I am reporting from inside the Hotel Babylon in Liberec, Czech Republic. Today I had the first of two competitions here in Liberec. Friday left all the competitors wondering if it would be possible to get the competitions off here. After several attempts to get the competition off all failed. They moved our competition from the big hill to the small hill and still the jury found it too windy to hold the competition. Naturally our saturday morning started a little earlier then planned in order to get the necessary jumps off that we didn't get on Friday. Despite a delayed start the competition was held and the provisional round was completed. Upon completion of the provisional they decided to forego the Competition jump and use the provisional comp as todays race.
I ended up jumping to 16th place in my provisional jump. I was in the hunt, I knew I had a tough race ahead of me though. Spring skiing conditions were out in full force today. It's tough to ski when the slush is almost 1/3 of your body height. Despite my best efforts today I was not able to move up. However considering my track record in slushy races I feel that today's race was a solid effort on my part. I did what I had to do in order to hang with the group, although it cost me in places at the finish today I think it was the best way to prepare myself for future races in this conditions. Tomorrow could be exactly that, and after watching my teammate ski his ass off in this condition I know that speed in attainable. Bill Demong was impressive to say the least. Watching him or Mikko ski in these conditions is probably the best teaching anyone can get. Tomorrow I hope to imitate and put the hammer down myself.
After the race tomorrow, Taylor, Nick, Brett, and myself will be driving up to Travemunde to board our "cruiseship" to Finland. We will drive our car right onto the ship and probably take a much needed siesta. 24 hours later our crew will land in Helsinki and after a short 1.5 hour drive we will arrive in Lahti. I am looking forward to Lahti and what it has in store for us this year. However for now I have my sights set on tomorrows competition.
I have arrived in Klingenthal, Germany for this weekends competitions. This weekend kicks off the next 5 weeks on the road for myself. Klingenthal is a winter wonderland this year. This would be the most snow I have ever seen here by far. Johnny, Taylor and myself have been here since Tuesday doing some XC training and relaxing before this weekends events. While we were here during the first part of the week there was a special jumping world cup competition which made jumping not possible for us but it did provide us with some world class entertainment for a day or two before it was cancelled. We are hoping the same cancellations don't happen for us. The weather forecast is very windy for the weekend so it could be a lot of waiting on top of the hill before each jumper goes. However with the good skiing here and good food we have decided to stay here until thursday of next week to get some extra training before heading to Liberec in the Czech Republic. I know the whole team is excited to kick off this weekend right where we left off in Predazzo. After skipping Almaty I am hoping we are rested and ready to go. So I will do my best to update throughout the weekend.
After a week without internet I am finally home and excited to report some good news from our competitions in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
We spent the first part of last week training in Oberstdorf, Germany. We had the chance to test out the k90 as well as get some great XC training in. After a jump session on Wednesday we travelled down to Val di Fiemme ready to go and hungry for results. Our first comp was a penalty race. This was the second one of the season and I have to admit I do enjoy racing in this event. I would compare this event to a game of musical chairs. Since throughout the race people are constantly ducking off to hit their penalty laps, making it near impossible to ski with the same people the whole race. Our team jumped well and went out with some vengeance on the XC course. I had one penalty lap to do and skied most of the race on the front of the group in 5th place. This was a little over zealous however because I wore my self out for the last lap and could not hang with the sprint to the finish. I fell back and ended up 14th.
The next day was a two man team event. This is also only the second time this year that we have used this event. The two man team was a popular event in the past and has been brought back to the circuit. Bill Demong and I were teamed up and looking for a podium. We jumped well and put our selves in position again for a podium. Each lap we tagged off to eachother and kept ourselves in podium contention. However on the final lap with Bill fighting it out with 5 others we had our hands full. Bill was not able to win the sprint and we ended up 6th overall.
Sunday's event was the final event of the weekend. After having missed the podium twice our team was wanting it more then ever. Today was a good old fashioned individual and again we put ourselves in podium contention. This time however Bill was able to capitalize and placed 3rd. I jumped to 9th and after making the mistake of leading so many times I decided this race I was not going to do any work, I wanted to just sit in until the sprint to the finish. It worked after 9 k everyone was dropping off the group and I was just barely able to hang on. With Bill in the front setting the pace I was fighting for position in the back. After a close sprint for the finish I ended up 7th. This ties my personal best result however my motivation to reach that top 6 is at an all time high.
This week our team elected to skip Almaty, KAZ to take the opportunity to come home and refresh before heading back out on the road for 5 weeks. Next stop is Klingenthal, Germany. This rest week will be well documented so stay tuned for more updates!