Another year, another 4th of July spent in Steamboat Springs, Colorado for the " 4th of July Jumpin' and Jammin' festival". For the past 6 or 7 years I have been making the trip out to Steamboat Springs for this week of ski jumping and cross country skiing, however this year my team decided to make the camp a little bit longer than usual. We headed to Steamboat on June 28th and stayed all the way through July 7th for a full 10 days of training and fun.
Perhaps the most important part of this camp is our annual time trial (TT) up to Fish Creek Falls. We do this TT every year during the 4th of July week and it is a great way to measure progress as well as compare yourself to the other athletes in the field. For some of the younger skiers, it is a great way to see how you compare to the athletes on the National Team. Up until this year, I had been one of those younger athletes comparing myself to the team. However, this year I became one of the athletes that younger kids compare themselves to, and I had a blast seeing all the juniors crush it.
Ever since I started doing the TT, we started at 8am. This year, due to traffic concerns, we started bright and early at 7:15am. Although it sucked to wake up at 5:55 to get ready for a roller ski race, it was super nice being done and home by 8:15. I stayed at my teammate Jasper Good's house for the week. He lives in downtown Steamboat so we just skied directly from his house which was super convenient. We skied our way to the start of the race and met up with all the other athletes doing the race, 23 in total. We structure the start so that the younger kids go in pairs every 30 seconds, and then the older athletes go individually at the end. I started 4 athletes from the back, meaning that I had most of the kids in front of me. I started at what seemed like a super reasonable pace and began to make up time on the guys in front of me. By the hardest part of the race, what we call the Wall (A super steep section of road), I had worked my way to the very front of the field. Luckily I have done this time trial enough to know the top part of the course and could know when the right time to go full gas was. I stayed in front of the crew and crossed the finish line in 24:39, which was a new personal best by almost 3 minutes! I was honestly shocked at my performance when I crossed the line, because 3 minutes is a huge chunk of time to take off in just one year. Hopefully thats a good sign for the season to come (knock on wood)! Taylor Fletcher had the fastest time of the day, and Ben Loomis crushed it to take second, followed by Jasper Good who was a few in front of me. Stephen Schumann finished a little bit behind me to round out 5 people in under 25 minutes!
The Fish Creek Time trial is what I put the most focus on during this week, however we also had a jumping competition and a fun roller ski race on main street before the 4th of July Parade. I didn't have the best jumps during the competition, but due to the short length of the race and the different points calculation, I was slated to start the race 18 seconds behind the leader, Taylor Fletcher. The race is only 3km and lasts less than 8 minutes. I slowly worked my way to catch Jasper Good in 3rd place going in to the last corner, but unfortunately I slipped out on the last corner and slid to the pavement. I'm bummed I couldn't put in a fight for the podium but I'm happy to walk away with nothing other than some road rash!
After the roller ski race on the 4th of July, the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club puts on an elimination competition. This competition is structured differently than normal. There are no style points and no judges. All the athletes jump as far as they can without falling, and the farthest jumpers advance through the rounds until finally, in a round of 8, the farthest jump wins. Going into the event I was already pretty tired, and after making it through the first round with a 68 meter jump (K-Point is 68m), I was unable to make it through the next round with a jump of 69 meters. All the juniors stepped it up and threw down some long jumps which I was psyched to see! The winner of the day was Decker Dean, who walked away with a cool $2,000 prize.
After the 4th of July Festivities, my team and I got the opportunity to go wakesurfing on July 5th with a local company called Wake Steamboat. They brought 8 of us out on their boat and taught us how to wake surf. Myself and Taylor Fletcher were the only two who had previously wake surfed, but everyone else picked it up really easily which was both surprising and awesome! This was a great way to spend our off-day after a couple busy and tiring days.
We finished off the week with a final jumping session, followed by some strength and technique sessions in the gym. Overall I was super happy with how the week went, but I am happy to be at home now for a few weeks. Thank you to the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club and USA Nordic for an awesome training camp!
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