Chaux Neuve is one of my favorites because the hill and course suit me very well, also I really enjoy the amazing french cheese that is constantly present. The team had two competitions there, one individual and one team sprint. In the individual event I had a pretty solid jump and was hoping to have a race at the same level as before. I did exactly that, I went out hard and was able to finish pretty strong after 10 kilometers of extremely hard racing. With my race I was able to ski from 35th to 10th to score my second top 10 of the year, and also the third race with the fastest time rank. The second competition was a team sprint. This is the second time I have paired up with my brother for this event. Our goal was to go place better than the last event in Kuusamo and maybe reach for the podium. Even though we didn't reach the podium, we skied a very strong race skiing up from 13th to 7th place. It is a true joy to be able to race with him and we look forward to maybe representing our country at world championships in this event.
The Next stop on the trip was Seefeld, Austria. This is a very beautiful place with a world class venue. Last year they had the Youth Olympics here which is very cool to have now. I came into this event wanting to improve on my previous weekend and reach a new personal best. I have felt like my jumping is getting better and better as well as my cross country skiing. After having having a good training session in the beginning of the week, I was able to do some very easy distance skiing as well as some fun plyometerics with Johnny. I felt like this helps very much with your mental state going into the events. The first event went off with a great jump which put me in a great position for the race. I had a couple of the Norwegians right in front of me who are very fast skiers in the their own right. My plan was to go out and catch them quickly so I could work with them the rest of the race. That worked really well as the three of us caught the lead group and eventually pulled away in a group of five. Unfortunately I didn't have the legs to contest for the podium and eventually got swept up to finish 5th.
After my career best day on Saturday, I was looking forward to the next day and to build on my progress. I did exactly that I earned my first World Cup podium. After having another great day on the jump hill, I was ranked 21st (1:21) behind the leader, and I was in great position to strike for a podium. Once again I had Mikko Kokslien and Magnus Moan in front of me so I knew exactly what to do. After I caught them, I felt like I could pick up the pace a little in hopes of dropping some of the other skiers. To my surprise, I was able to pick up the pace, and catch the leader to put me in the running for my first victory. Halfway through the last lap it was Eric Frenzel(GER) and Mikko Kokslien(NOR) and I pulling away from the field. I tried to make a move on one of the quick uphills before the stadium. I thought I would have a better chance dropping the other skiers than I would going into a sprint with them. Unfortunately that did not work and I had to duel it out in the sprint lanes. I gave it my best sprint, even diving for the line to get a photo finish with Mikko. Finishing 3rd was such a great relief to myself. It feels as though, all the hard work I have put myself has started to pay off. I feel confident and relaxed with my skiing, and feel like I can do it every weekend. I know that is not always the case, but I will always give my best no matter what!
We are now in Klingenthal, Germany for the next set of world cups. I am very excited to keep my success going and I am hoping the team can have some very solid results as well. My goal for this weekend is to get myself in to the top 10 overall. I feel like I should be able to do that with a couple days like I have been having!