ACL Surgery # 3 (8-28-2013)

ACL reconstructive surgery was performed on my right knee for the 3 rd time this past week.  I am currently icing my knee as I sit here and type.  This is the 3rd go around with this procedure and by now I know what to expect.  Still is no fun and sure is not easy.

According to the Doctor, the surgery went well.  We decided to use my own Patella Tendon as my new acl.  This bad boy better not bust.  This is indeed the last time I am going through this.

Before I know it I will back on my feet slowly recovering.  Axis Sports Medicine is my “go to.”  I will live in the therapy clinic the next 6-9 months.  The timeline for skiing again is pretty far out.  We are really going to take our time and make sure the new ACL graph heals up and takes to my body.  I plan on skiing sometime this winter but not no date is set and not needed to be set.  I have to make this graph count and that is most important.  Skiing- it will be there when I am ready.  And I am still fired up to compete- so that will still be there as well.  In fact that is what drives me, ski racing!  I will work hard to get back to top form.  Thanks all for the support.  Be back soon.


ACL torn for the 3rd time.

On May 11th I tore my ACL for the third time.  I was just casually playing some basketball with my friends and went to change directions while running and felt my knee just completely buckle.  There was not a doubt in my mind…. I knew exactly what just happened.  Confirmed torn ACL again.

This is absolutely devastating to me.  I have been in and out of the Steadman clinic the past few weeks and the doctors are shocked.   They are baffled that this happened for the 3rd straight year.   They do not think it is a lack of my fitness.  I have been diligently doing my physical therapy and have continued to get stronger and they can see that.

Coming off such a great competitive ski season this is a huge blow for me.   This is the 3rd year in a row that I will spend my summer inside looking out while rehabbing my surgical repaired knee.   I keep getting asked the question of what my future looks like. After quite a bit of thought here is my thinking:

It is ingrained in me to have fun…it lives in me to play, to play sports!  I have a burning passion to be active.  It is what I know, just to go out and do something, anything.  For some reason the Man upstairs blessed me with the ability to compete in a sport at a high level.  I will NOT take it for granted.  I do not quit.  I will continue to play until I can’t play anymore.   I will continue to compete until I can’t compete anymore.  I will not give UP.  I will be Back.  And I will be back stronger then ever.  This is my thinking. 

World Championships closes with a Crash!

The World Championships came to a close today.  We were faced with tough snowy  conditions for the Sprint Classic.  It has been a long week of racing but I was still able to find enough energy to get pumped up for the Sprint.

Because of the bad weather everything was pushed up so we get through the day.  The race quickly came upon me and before I knew it I was in the start gate.  With visibility bad, I could see approx 5 gates in front of me then just a blanket of fog.   I had a good start and remember bashing the first gate.  That was probably the best part of the run to be honest.  Ha.  The next turn I went to set my edge into the snow and  quickly realized it was like frozen cement.    It was so bumpy and I felt like I was riding a bull.  At the 5th gate I loaded up a lot of energy into my ski and popped to the next turn.  Unfortunately, I landed on my hip.  Anytime you are not on your skis, no good.  Quickly got up only to realize my pole was snapped in half.  When I hipped checked I must of falling on my pole and snapped it.   Without even thinking I ripped off my glove and chucked my pole off the course (protocol).  Then resumed skiing the course with one pole.  It is actually not uncommon for racers to break their poles while in the course.  This was my first broken pole.  Gosh, I think next season I am going to have to have a few training runs with one pole cuz today I struggled.  It was such an odd feeling skiing with one pole.  I came to the jump and hucked as big as I could.  Not sure if I made the line or not but I do know that I only made it one gate further.  I passed the next gate and then the next thing I remember was falling.  Both skis split out and I was sliding on my chest.  To be honest, not sure what happened but I was relieved to know that my body was still intact.  Can’t afford any more injuries.  (Seriously, my wallet can not afford any more injuries)  Well that basically was the end to my day.  A big DNF (did not finish).

To be honest, it was  great week!!  I am extremely pleased with my skiing this week.  I learned a lot and competed against the best in the World.  And for one day, I hung right in there with the best guys in the World.   That was the highlight of my racing career.   To qualify 6th in the Sprint Parallel was the confidence I needed to continue to work hard in training.  With some hard work, I can ski with these guys.  Great week!

Team Parallel Results

Today was the Team Parallel.  The team event is pretty different from your typical ski race.  There are 3 racers per team and you have to have 1 female and or at least 1 male per team.   Team USA was fielded by Cory Snyder, Madi McKinstry and myself.  The way it works is you race against 1 other Country and their 3 racers.  Whichever Country first wins 2 individual matches they advance to the next round.  USA vs Switzerland!!   We had a tough task ahead seeing that the Swiss fielded 2 athletes that are ranked top 3 in the World.

