The second day in Ramsau, Austria was something out of a dream. I woke up in the morning feeling ready to go. I Put together a great comp jump, with a distance of 92 meters landing myself in 13th place. The way the results worked out it put me in striking distance for a top 10 with a good race. Todd Lodwick jumped to 10th place only 5 seconds ahead of me. This was another stress reliever because I knew I would have someone to work with throughout the race. Todd being a veteran I knew that I could follow his moves to help me land a top 10 finish or even a podium.
When the race started the first lap was a lot of fighting for position. I knew I need to hang back and save energy but I didn't want to get left behind if there was an attack on the group. So I made sure to stay in a safe position in the group. Going onto the second lap Todd lost a ski which is a rare event in our sport. After that I was on my own. On the third lap I found my self in second place leading the pack. This was not where I wanted to be but I had to pick up the pace because a group was coming from behind and I knew if they caught us I would be in trouble if it came down to a sprint. I lead for about a 4 K, at which point two guys attacked splitting the group in two. I was unable to fully match their acceleration and ended up between the two groups going into the down hill. Long story short I was able to hold off the group behind us and ended up in 8th place. This was my first top ten finish on World Cup. A few short months ago this was still something of my dreams. Something I was hoping to accomplish one day. I was ecstatic to have it be so soon in the winter. Earlier this year in Kuusamo, Finland I was able to land my previous career best of 18th. So and 8th was a big step for me. The best part is I know I am capable of doing it again. This day was not and exceptional performance on my part or at least I don't think it was. I felt good but not great. I also know I am capable of jumping into the top 10 on a good day.
From here my goals are still the same. I don't want to get over zealous after my one good result. My focus is still on my training and technique and not the results. The results will come if I can conquer the technique and training.
We are back home in the U.S. now to relax and enjoy the holidays with our families before heading back to Europe on the 3rd of January for three more weekends of Competitions before World Championships.
Today was another good day for me. I still have room for improvement however. My competition jump was not what I am capable of and that set me back a bit. However I was happy with my cross country race. I felt much better today then I have in the past couple races. I was 32nd place after the jumping and skied up to 17th place on the last lap but was edged out of the sprint landing me in 23rd place. Tomorrow I am hoping to pair the same race with a better jump and see where I end up.
Today was a solid start to the weekend. I had a nice provisional jump and was able to land my self in 15th place. I am hoping to improve upon that in tomorrows comp. But I am very happy with a 15th. Its going to be a tough race and that puts me right in the pack of skiers fighting for top 30. Tomorrow is the big day though.
This week we are in Ramsau, Austria. This is one of the toughest stops on the tour. The jump hill here in Ramsau is a HS 98 and for those of you who don't know its a lot smaller then the hills we have been skiing. Lillehammer is an HS 136, so you might be asking, why this would be harder. Typically people think the smaller the hill, the easier it must be, and that is not the case. Ramsau is an older jump and since the sport has evolved so much in the years since it was built, jumpers have an easier time going further on this hill. However since there is not a lot of meters to land on past the K point that closes the gap between the best jumpers and the worst jumpers. Which turns the comp into a cross country race. The only problem with that is the cross country course is very hard. It has some huge, steep hills and some tough, tough slightly uphill flats, all leading into a down hill finish. So this is a strong cross-country skiers dream. Simply put its a leg burner and with the downhill finish everyone can sprint fast into the finish so there is not a lot of opportunity to get away from the competitors around you.
That being said this is also one of the U.S.Team's favorite stops on tour. We stay at a place called the Kielhuberhof hotel. The hotel is our home away from home. Great food, awesome rooms, and a great family runs the hotel. I love coming here every year despite the tough competitions its still a great place to relax.
This weekend will mark the halfway point in our season, since there is only 12 comps this season plus World Championships its important to stay on your game and make every weekend count. Thats my goal for the weekend, to pick up right where I left off. Scoring points this weekend is where my goal is set. Stay tuned for updates throughout the weekend.
I am back home in warm and sunny Utah for the week. It's quite a different feeling then the cold of Lillehammer and Kuusamo. In some sick way I kind of miss it. It felt like the winters I used to remember as a kid. Either way its very nice to be home and re group and head into Ramsau next week. Lillehammer went well, I was 26th the second day of competition. I am happy with my first period scoring points in 2 out of 4 comps is a good result for me. However I am not forgetting the fact that my goals are set higher and I know I can do better. The competitions were very hard some of the hardest I have ever been in. Everyone is jumping well and skiing fast, which makes it very easy to screw up. Everyone has to ski smart and at their own level other wise you risk blowing up in the race or on the jump hill. We call it skiing smart, however it feels more like trying to survive the challenges. First period was a very good experience for me this year, it opened my eyes to how simple or how hard scoring points can be. I feel like I am in an even better place now then when I started. I now know that my jumps in training on a good day can be in the top 10 on world cup. I also know that even my worst jumps are still better then years before. In a way its relaxing to know that even if you screw up its not the end of the competition. Unlike previous years where if my jump was not perfect I had no chance. So in a nutshell I have work to do but I now have a confidence that I can accomplish what my goals are and I can be a top 30 skier every weekend.
We are heading to Ramsau, Austria next monday. My goals are to continue what I have been doing. A successful trip for me will be scoring points both days. In training this week I will be trying to work out a few kinks on the jump hill, and focusing on recovery in the the cross country. The better rested I am the better I will perform over there. Stay tuned for updates throughout the week leading up and through the comps!