I remember when I first started competing on the Continental Cup when I was 17 years old. I experienced a lot of the feelings I now get on the World Cup. The pressure seems higher and the athletes are more talented. It’s kind of a shock to the system. When I was thrown into the Continental Cup I had my ass kicked at first. I remember it seeming impossibly hard. I would watch the best athletes and wish I could walk a day in their shoes at the front of the race. Over time though, I adjusted to the higher level of competition and I improved. I went from finishing in the 40’s and 50’s to finishing in the 30’s. Then I started finishing in the top 30. This year I have finished in the top 10 twice. This took years of hard work and it didn’t happen over night but I went from hardly being able to imagine finishing at the front to actually doing it.
Last season I got my first couple starts on the World Cup. It gave me flashbacks to when I was a seventeen-year-old kid stumbling around on the Continental Cup. It felt very familiar. This gave me hope. I knew that I just needed more experience and a little more training and I could be competitive at this level too.
Two weeks ago I competed in my first World Cup of this season. It took place in Chaux Neuve, France. Things did not go well and I knew I didn’t perform even close to my best. Once again, it felt like I didn’t belong. Luckily I had another chance in Seefeld, Austria the next weekend. I jumped better and I skied better. This lead to better results and a personal best 43rd place. I know 43 is a very high number but it is improvement. I finished about 45 seconds behind the top 30, which is closer than I have ever been. Everything seemed to slow down. This has me feeling very excited and optimistic. I am making progress!