No ski jump is the same. Every hill has different trajectories, angles, and feelings to it. This means jumping new hills is very exciting but it can also be very frustrating. Sometimes a hill just works for a jumper and sometimes it can be very challenging. This last weekend in Norway, the hill challenged our team as a whole. I think I speak for our entire team when I say that our results last weekend didn’t reflect our true ability.
On Saturday it was completely dumping snow when we woke up. After sitting at the top of the jump for about an hour they finally made the decision to cancel the jumping. This meant that we would race off of the provisional from the day before. I started in 30th place and skied back to 40th. I don’t like starting that far back in the race. Everyone is gunning to ski up into the top 30 and people go out way too hard and just blow up. I’m much more comfortable towards the front so I can ski my own race. Obviously I’m going to need to learn how to race from any position so it was a good learning experience. The result was incredibly disappointing because I know that I’m capable of so much more but it’s important to move on and stay positive.
Sunday was supposed to be even worse weather with extremely high winds forecasted. However, I’ve learned to always plan on competing because anything can happen and it’s important to be prepared mentally. Throughout the night I could hear the wind ripping alongside the hotel with force. When I woke up though, it was calm and beautiful outside. Luckily we were able to compete and I was really psyched to redeem myself on the jump hill. Unfortunately I struggled even more on Sunday and started in 35th place. The results don’t actually portray how the day went for me because I felt a lot stronger in the race on Sunday. I skied in a group for the first 3 laps and we were putting in a solid pace. The wind had picked up a lot in the afternoon and this made it very important to be in a group while racing. At the very end of the third lap a gap formed and I tried to close it but was caught alone in the headwind. I ended up skiing the last two laps alone and at times felt like I was going backwards due to the wind. It was so painful. Once again I finished in 40th place.
In other news, USA Nordic Combined had a strong weekend on the World Cup. My teammate Adam Loomis scored his first World Cup points on Saturday finishing in 21st place. This is a huge achievement and everyone was pumped for him. On Sunday my teammate and roommate Taylor Fletcher skied up from 37th to 5th in the World Cup! He also recorded the fastest ski time, which is so impressive. His brother Bryan finished right behind him in 8th. This gives all of us young athletes a lot of confidence that someday we can get to that level.
On Monday we left Hoydalsmo at 8 am and drove 10 hours till we reached Falun, Sweden at 6 pm. When I told one of the German athletes that we were driving to Falun he couldn’t stop laughing. The German team flew back to Germany for a few days and will fly back up to Sweden later in the week. It’s incredible how big the budgets for some of these teams are.
This weekend we have a team spring on Saturday and an individual competition on Sunday. I’ll update my blog about all the happenings next week!