After my first weekend spent on the World Cup circuit with the 'big dogs' my eyes were opened to the highest level of Nordic Combined. There is a whole different level of professionalism that is amazing to be around and experience. Although Team USA did not have our best performance in Lahti it was a good experience for me to see how a weekend on the World Cup works. Unlike the Continental Cup circuit the events are broadcasted on TV, there are fans at every event and banners of sponsors all around the course. There is much more organization and it is a very well oiled machine. Since the events are broadcasted on TV there are only 50 starters in the individual events, this means that the day before the event there is a qualification jump. There are usually around 60 competitors at each competition so in order to even compete you need get into the top 50. Unfortunately Adam and Ben were unable to make the cut, however Bryan and Taylor did. The next day was the individual event, It was very cool to be at the event instead of just watching it on TV. Bryan came down with a small cold so made the decision not to compete, Taylor however had a solid jump putting him into 35th to start the race. The snow conditions were extremely on the cross country track making for a brutal race. Taylor was able to make up some ground and finish the day in 26th place. I watched the race on one of the steeper hills on the course, it was very cool to see the best hammering up the hill!
The next day was a Team Sprint event, due to the fact that Bryan was sick I was able to start on a team with Taylor Fletcher. Ben Berend and Adam Loomis were paired together for our other US team. Taylor and I did not have a great day on the jump hill putting us pretty far back to start the race. The sprint lap was very fast and unfortunately we got lapped by the leaders and were pulled from the race. Overall this past weekend was amazing to get the experience even without the best performances from Team USA. We are now in Trondheim, NOR for the second to last World Cup of the season. The competition will be on Thursday, after that we will travel to Oslo, NOR for the final competition of the year! This last event is the finale so only the top 30 on the World Cup ranking list get to start in this competition. It is also a slightly differnt set-up, the jumping will consist of two jumps and then a 15km race.
Below is a short video I put together with some highlights from World Junior Championships!