After competing in Norway the weekend before last, we traveled back down to Europe and a week of training in Slovenia. Although we’re all anxious to get back to competing on the World Cup circuit, this week of training turned out to be really productive. This weekend we start back up with the first World Cup of the New Year in Chaux-Neuve France!
Planica is one of my favorite places to train. We were there for a camp this fall and it was great to get back on the jumps on snow. They're modern and somewhat challenging hills, but the super smooth inruns and high flying profiles make them some of my favorite hills to jump. It’s pretty sweet to wake up in the morning and have the choice of two hills (K95 and K125) just right up the valley.
Winter still hasn’t fully hit Slovenia yet, but fortunately they had enough snow made for a challenging loop of skiing. By the end of the week I had close to 95km – some 50 laps – on the loop. Surprisingly, most of the sessions went by pretty quickly. It helps to have a specific plan to break up and focus the session.
The Cross Country World Cup happened to be in Planica for a sprint weekend while we were there. On Saturday and Sunday we went right from jumping to the race course and watched the action from the sidelines. The races were high paced and really exciting to spectate. It was cool to get a good perspective on how fast those top sprinters are – especially before we skied our own race on the course after them. We just did a small “practice” comp to keep the speed up, but I gained a real appreciation for how much speed the cross country athletes carried on their sprints on the same tracks.
I put up a quick video that my coach shot in some of our interval sessions.
Some pics from the XC spectating:
We also ran into some of our own cross country skiers in the weight room on Monday. Periodically throughout the winter our World Cups are held with them, and other times, like this, we happen to just be in the same place at the same time. (Although usually if it's not for a competition, we run into other US Ski Team athletes at the airport hotel in Germany).
Yesterday we traveled to France - across Italy, over a corner of Switzerland, and just out of the French Alps to the city of Pontarlier, France. The scenery through the Alps, north of Torino and between Chamonix and Zermatt, was spectacular. Nothing makes an 8-hour drive go by like a couple hours in some of the coolest mountains around.
Pontarlier is a surprisingly large city about 45 minutes away from the small town of Chaux-Neuve, where we’ll compete. This competition was originally scheduled for the last weekend, and after it was pushed back, the organizers had to scramble to find new accommodations for all of the teams. Most of the area surrounding Chaux-Neuve is farmland dotted with small rural towns, so I’m not shocked that this was the closest city they could find with open rooms.
I’m psyched to get this weekend going tomorrow with official training and PCR/qualification. The next two weekends are pretty high pressure, as we need to get some more points in order to keep the rest of the season alive. But last year I had my best result here in Chaux-Neuve, and I think I’m up for the challenge!
You can read more on the current status of our team and startrights from this recent FasterSkier article: http://fasterskier.com/blog/article/for-u-s-nordic-combined-quota-spots-and-more-on-the-line-as-world-cup-restarts/
Where am I?