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Latest round of World Cups

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Season 2013 has started a bit lackluster for me but on a whole we have, as a team, produced some good results by some new guys.  The Fletcher Brothers have proven to be a force and Bryan leads our team in ski jumping while younger brother Taylor is the fastest Nordic Combined skier on the circuit!  Together they are our two top ranked skiers and continue to impress.

After suffering from whooping cough (yes whooping cough! Like cough til you gag, whooping cough.) for over a month I’ve started finding form on the cross country tracks again and the jumping portion continues to be my achilles.  Recently I’ve taken some pretty good jumps but the day to day reality is that I need to bring up my level.  I’m home now to try and do that.

After ringing in the New Year on a plane from SLC to Paris our team headed to Schonach, Germany for the historic Schwarzwald Pokal.  While Schonach has historically been a good place for me I failed to qualify in the individual event ski jumping provisional round.  On Sunday we had a Team relay and I was back on the start list.  Jumping for the team is a different feeling, instead of trying to qualify for my own I felt the pressure of making it happen for my boys.  That day I produced my best jump of the season and helped land the team with Bryan, Taylor and Todd in 6th place a mere 30 seconds behind the podium. 

Heading into the race we knew we had a chance and as the cross country track was reduced to boot deep slush we started licking our chops as those tough conditions have always favored us.  We sent Bryan out first followed by Taylor, a tactic designed to allow Taylor to try and bridge as much of the gap as possible.  Taylor delivered tagging Todd in 5th together with 4th place France.  Todd skied a smart race and left France’s maxime Laheurte behind giving us a crucial gap over France and behind Austria in 3rd by only a few seconds.  As I was tagged any plan to start a bit easy went out the window and I put my head down catching Bernard Gruber quickly as we left the stadium and pouring on the gas to make Jason Lamy Chappuis pay as he tried to close from behind.  After several kms of hard skiing I felt Jason fade behind and Gruber breathing hard and I knew it was time to attack.  If left it to a sprint both of them could best me and my insurance was to go hard enough, early enough to make it clear.  I started with over a km to go and went into a pain so deep I thought I might fall over but the sound of Gruber falling behind was motivation to keep going.  Finally crossing the finish line I fell over harder than I ever have before and was greeted by my team exhuberant over the first Team USA Relay podium in a World Cup and the first since the games in Vancouver!  It was a huge day because although we did well we also knew we could have done even better.  A confidence boost for the whole squad as we start preperations for the World Champonships in Italy. 

Last weekend in Chaux Neuve, France Taylor again showed his strength by skiing the fastest time and moving through the field from 35th to 10th in the cross country portion.  On sunday we a Team Sprint event and the Fletchers Teamed up against myself and Johnny Spillane.  We skied most of the race together and in the end Taylor skied an amazing final km to land Team Fletcher in 7th out of 20 teams.  Not the best results we’ve ever had but solid stuff and something to build on.  My feeling is that we are closer than we even know.

 

A picture from the Team Sprint in Chaux Neuve courtesy of Jessica Walker

Shoulder Season Training…

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Training this time of year is bitter sweet… You are motivated to ski faster than ever but tired from training all summer.  The weather can suck for running/rollerskiing but there’s not enough snow to ski.  Athletes start traveling to get on snow and most everyone else tries to maintain fitness waiting for the white stuff or at least the sun to come out.  My life is defined by trying to balance getting enough on snow training before the opener in Kuusamo and not spending to much time on the road before the first comps getting stale.  Though it might sound weird two weeks in europe before a race can be bad if you’ve been doing this game for over a decade.  I’m going to chance it this year and as a result I find myself anxiously hoping to back country ski or skate or jump soon but in the meantime killing time and making my workouts by improv as illustrated below:

 

 

Best punch line for:

What do you get when you put a Biathlete and a Nordic Combiner side by side on a treadmill doing classic?

Win’s a 2010 Bjorn Dahlie jacket from me and some kind of squarehead triple stripped Adidas thing from Teela.

 

They see me rollin’!

