Hey it’s been a bit since I’ve been on, so I have some recapping to do.
From Japan, we traveled back to central Europe and were right back to competing in Predazzo, Italy. Unfortunately, after the racing in Sapporo, Bryan, Taylor and I all came down with a nasty sinus and respiratory virus, and were in pretty rough shape by the time we made it to Predazzo. We rested up as best we could, fighting the strong urge to go for long skis in the beautiful Val de Fiemme valley.
We thought we were feeling okay by the time the weekend rolled around. Bryan and I jumped into decent positions both of the individual events. On the first day, I was in position to score some solid points, but faded on the third lap and hung on to a 28th place finish. On Sunday, the second individual, I was in a position again to at least grab a few points, but struggled in the last third of the race and ended up dropping back to 36th (the same place I started in). It was tough and disappointing to struggle like that on the race-course – definitely not a feeling I’m used. Even Taylor, who only raced on Sunday, wasn’t able to ski nearly as strong as he usually does. Clearly, we weren’t at our best, but it was challenging to wrap our brains around not being able to race fast. I came away with an appreciation for being a strong skier - because it's way more fun to pass people than see them ski away from you. One bright spot from the weekend was having Colin Delaney and Michael Ward along, who have been on the Continental Cup circuit and gained some experience on the Word Cup.
After Predazzo, Bryan went home (he’s gotta see the wife once in a while) and Taylor, Colin, Michael and I headed to Planica, Slovenia. Taylor and I were planning on having a hard week of training as we ramped into peaking for World Champs. However, we could tell that we needed to recover and get healthy before trying to jump right back into intensity. Dave reworked our plans and we were able to have a productive week and get back into form by the end of it.
Planica was winter wonderland compared to the last time I was there in December. We skied out our door on a trail system that runs up and down the valley and down over the Italian border. We were hoping to be jumping right up the road in Planica, but the hill crew didn’t get the snow cleared off on the days we were planning on jumping. Fortunately, the hill nearby in Kranj was open, which worked great, because our wax-tech Andrej lives in Kranj and was coaching us that week. It was great to get some different ideas from Andrej and have the opportunity for open training, which is a rarity in the competition season.
We competed in Slovenian Nationals in Kranj against their Nordic Combiners and all of their special jumpers who weren’t competing on World Cup or Continental Cup that weekend. Had we done the NC race as well, Taylor would have had a good shot at becoming Slovenian National Champion, but we weren’t planning on racing at all last week. We all benefitted from having a low stress jump competition. Fun fact: I’ve now competed in Italian, Canadian, Swiss and Slovenian National Championships.
A week ago we drove up to Ramsau, Austria, where we met the World Junior crew. Ramsau, like Planica, was a different world then when I was here before Christmas. We had to push our van a good portion of the snowy road in a blizzard up the final bit to our hotel, but none of us were complaining about too much snow. After the initial snowstorm the skies cleared and we had perfect calm, sunny days for the rest of the week in Ramsau. Prior to the comps, we had a couple great sessions training as a big team. Although we had 7 athletes and could only ski 4 per day, it worked out that everyone was able to get a start. Saturday was the only comp day for Taylor and I – as planned, just to get the feel of competing back in without being too tired before Falun.
Overall, the Continental Cup in Ramsau was successful. Taylor demonstrated that he's ready to rock and took the win on Saturday. I came in 20th, which was a solid result in that deep of a field, but definitely not my best day. On Sunday, Ben Berend jumped well and hung on for a point in the race (finishing 30th). Michael and Colin both raced fast, but were too far back in the jumping to get into the points. My brother, Ben, also had a pretty good day, and looked good racing, especially considering most of the guys in the race were at least a few years older than him.
Here's a few pictures from Sunday's race.
And more pictures from the week.
Now I'm in Falun, and the World Championships are getting underway. It should be an awesome couple weeks! I'm really excited to compete in my first World Championships.
Our events are on the 20, 22, 26 and 28th. Live coverage of the events will be streamed on
www.USSkiteam.com and www.Universalsports.com.
See here for a full schedule and stay tuned!
Where am I?