After our first day of competition in Almaty, KAZ we have a day off for recovery before the last competitions begin. Our rest day was followed by the second and last individual event of the competition, one jump on the k95 again and a 5km race which in our world is the closest thing to a sprint that we do. In this competition it is more important to jump better as it is much harder to make up time in such a short race. In the jumping portion I had a slightly better showing jumping to 29th, Ben Berend had a great jump and was in 12th after the jumping! Koby Vargas in his first international race had a great jump putting him in 34th, Somer Schrock was in 44th after jumping.
As I mentioned before this race feels like a sprint after doing a 10km race a few days ago, therefore we all do a slightly different warm-up to prepare for a sprint type race. We all headed to the start area psyched to race off of a better day on the jump hill. I did not feel as good as the 10km race but I was still able to work my way up the field to a racer from Finland who I skied behind for the second and final lap of the race. Towards the end of the last hill I tried to make a move and was able to put a small gap on the Finnish skier. However on the flat into the stadium he caught back up to me as he had slightly faster skis than me. I was still leading into the finish line and we then sprinted it out to the line and he got me in the end. I ended up in 27th which I was happy with as I went into this week hoping for two top 30’s which I was able to do. I also rarely am in a sprint to the finish so I am glad to be getting more experience with this as it is a critical skill to have up my sleeve. I found out a few minutes later that my teammate Ben Berend had a great race and finished in 13th position which was his best performance at World Junior Championships! Koby Vargas crossed the line in 41st psyched on his first international comp and Somer Schrock finished in 44th maintaining his start position!
The next day was the final and slightly more carefree day, when I say carefree I mean more that there feels like less pressure and while we all want to kill it, we are having fun with our teammates as we rarely get to do 4 man team events! Due to the last couple days of racing which is hard on the legs none of us jumped stellar but we all had a fairly good day on the hill putting us in 8th to start the race. This race feels more like a time trial as there are only ten teams so most of the time you are skiing by yourself. I skied the first leg and was able to hold on to the French team who started 2sec behind me and we blew by the Slovenian team. After my 5km race I then tagged off to Ben Loomis in 8th place, after his leg we were still in 8th but gaining time on the teams ahead of us. He tagged off to Ben Berend who got us even closer to the Czech Republic, Ben tagged off to Koby Vargas who was able to catch and drop the Czech skier and finish in 7th position. Although we didn’t exactly kill it we were happy as we had fun and moved up in the race! Looking back on this competition I am very happy with my results especially on the racing side of things, but even more than that I am extremely motivated to do everything I can to be in the hunt next year as it will be my last. If you want to check out all of the results from this past week go here and then click on the NC links!
Now myself, Ben Berend and Ben Loomis traveled to Ramsau, Austria (one of the most beautiful valleys I have ever been to for a weekend of COC competitions with Taylor Fletcher, Adam Loomis, Colin Delaney and Michael Ward. After this weekend Taylor, Adam and Ben B will travel to Falun, Sweden and meet Bryan Fletcher and Bill Demong to represent the US at Nordic World Championships! Myself, Ben L, Michael Ward and Colin Delaney will then go to one more weekend of COC competitions! Stay tuned for more info on how this weekend goes!!