The first of the three days was tough; we had heavy fog on the jumping and some wind that was changing quickly. I had a decent jump but it wasn’t great by what I have done in training. I set myself up in a decent place for the victory and all I had to do was ski the race I was capable of. Unfortunately, I was very excited to race in front of friends and family and started way to hard for my first race back at altitude. Some people thing that the altitude has no effect on my since I have lived at that level my whole life. The truth is that it does have a small effect on my body as we spend some much time in Europe at sea Level. During the race, I was making up a lot of time on the first, second and third laps. On the third lap, I suffered one of those cramps that you sometimes get under your ribs. It was not a good time to get it, as I was planning on picking up the pace a fair bit on the last lap. I suffered pretty well, and managed 3rd place, which I was happy about.
On the Second day, I had a slightly better day, and was closer to the pack that would be fighting for the victory. David Pommer had again jumped well and had a good gap on me during the race. I was pulling time back quickly, and I knew it was going to be close going into the finish so I gave it everything I had. I skied this race much more tactically smart, with much better pacing. This allowed me to ski very hard on the last couple laps making up great time. With one kilometer remaining, I had less that five seconds, but it was all downhill to the line. Unfortunately, I came up a tad bit short like half a boot length, but it made for a very exciting race and I was happy with the day! I finished 2nd, behind David Pommer of Austria and with a time difference of .1 seconds!
On the last day I had one goal in mind. I was 3rd on the first day, 2nd on the second day, so it only made sense to win the last day to be on each step of the podium. I had a better jump and was in a place to get that victory. I knew that others would be more tired then I was as the altitude would starting to bother them a little more. I started 1:16 behind the leader, so I did have a good amount of time to make up. I was very happy with my race, as I started hard and finished harder! That is something I can’t say very often, but in a sense it was a tactically perfect race for the day. The leader at the time had 24 seconds on me at the beginning of the last lap. I could see him up the track and knew that he was struggling. I picked the pace up the hill and skied hard down the hill cutting time off him with each skate. The finish was looking very similar to the previous day, as I was just a couple seconds off of him going into the finish. This time, I knew how to take the finish and I was going to have good speed coming into the sprint so I was confident I could come around him at the end. I am not known for my sprinting prowess, most people know me, can say I go very early and pick the pace up from 1.5 kilometers away from the finish so it doesn’t come down to a sprint. I happened to put in my best sprint in a long time and came around him with a few meters to spare.
To get the victory was sweet as I had friends of family there to watch. I have always like rewarding them with a good race and event. They were super excited to watch my race and were ecstatic when I cross the line in first place.
The other big results were from our team. We had the best results by our team in a long while. Ben Loomis who was one of the youngest guys, made some HUGE Gains and just missed the podium for 4th place. This was far surpassing his previous personal best and he was fighting with a world cup skier from Italy for 3rd place. Ben Berend, was setting personal best each day, which was very fun to watch. The first day he was 12, the second day he was 9th and the last day he finished in a photo finish for 5th place and ended up 6th by a hair. Jasper Good skied very well as well scoring more points in three races then he had all year by far. Michael Ward, started to find his groove again and was skiing faster each day!
This is huge in my eyes as this whole group of athletes are making huge strides in their summer training, which is promising. I feel confident that in the upcoming years they will all be on world cup scoring points!
We are now in Ramsau, Austria getting ready for the last World cup before the Christmas break. We have two individuals on Tap for the weekend and I look forward to having my chances at the podium!
All the best,