Tuesday, July 19th, 2011

It’s that time of July again when the world turns it’s attention to the roads and mountains of France to see whose legs can sustain the pace necessary to win Le Tour.  While my own aspirations of bike racing are dwindling I still love the riding and especially our soiree’s to Courchevel for jumping and cycling.  This years edition of the Nordic Combined TDF includes the Swiss team who accompanied us on what indeed proved to be the longest ride of my life yesterday.  A 7:30 hr adventure from the Le Praz (Courchevel 1300) to the top of the Alp’s 2nd highest paved road atop the Col de L’Iseran… and back.  In all we covered 182km and 3490m of climb.  The real kicker of the day came in a fairly sustained effort from lowly (480m) Moutiers for over 70km to the top of the Col, a mere 2500m (8200′) higher.  Probably the most ardouous, albeit scenic, 3:30 hr effort I’ve undertaken.  After arriving at the summit we learned that the new snow adorning the surrounding peaks had indeed chilled the air to a balmy 4c (40f) and would chill any cyclist silly enough to sweat all the way back down to Val D’Isere.  Despite the “free” ride downhill the final 20km back up to Le Praz was a real hoot.  Not sure it will make me any faster come february but it sure as hell will make me tougher!  And I’ll be smiling all the way to Galibier on Thursday when we watch the racers churn it to the top of this Tours decisive HC finish… or will it be L’Alpe on Friday?!

 

Planica new video

Friday, March 19th, 2010

Hey All,

Last post was a short but funny video.  I a little more info on that:  This ski flying trip has been a dream shared by every ski jumper to be able to take som jumps on the biggest hill in the world.  Planica is an HS215 compared to the Olympic large hill which was a HS140.  The longest jump yesterday was 230 meters by Bjorn Romoren who also holds the world record at 239 meters!  As for Johnny and I are personal bests after 2 jumps (only one a day for forejumpers) is around 170-175. This is like the ultimate vacation for us with no pressure just fun and tens of thousands of enthusiastic fans.  A nice end to a great season.

Please enjoy this little video, it is a compilation of pure flying footage!

Ski Flying Vacation! II

On a plane to Oslo

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

I’m sitting on the plane to from Amsterdam to Oslo now.  Last races of the season coming up in Oslo, and so much to reflect on.  It has been a real whirlwind of a week since the Games ended. Lots of media stuff, requests for the future, and a quick trip back to Saranac Lake for a home coming parade for all the local Olympians.

It has always been tough for me to write about myself during the season, and although I try not to have any rituals about luck I do believe in keeping my mind focused on the task at hand and not revealing too much (mostly to myself).  I have this fear that in trying to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) I will bring out issues I’d rather leave alone (in my own mind).  Besides, at the end of the day it is about performance on skis and that is most certainly a mental task.

All that being said, the last week of my life, as hectic as it has been, has been underscored by a feeling of deep satisfaction.  Winning medals at the games was an important goal, but more so it was a reward for all the hard work we’ve done.  It brought back memories of all the mistakes, failures, successes, close calls, decisions, and lessons learned.  It is an incredible feeling to know that all of those things in the long run paid their dividends these past weeks.

In this first cameo back on FS I just want to take a minute to thank everyone along the way who has helped me and my team achieve these results.  And I want to point out that while we might be the ones who get to take the medals home, I know that we are merely the medium which channeled all the effort and vision of coaches, volunteers,  and athletes from the US for such a long time.

On the way to the Holmenkollen

Tour de France ’09- Hunting K & Km

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Well, it certainly has been awhile since I updated.  To be honest it is pretty hard for me to write about myself during the racing season but I aim to do better.  In any case Topher asked me to restart the blog and I am excited to do it and will try to do a better job.

This summer has been going well.  I had an extremely busy spring but am now falling into a good training rhythm  and for the past two weeks have been enjoying a great training camp in Europe.  The camp started in Ramsau, Austria with some good jumping there and in nearby Bischofshofen.  We also did our first visit to Atomic for the year to pick up some new Jumping boards and get squared away with our needs for the coming season.  As always Roman and crew were very helpful and suffice it to say I think Atomic will be coming out with some really exciting XC weapons this winter for Vancouver!

After Ramsau we booked it to Courchevel, France and for the past ten days have been jumping with the French skiers and riding in the afternoons.  With the tour coming nearby we took the opportunity to bring our bikes on this trip and for several of the days we were able to ride out onto the course and watch the circus go through.  Over the past few years we have ridden more and more during the summer and a bit to our surprise discovered that riding seems to complement on the hill training nicely.  I think it has to do with the quick recovery and low impact inherent of cycling.  With this in mind we have put in some pretty big miles and taken quite a few jumps.  Here are a few pictures from our trip:

Johnny approaches the headwall on Col du Madeleine

Johnny approaches the head-wall on Col du MadeleineJohnny, Todd and I near the finish of stage 16

Brett and Dj cheer on The God of Thunder near the summit of Col de Saisies

Brett and Dj cheer on The God of Thunder near the summit of Col de Saisies

The Ski Jumps in Courchevel

The Ski Jumps in Courchevel

Everything was going great until Todd got into a bad accident on the descent from Le Saisies…

Todd wins battle againist Renault

Todd wins battle againist Renault

In an unreal stroke of luck Todd managed to walk away from this merely banged up and a bit bruised!  His bike was a bit less fortunate.