I have been skiing fast this week and felt pretty good going into today.   I was matched up against a Swiss skier that was pretty even with me.  Cory had his work cut out for him as he was matched up against one of the fasted skiers in the World.  Madi, well Madi was racing the fasted female in the World.  So yes, we were the underdogs.

To sum it up….we got beaat.  All three of us skied our hearts out but it was just not enough.  I was plagued with penalties today.  The speeds were high today and I just got caught up in them and forgot about making proper telemark turns.  I got 3 penalties the first run and that was basically it for me.  No way I can make up that much time on such a short course.  I beat my competitor both runs…but then got knocked with deserved penalties and he overtook me from there.   Madi skied fast but it was not enough to beat the fasted girl in the World.  And Cory skied great today.  He got beat the first run and then came back the 2nd run and passed his competitor as he was a victim to falling in the wrap/360.  The Swiss had a fantastic showing today as they ended up winning the gold.  Nice to know that we competed with the gold medal winners.

Overall…what a great experience!  Team USA made a strong showing today and I think we all walked off the hill today feeling pretty good.

Tomorrow is the last race of the World Championships.  Sprint Classic!


Parallel Results, Espot Spain

First off, what a few days it has been.  Just am having such a good time out here in Spain.  From the venue, food, scenery, hanging with team USA, good results, and much more.  It has just been an awesome trip thus far.

Seemed like a week ago that I qualified 6th for the parallel…just quite overwhelming to be in the finals here at the World Championships.  Then for the race organizers to postpone the race due to weather….nerves.  The day was here.  I felt good today and was ready.  On my morning run I just had a peace about the day ahead of me.  I held onto that feeling for the remainder of the day and really did not struggle with nerves or anxiety.   Rather, I was just plain excited.   Just to clarify..the parallel is a race head to head against another competitor.   Ski the course, then go into the wrap, then go into a skate section.  I was racing a Swede who is one of the top guys in the World.  I remember the build up before the race, the only word that describes it . INTENSE   Long story short I skied really fast today but one mistake cost me the race.  I beat my competitor down the course but when we got into the wrap/360 I fell due to the G-forces.  I just couldn’t hold on.  My fault.  I should of checked my speed a touch while I was in the wrap to maintain my balance.   Rookie mistake.

2nd run….We go back the top and switch courses.  I had a big gap to make up if I wanted to advance to the next round.  Well although I beat my competitor in the 2nd run it was not enough to overtake the advantage he had on me from the first run.  Ahhh that rookie mistake cost me today.   But, I hung my head high today.  I was happy to be racing in finals and maintained a positive attitude.  And….I felt like I skied right with my competitor.

Tomorrow is the Team Parallel.  Each team/country has 3 athletes that they submit into the event then they go head to head.  Team USA will face off against Switzerland in the first round.  The Swiss are fast!  They are ranked 3 in the World.

I just posted a pic of me falling in the wrap in the gallery section of my site.

Let’s go USA

Day 2 Qualifier Results, Worlds

What an INCREDIBLE Day!!  It is still quite surreal to be quite honest.   Let me explain in the shortish but most thorough way.  Why?? Cuz I gotta go to bed and race tomorrow……

After finishing 25th the day before I knew I had to ski my absolute best today in order to qualify for the sprint parallel.  In order to qualify you have to finish top 16 among the men.  Tough task here at the World Championships.   If you qualify then you race the next day in the actual event- duel/parallel/head to head… The GOAL was to qualify.  I had the game plan of skiing ALL out.  I had nothing to loose, so I went into todays event with confidence and an attitude of attack.

Attacked is what happened today!  I remember while in the starting gate of my first run actually gritting down on my teeth and saying to myself “it is time to attack.”  I exploded out of the gate and quickly was in a good rhythm.  Felt the snow really well under my feet….it was really bumpy and choppy snow so I quickly made an adjustment to be really light on my skis.  Boosted the jump and cleared the line.  Then a flat section that led us into the wrap was next.  I recall during inspection that if I wanted to take a risky but rewarding chance it was NOW.  I took that chance and it paid off.  I was fast going into the wrap and could hear my coach in the back ground yelling at the top of his lungs that “I’m Home Free.”  It was a different kind of yelling today from him.  I could hear the excitement in his voice.  I was having one.  I powered through the skate section and crossed the finish line.  The announcer’s voice perked up as he was commentating on my run….”USA Tommy Gogolen with a very very fast run….7th Place!”  My heart sunk into my chest in disbelief as I heard my teammates going ballistic in the background.  What just happened!!

