nearby mountain with the intention of taking the gondola down to save our legs. We ended up just running down - actually nearly racing down - instead and put the hurt on our bodies. Either way, it was a memorable hike with spectacular views from the summit. We signed the log book at the top and discovered that the French Nordic Combined Team had been up there the day before! It's not like it was the only mountain around!
On Monday we jumped in Stams on their K105. I always enjoy jumping hills in this in-between size. They're all unique but usually feel like a smaller hill on the inurn and a big hill in the air. Stams is a state-of-the-art hill where the Austrian's spend a lot of time training. Just past the base of the jump they have a ski school that many of the best Austrian's attend or have attended.
Tuesday was a rather long travel day, but it is nice to crawl into my own bed after too many hours on a plane. And of course, I can't complain with no delays, lost baggage or other difficulties on the way. Now we have just 3 weeks of training here before we'll be back in Italy again! Also, the Norwegian team is coming here next week. I'm looking forward to training with them again. They were here this spring and obviously decided it was a worthwhile time. We definitely benefit from having another team to train with.
I'll leave you with a few shots from the town we stayed at near Stams, and one from Munich the evening before we flew home. Until next time!
I'm battling an uncooperative computer, but I'll get an update from the rest of the camp up as soon as I can. For now, I put up some pictures from the trip on my facebook page:
We're in Predazzo, Italy now, after spending the first week of the trip in Kranj, Slovenia. For the first half I think we accomplished our goal: lots of good jumps on the hill in Kranj, along with testing out some new equipment.
We didn't get out and do too much in Kranj, but some of us did experience a Slovenian mall one afternoon.
Sunday we had a gorgeous drive over mountain passes from Slovenia to Italy. Monday we took the day off from jumping and rollerskied up one of the nearby mountain passes, Passo Laveze, then ran on the Nordic ski trails at the top to make it a good 3 hour distance workout.
Warming up for jumping Tuesday felt like a competition with all the other nations around. That's one of the great aspects of training in Europe - seeing the other teams training. Today, we had the Austrian Nordic Combined team and the German special jumping team in particular to watch. The American and Canadian jumpers were also here. They left the same day that our girls jumping team came in. It's nice to have some English speaking friends around when we're hanging out after training.
Comp day today. The German NC team is doing an 8 - hill tournee as they travel throughout Europe at various training sites. We hopped in their jumping competition today, but did our own race, since we they have "Ferrari" fast rollerskis and were racing somewhere else. We raced up the base of Alpe Cermis - one of the nearby ski mountains that is famous (within our world) for it's brutally steep hill climb in the final day of the Tour de Ski.
The jump competition did not exactly go great for myself and the whole team. It was actually good for us to see the level that the German team is at, but the reality is that we've got a bit of work to do before the winter. Ski jumping can change quickly though and there's no reason that all of us can't be at that level soon.
The race was, to be expected, really steep `equally tough. It was only 3.5km and took me exactly 20 minutes. I haven't seen results yet but I finished 7th and had the 5th fastest race time while Johnny got the win.
After a tough, rainy morning, there was nothing more satisfying than a hot shower and a steaming bowl of risotto! We're here until Saturday after jumping. The last stop of the trip is Stams, Austria, just outside of Innsbruck.
It's rains a lot in here Kranj, but the ski jumping is real good. 'Nuff said for now.
Along with my teammates Brett Denney, Taylor Fletcher and Todd Lodwick, I spent Labor Day weekend racing in the annual Steamboat Springs Stage Race. After two days of jumping the 70-meter in Steamboat, we dove into three days of bike racing.
Check out the photo gallery below of the Pro-1-2 Category in the opening time trial. Taylor Fletcher is in the first picture, racing up against the best in his first race as a Cat-2.
This 20km time trial was about as brutal of a TT as you could do. After a long rolling first part, we went up and over a good mile long climb, than turned around and finished back at the top of the hill, ending quite a ways higher than we started. I didn't have the full TT set-up like Taylor - but in the "beginners" Cat 4-5 group, it's not expected. I did get a pair of clip on aero bars and a time trial helmet, so I felt pretty legit out there. I ended up 6th, in my category of 50 guys.
Sunday, in the 55-mile road race stage, things almost went really well. I narrowly avoided the crash - which was gnarly - stayed in good positioning, and was able to put the hammer down on the two-climbs in the last 10 miles. I got away with in a four man group on the climbs, and with 7 or 8 miles of rolling terrain to the finish we had a solid minute gap on the peloton. As a small group, we had to really push to keep off the pack. Unfortunately, my legs said enough a few miles from the finish. Once I couldn't stay up on the wheel of the next guy, it was all over, and there was no way I was going to catch the other 3. I tried to hang on solo in fouth, but the chase group swallowed me up and blew by me in the last mile. I ended up 13th, which was frustrating, after being so close, but such is racing.
Oh and back to the crash. Two guys locked wheels and took out a whole slew of riders behind them. Had I been one man to my right, I would have tasted some hard pavement. Two of my buddies from Steamboat went down, but somehow came away with no more than some bruises and banged up helmets. I heard that one of the initial riders who went down broke a collar bone, but if that's all that resulted in a multi-man pile up, that's really not too bad.
The one positive that may have came out of the crash was that our group was a little more cautious in the final race, the critirium on Monday morning. Critiriums, or "crits" are probably the sketchiest of bike races. They're high paced, tightly packed and have lots of corners. The crit course for this race was a rectangle between two city streets just above downtown. My group raced around and around for 35 minutes, while the higher categories went up to an hour. I had a blast racing it, but didn't get up to the front at the end and finished around 20th in the pack with everyone else.
Sunday night all the racers were in invited to a BBQ at the local Moots bike factory. Moots has been making road, mountain and cyclocross bikes in Steamboat for about 30 years. Now they produce about 1500 bikes a year, all of which are made from Titanium tubing. Touring the factory was one of the highlights of my weekend. It gave me an appreciation for their high quality bikes (although you do pay for this quality if you want a Moots).
Where am I?