After my last update we spent a small amount of time in Ramsau, AUT where I was able to get some great training on their HS100 meter hill. I love the town of Ramsau as the surrounding area is absolutely beautiful and the ski jump is a fun hill. While we were in Ramsau we were joined by the Czech Republic's U20 team with whom we did a little coaches competition one of the days in Ramsau. The jumping went ok but not as good as some of my training jumps. The race went ok and I ended up getting 2nd place overall so I was fairly happy with how the day went.
After Ramsau we drove back to Planica, SLO which I was psyched about as I love Planica. The HS137 in Planica is my favorite hill and I am able to make some great improvements when jumping on this hill. In Planica the Czech Republic’s A & B team joined us in Planica for training and another coaches competition. The Slovenian Nordic Combined A & B teams chose to compete with us in the coaches competition. We ended up running into the Austrian Nordic Combined team in Planica and they ended up joining the competition as well! This made for about a 30 person coaches competition with four different nations involved. Some of these nations had some very good athletes in the competition so I was psyched to see how I could do against everyone. In the jumping portion I had a jump that I was happy with and put me into 10th place. We then drove to Villach, AUT which is only a 30min drive to the roller ski course they have. Unfortunately one of my pole straps broke during the race however I was able to get it replaced fairly quickly and still have a race I was happy with! I ended up the day in 10th place overall and a performance that I as excited to have put down.
From Planica we then drove to Brietenberg, GER a new town and ski jump for me. They have an HS 80 meter hill that was very smooth and fun to train on. For the final coaches comp of this portion of the trip we did a more fun oriented team sprint event with the Czech Republic athletes. Later that day the rest of the National Team arrived for a couple of days of prep before the National Team and I headed to the FIS Summer Grand Prix events (These are a summer version of a World Cup). We had one day of training with the entire US NoCo crew in GER which was fun to have a big group of athletes before the rest of the U20 athletes traveled back to the states. I was pumped with how the U20 training camp went and I look forward to training and competing more frequently with those athletes.
We now had the National Team left in Europe consisting of Bryan & Taylor Fletcher, Michael Ward, Adam Loomis, Ben Berend, myself, and our coaches Martin Bayer and Greg Poirier. After a morning jump session we drove to Oberwiesenthal, GER where the first Summer Grand Prix (SGP) event was to be held. There were two days of competitions in Oberwiesnthal, an individual event and a team sprint. For these events we have on 4 starts which means we would be switching around who would be getting a start. For the first Individual event the starters were the Fletcher brothers, Michael Ward, and Adam Loomis. In order to even compete in a World Cup or SGP event one must be in the top 50 in the qualification jump. All 4 of our starters did that which was awesome! On the day of the actual completion everyone had good days with Taylor Fletcher leading the way in 12th place, Bryan in 20th, Adam in 28th, and Michael in 29th! The other day of competition was the team sprint, the teams were the Fletcher Brothers on one team and Ben and I on the other team. Ben and I did not have our best performance which we were bummed about and the Fletcher bros had an average day.
From Oberwiesenthal we then headed to a new town for all of us Tschagguns, AUT. We were here for only two days for another Summer Grand Prix Individual event. The starters here were the Fletcher Brothers, Adam Loomis, and Michael Ward all of whom made the top 50 cut the day of qualification. The day of the competition the weather rolled in and they were unable to finish the competition round of jumping. For the race they used the qualification jump from the day before to determine the start order for the race. When the start of the race arrived it was still pouring rain and chilly outside. Despite that the race went on and everyone had a fairly good day. Bryan in 24th, Taylor in 28th, Michael in 39th, and Adam in 43rd. After that quick stop we moved on to Oberstdorf, GER the location of the final Summer Grand Prix. On the first of two days of individual comps the starters were the Fletcher brothers, Ben Berend, and Myself. Again we all qualified which everyone was happy about. My competition jump was fairly average based on how I have been jumping this summer so I was happy with how it went. The race in Oberstdorf started at 8:30pm and we raced through the streets of the town under the lights which made for a very fun atmosphere. I started the race in 42nd position and was able to ski most of the race with a group of 4 other skiers. We all worked well together and were able to catch several racers ahead of us, I was able to stay towards the front of this group until the very end. I finished the day in 40th overall with the 36th fastest time which I was psyched about. Taylor finished in 19th, Bryan in 25th, and Ben was unable to finish the race. The next day I was chosen to compete again with the Fletcher brothers and Adam, I had about the same jump which I was happy enough with even though I know I can improve upon it. I started the race in 44th position with some of the same skiers as last time, I skied with that group again but slipped off towards the end and finished in 40th place. Taylor finished in 13th, Bryan in 23rd, and Adam in 38th. Everyone had fairly good performances both days so we all came away with pros and cons from the competitions.
I am now back in Park City about to start some intensity blocks of training. Looking back on my August trip I am extremely pumped with how it went on both the Jumping and Sking part of training. I look forward to continuing to improve and I am getting very excited for the competition season to begin. As always continue to check back to see where I am and what I'm up to!