My Big Gamble

Last spring, May 2014, I sat down with my coach Erik Flora (a man who needs no introduction) to plan my attack on the 2014-15 ski season. My big goal was to make the World Championship Team that would race in Falun, Sweden in February of 15. By winning the SuperTour overall, I had secured start rights on the World Cup from the start of the season this November until Christmas. At that time, I was ranked 4th amongst US men in sprinting on the USSA points list, which would give me an extremely strong case to be on the World Championships team.

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Basically, it came down to two options:

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If I turned down the 9 World Cup races, and instead stayed in the US racing SuperTours, I would very likely maintain my points standing and secure a spot on the Worlds Team. I had won both major classic sprints last season, including US Nationals and Spring Nationals against the US Ski Team members, and been first and second in those qualifiers.

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The other option was to accept the World Cup starts in November and December (called Period 1). Fewer men would get this opportunity this season than would get named to the Worlds team, and the chance to race in a significant number of World Cups is a pretty rare opportunity. However, the points on the World Cup are not as good, and so I would risk being overtaken by those racing back in the US where the points were better. No US male has ever gone to period 1 and done well, either there or the rest of the season. Ever. There’s a reason it’s called “the Curse of Period 1”. I knew that, and somehow I hoped I could be different.

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It was a tough decision; take the chance at really deepening my experience as an elite skier in exchange for potentially making a championship team.

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I could have taken the conservative route; part of me wanted to. But I didn’t. I went for it. I went to the World Cup to better myself as an athlete, to really put myself out there.

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Davos 15k - Fasterskier photo

Davos 15k – Fasterskier photo

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It was a big gamble. When the official announcement of the US Worlds Team is announced in the next few hours, I anticipate that I won’t be on it. I think I lost the bet.

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I am very disappointed, but I am content with the decision I made. It’s actually quite difficult to hit that home run right when you need to. I threw myself at it, in the very best way I could, and although I didn’t achieve some of the numbers I wanted, I have never learned so much. The experience I have gained through this has been worth it. I believe that I got more out of racing a month of World Cups than I would have at one event at Worlds, although after being 31st on the Worlds Sprint course last season, I would love another crack at it.

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Now I will focus on what lies ahead. That’s all we can ever really do, right?

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Thanks for reading. Check back soon for some exciting news!!

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