For a little bit more than a week now I have been in Planica, SLO where I was able to get some great training even with the lack of snow. As I have mentioned before the hills here in Planica are great for training and making improvements on your jumping! Unfortunately we were dealing with some rain followed by some wet snow on several days. This made for an extremely sticky landing hill the next morning, On the first jump of the day I had a fairly good jump and was trying to get everything out of the jump totally forgetting that the landing hill was sticky. When the landing hill is that sticky jumpers have to land more back seat than normal in order to not stick and crash upon landing. Well I got caught up in a good jump and did exactly that, my first crash of the winter. At the time I didn’t really think anything major was wrong so I finished the session, although my hand was a little sore and I knew I would be sore the next day. This was last Thursday, we had COC competitions coming up on Saturday and Sunday here in Planica and I was very excited to compete.
When Saturday rolled around my hand was still swollen and I still had some pain, but it was comp day and I was pumped so I put it in the back of my mind. My jumping continues to improve however it is still not where I want it to be. I jumped to 35th place out of a field of 60 so I was ok with where I would be starting the race. The organizers also decided to do a second competition jump for Sunday because the weather was going to be so bad they decided we wouldn’t even try to jump. In that competition round I jumped to 35th place once again, I was happy with the consistency and the fact the my jumping continued to improve each jump. During the race I didn’t really notice the pain in my hand for the majority of the race, however when I would pick up the pace it hurt a little more, nothing that was going to stop me from racing. I ended up finishing in 31st place which I was bummed about but had a fairly decent race with the 26th fastest time. I really wanted to race again on Sunday but my coach and I made the decision that it would be better to let my hand rest and not push it. Later that day I went to the Hospital just to make sure that nothing was seriously wrong. I found out that I had fractured the middle finger bone in my hand, not the news I was hoping for. The more I learned and with the help of two different doctors stateside I have figured out that I can still train and compete, however I have to take some anti-inflammatory to keep the swelling down and ice as much as I can. Although it is always a scary moment when a doctor comes up to you and tells you that you have broken a bone, it ended up working out about as good as it could have.
The rest of the World Junior Team has now made the trip over to Europe (Koby Vargas, Jared Shumate, Stephen Schumann, Ben Loomis) to join in our preparation before World Junior Championships (WJC). Ben Loomis is currently traveling to Lillehammer, NOR to represent the USA at the Youth Olympic Games after which he will meet the rest of us in Romania for WJC. The rest of the WJC team along with Ben Berend and I are currently driving to Ramsau, AUT for another weekend of COC competitions. Ramsau is one of my favorite places to go so I am very excited for this weekend. If you want to check out results from this coming weekend before my update click here. I am very lucky to have not injured myself worse and I am very thankful I got away with a close call. I must take it day by day to make sure I don’t have any setbacks, but if all goes to plan I will be totally fine by the time WJC arrives. As WJC is the main focus of my season I am very lucky I will be able to compete just fine and complete my training preparations leading up to the big event. As always be sure to check back next week and thanks for following along!