It was not over though… I had the 2nd run ahead of me.  The nerves quickly kicked in.  And I mean quickly.  I have never ever been in this position before.  Let’s just say it was a long hour and half to my second run.

Second run……I skied it exactly like the first run.  I MADE IT!!  I finished 6th place.  I can not believe this.  The Lord blessed me today beyond my wildest expectations.  My goal coming into the Worlds was to have 1 result out of 4 to finish in the top 20s.  Tomorrow I am guaranteed a top 16.    and I am a top seed!!  I race against the 11th seed, a Swede.  If you like underdogs…well I am for sure one of them.  Out of the top 16 men 12 of them have all meddled in a World Cup event before.  Me…ahhh my name is barely known among these guys.

It has been a great day!  I have allowed myself to enjoy these past few hours BUT……Tomorrow I ATTACK.

Thank you Lord for the blessings you have thrown my way.  Sure don’t deserve em.

World Championships- SPAIN

After 2 days of straight traveling I arrived in Spain for the Telemark World Championships.  Finally!!    We are staying in this small village down in this valley with gasping mountains surrounding us.   I can not imagine more then 500 people living here full time.   The food….amazing!  Our dinners are 4 courses, candlelight might I add.

Race day!!  Today was the classic.  (the classic is the event that has the longer skate section)  I have been skiing very well as of lately and felt confident.  The atmosphere here is definitely of that of a World Championship venue.  All the athletes are just touch more focused and you can feel the intensity among them.  I really thought there was going to be more athletes competing but apparently countries like Norway decided to only bring their top racers.  Not sure what their thinking is there but it makes for a tough field of competition.   In todays classic due to the fact that you had to prequalify there were just under 40 male racers that started.   I do expect more guys to race tomorrow since nobody has to prequalify.

The goal today was to be in the top 20.  2 years ago at the Worlds in Norway I finished in the 50s.  OK  Race Time!   It is just amazing the small details that go into ski racing.  Down to your set routine that consists of…eating, peeing, stretching, eating, hydrating, peeing again, cleaning your goggles, visualizing the course, visualizing the course again, drinking more water, stretching, getting your heart rate up, bla bla and all this takes place up at the start.  It is quite nerv racking actually!  My turn came to race and I was quite excited, nervous, and anxious.   I ripped out of the gate and quickly got into a good grove.  Felt really good on the top section of the course.   I actually felt smooth for a change.  Up next came the jump.  The line was set quite a ways down the hill.  It was my game plan to jump for the fences.  I knew that the line was set far down the hill and I had to avoid that 3 second penalty.  So I did what I planned and jumped as far as I could.  Yep, easily cleared the line and over shot the landing.  Whooops….I jumped so far it took me two gates to recovery and ended up taking two penalties for not making clean telemark turns.  Well, in hindsight it was still the right call…2 seconds is better then 3 seconds.  After the jump was the steep section of the course.   I skied it pretty conservatively but overall solid.  Coming off the steep we had a flat section of 8 gates that led us to the wrap.  The wrap is nothing like we train in the US.  The wraps over here in Europe are huge.  I remember going into the flat section and the wrap telling myself to take my foot off the gas so that I can tear through the skate section.  Skied the wrap solid and off into the skate section.  There was uphill skate section that was a killer.  This was my main focus…to save just enough energy to be able to crush it.   I knew this was going to be a key section of the course. Well…the unexpected happened.  I skied solid to this point thus far but on the uphill section of the skate I stepped on my own pole and fell.  Ahhhh just thinking about it makes me cringe.  But yes I fell in the skate.  Not good one bit.  I got up, poled up hill from a dead stop and finished the rest of the skate section.  I crossed the finish line in disbelief.  Who falls in the skate section?   Apparently it was my turn to take a digger.  BUT…that is ok!  I am still happy!  My result…..25th.  hmmmmph not too bad considering a fall in the skate section.  To be honest I am satisfied with that result.   Clean that up in the next few days and hopefully I can break that top 20 mark.

Tomorrow we have the qualifiers for the parallel.  Basically every competitor races by themselves and the top 16 advance to the actual parallel on Thursday.  It is going to be tough to make it through the qualifiers but is it obtainable, YES.   I am glad that I got up after my little dramatic spill today and finished strong.   It shows me that I am right in there with the top guys.   I need to ski my best to have a shot of being in the top 16.  The plan…. #charging.

USA Telemark Nationals Wrap Up

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.


Day 2 USA Nationals 2013

Sprint Classic!

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…….

USA Nationals – Day 1

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!!

2nd Place.

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.