Sunday was the close of the 2013 US Telemark Nationals. We had the Sprint Classic Duel Parellel. A mouthful I know. If you were to ask my Mom what event it is called she would say Gladiators on skis. She has a good point because it is pretty intense and can get gladiatorish seeing that you are skiing head to head against your competitor. Who would of thought that skiing would be a contact sport? Let me explain….You have two skiers up a the top of the hill with two different exact courses. A red course and a blue course. You are prompted to race at the exact time and off the two competitors race, each down their own course head to head. You both go off a jump midway through the course which is sketchy in itself then back into your course. Once the course ends both competitors (this is where it can get wild) have to merge into this toilet bowl shaped thing made out of snow called the Wrap. The problem occurs when two skiers merge at the exact time at the bottom of the course….who is going to give way to the other? It is a race and of course you want to beat your competitor to the wrap….collision!! On skis!! Going pretty freaking fast! Hence the reason my moma calls it Gladiators on skis. I kind of agree because there is a lot of potential for some crazy things to happen. Once you get out of the Wrap you then go into a head to head skate with your competitor to the finish. The best way to understand all this is to just watch a video of it.
This is a brand new event that was just implanted to enhance our chances of becoming an Olympic sport. When we (our sport in general) went to the Olympic committee last year to propose Telemark racing to be in the Olympics they came back to us saying that we needed to make our sport more exciting. So we came up with the Parellel! And yes it is very exciting to watch as a spectator! Us athletes, well it is what it is! If this is what it takes to be an Olympic sport then let’s do it.
Seeing that it is still a fairly new event to us Americans our board decided to not make this event this year count towards our National Rankings. Good thing because I did not fair to well the last day. It was a lot of fun but I had a mishap the first run and ended up falling. Basically anytime you take a crash in ski racing it is pretty hard to finish the day on the top of the leader board.
To wrap up this year’s Nationals it was a great week. I skied the best of my life to three 2nd place finishes out of 4 races. I ended up 2nd overall in the National Rankings which was far beyond my expectations. I am so blessed by the Lord to have skied that well. Only with Him was that all accomplished.
Yesterday was a fantastic day for me. I could not be more pleased with my results in the Classic. Went into the day feeling good with little pressure. I was still buzzing with excitement from my results in the Classic but now it was time to see if I could get refocused and throw down.
After the first run I was in third place with a teammate of mine only 2 hundredths behind me. I skied sloppy and knew I could clean it up a bit. All and all I was still happy to be in a podium spot after the first run.
2nd run I threw down a good solid run. I picked it up a notch and had the fastest raw time of the field. Was tagged with 1 penalty which then put me in 2nd. Pumped. Another great day!
Finished the day with another 2nd Place. Happy…….
Today was the start of the USA Nationals held in Steamboat Springs, CO. It has been a crazy few weeks leading up to this day with a bunch of curve balls thrown my way. But….. it was time to RACE and put everything behind me.
First up the Classic! Just as a refresher, the Classic is the longer event typically draining every ounce of energy out of ya. USTSA decided to squeeze two races in today. The Classic typically is one run and done..but since we have a ton of people traveling from all over the US they decided to squeeze one more race in there to make the trip with their while.
Race 1. I was the 2nd male to go…Bad thing or good thing? Well the good thing is that you have a fresh course the bad thing is that you do not have a course report. Course reports are essential!! Typically after a few people run the course my coach will radio up to all of us and tell us “how the course is running.” And depending on his feedback it can really change your game plan. For instance, I went 2nd and I know for a fact that after I went….our coach got on the horn and told everybody (teammates) that “Tommy just boosted the jump and overshot the landing.” Typical by the way. Then everybody then makes mental notes and changes their game plan a touch. So yes, I overshot the jump which probably cost me some time but I knew I was fast. I have’t felt this good in a while. After the jump I got refocused and started skiing well on the bottom section of the course. Then the skate…I usually look forward to the skate section but lately I have been feeling a little sluggish with my fitness. I tried to conserve energy the few gates prior the skate so that I could charge during the skate. Although it was not my normal charge it must of been enough to earn me a spot on the podium. Very EXCITED!!
Race 2. Just a great day overall. I could not be happier right now. I skied very similar to my first run. Perhaps a little cleaner and less charge but it did the trick! Oh this time I did have a course report by the way. MY SISTER! Tanya and her husband, Dave made the trek out to support. Not only did they show great support by Tanya was sending me text messages about how the course was running and so forth. I actually made a pretty significant change from run 1 to run 2 because of her feedback. Thanks sister!! Race 2 I finished 2nd place again.
Tomorrow we race again. Sprint Classic (the shorter event). I am looking forward to another good day. And also want to say….man it is good to have fam here. Mom, Tanya, David, Kristy Lee, and little Daniel thanks for coming!! Glory be to God for giving me the strength to be able to compete today. I am blessed.