TLs Bike

Todd is back home but doing great and will no doubt rejoin us in superior form again soon.

Finally we had our own race yesterday up Alpe d’Huez.  When I used to compare climbs from the tour vs climbs in the US it seemed like no big deal. Big Cottonwood is like Galibier, Rabbit ears is Roselend, Little Cottonwood is Alpe d’Huez… at least on paper.   But when you square up to these serpentine behemoths and switchback after unrelenting switchback you sit and spin your 26 you realize that these are in fact a different animal!  And having ridden Alpe d’Huez at about 175bpm and seemingly pacing it quite well finding out that my 49 min effort was about 12 min slower than Pantani and Lance’s record was a bit disappointing.  Oh well, I still have my day job.

Top of Alpe d'Huez

Top of Alpe d'Huez

Lillehammer Camp USA v Norge

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

After a short rest week where I put my bike away and dusted off my rollerskis, the US Combined team headed to Lillehammer, Norway. This camp was planned to bring together the US, Norwegian, and French teams for some training and some friendly comps to “check the level.”

It was a huge success from the start since we were able to bring some additional athletes and coaches to bring our total to 22 people and 16 athletes! This included the 10 members of the US Nordic Combined squad, comeback kid Todd Lodwick, and a promising group of junior skiers from across the US. France brought a four member A-team squad and Norway brought their entire NC nation with around 65 athletes! For the camp we stayed together with the Norwegians up in the mountains at Sjusjoen. Although a drive to the ski jumps, it was near the new roller ski loop that offers nearly 5km of challenging courses. Sjusjoen also has some great trails across the high open alpine hills and bogs for some fun workouts as well.

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Tour of Utah: hard days and tough lessons.

Monday, August 18th, 2008

     So at last post I mentioned I would be riding in the Tour of Utah.  I was planning on doing some updates but in all honesty I was hoping for a great ride to blog about so I kept waiting…  Having raced Cascade Classic earlier this year I knew that the pace was going to be tough, but I had done some good climbing there and was feeling pretty good going into this past week.  Problem was I prepared for a 5 day stage race like it was a 15km skate.  Last week I did alot of intensity including two motorpacing sessions, a crit, and a four hour ride with multiple 20 minute climbing intervals.  I was flying!  I did do some rest days, but in retrospect could have a done a few more. 

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SGP I Hinterzarten – New Images

Wednesday, July 30th, 2008

Just finished watching the finish of the Tour on the Champs live from Paris, which means dinnertime for us here in Germany. We traveled this morning to Oberstdorf for Summer Grand Prix #2 which is Tuesday night. Our first comp was yesterday in Hinterzarten. It is always good to see the whole group in a relaxed summer atmosphere, although the comp was equally as serious as any world cup.

Saturday’s event was a single jump followed by a 15km inline race. This was meant to simulate in time the new format we will be using this winter: a one-jump 10km. The jumping was a great comp with long jumps from all and David Zauner emerged the victor with a huge leap of 106.5 meters on the k95 hill. I jumped 99, which placed me in 7th position going into the race and starting 56 seconds behind the young Austrian.

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Back in the Schwarzwald

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

 

Well first off, I am psyched to be a part of the blogroll on FasterSkier! I aim to entertain and keep those interested apprised of the current events on the Nordic Combined circuit, and especially give everyone an idea of how we train for our multifarious disciplines.

Being an NCer in the summer is a difficult balance of power and technical training on the ski jumping side and an appropriate volume and specificity of endurance training for cross-country. On the US team we have adopted a philosophy of “cross country skiers who jump” prioritizing the development of our engines over the long term meanwhile continually seeking to improve our jumping prowess. I personally spend a ton of time on the bike in the earlier part of the summer getting long hours and quality intensity in the form of races. But in general we run, roller ski, hike, bike, double pole and lift like cross country skiers. On top of that we spend 2-3 days a week doing plyometric exercises aimed at developing the neuromuscular snap requisite of good ski jumping, and another 3-4 sessions jumping on the plastic. Much like cross country skiing summer is the time to make technical changes and hone them into habits.

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