I competed in the Seefeld Triple last weekend. FIS brought out this new format for the first time last year in Summer Grand Prix, and the two years of the event in Seefeld have been a big success. We do a lot of the same events over and over, so it's cool to do something different, without totally changing around the way our sport works.
The Triple kicked off Friday with one jump and a 5km "prologue." All athletes were able to jump and race, and then the top-50 from the finish of the 5km moved onto Saturday. I didn't have as good of a competition jump as my provisional and training the day before, and I found myself starting in 56th. The rest of the team, Bill, Taylor and Bill were starting safely in the top-50, but no one jumped to a position that they were particularly satisfied with. I managed to ski up to finish right at 50th place - not exactly what I hoped for - but at least I was in for the next day.
The interesting thing about the Triple is that each day counts towards the next. This meant that for the jumping on Saturday I was starting first, with 28.5 points (or 115 seconds) subtracted from my jump score. Every athlete had some points taken away based on the last day except for the winner of the 5km, Eric Frenzel. These points plus our jump points determined the start order of the 10km race.
I knew I would need a really good jump to put myself back in a fighting position. Unfortunately, trying to make something extra happen on the jump hill usually back fires, and I wasn't able to move up much for the start of the 10km. I started in 48th, but at least I had a good group to start with in a "wave" start and was able to move up to 38th place.
Only the top-30 moved on to Sunday - so I was out, along with Taylor, who finished just outside of the top 30. Bryan and Bill, however, had great races, and were 11th and 21st going into the final day.
Sunday was a two-jump, 15km event - back to the old school format from a while back. While we cheered them on, Bryan and Bill both jumped pretty well and put themselves in 14th and 17th to start the race. Usually, this would be within striking distance of the podium or at least top-5, but after 2.5 days of competition, the race was fairly spread out. Haavard Klemetson (Norway) blew the field apart with two massive jumps and had a 1:30 lead over second place.
As much as I wanted to be in the competition, it was still a pretty exciting race to watch. Bryan and Bill did their best to make up time gaps and Klemetson was slowly reeled in at the front of the race. Eric Frenzel caught Haavard on the 5th lap and skied away for a clear win. It wasn't exactly a surprise win - Frenzel has been the most dominant athlete on the NC circuit for the past couple years. He won the Triple last year as well. He's one of the strongest jumpers, and when he needs to be, he can be one of the fastest guys on the track - so I have to say, the win went to the best guy, who's a complete picture. (Klemetson, on the other hand, often leads the jumping, but usually only hangs on for the podium when he's got a pretty good lead starting the race).
I made a quick video of the day with shots I took of Bryan and Bill. Check it out if you haven't already.
Next year the Triple will probably be bigger than ever, as we won't have a championship event in 2016. Expect to see more than two US athletes in the final day! I definitely went in with the goal of making their and was a bit disappointed with my results. But it was still a fun event, a great experience, and surely a better effort than I would have put forward a year ago. Plus, Seefeld is a gorgeous place, and we always stay at an awesome hotel, Zum Gourmet. Here's a few pictures for you.
Yes, Taylor, Bill and Bryan all bought traditional lederhosen. They look good, but I'll save that purchase for another trip...
Finally, after Seefeld we got right back on the road (and plane) again. I'm writing now from Sapporo, Japan - a new place for me! It was quite the journey getting over here, but at least we're much more used to the jet-lag than the Europeans. We compete here tomorrow and Saturday. For once, lack of snow isn't the least bit of an issue. I saw 10 dump-trucks in a row today hauling snow out of the city. It should be great weekend, stay posted!
Where am I?