By: Dave Jarrett, Head Coach USA Nordic Combined
Summer training for a winter sport, it takes extra motivation to get out the door in July when the snow seems to be so far away. The Nordic Combined team begins their annual training the first week of April. Coming into a new season most athletes and coaches are motivated to “restart” whether coming off a medal winning season or a season of frustration. VO2 max testing, strength testing, evaluations of previous season and goal setting both individually and collectively provide motivation to begin training for the next season.
Living and training in UT, it is easy to get out the door in April and May. There are choices of training methods and modes abound; you can ski, bike, run, to name a few and many times a combo of all of these are possible. Skiing in the morning and cycling in the afternoon is very common.
As the temperature goes up and the months go by, we find ourselves in July with Winter seemingly so far away. Getting out the door for rollerskiing or jumping in 90+ degree heat does not feel like January and honestly is sometimes hard to do. Luckily the competitions in Steamboat on the 4th of July and the annual Springer Tournee in Park City provide short term motivation to keep the momentum up as does the Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix (SGP) at the end of August.
The Nordic Combined team will be on their way to Oberwiesenthal on Saturday for a short training camp before SGP begins with competitions in Oberwiesenthal, GER; Villach, AUT; and Obertsdorf, GER. We will join our juniors who have been in Europe with Coach Martin Bayer since the Springer Tournee for the beginning of our camp and the conclusion of their trip. We will also have three youth athletes, boys and girls, competing in Youth Cup competitions in Obertsdorf which occurs concurrently with the Nordic Combined SGP. Team US NoCo will be well represented in Obertsdorf!
The SGP consists of five comps in seven days, including four individual events and one team sprint. While the SGP does not count toward the overall World Cup as it does in Ski Jumping, it is still a big opportunity to get a gauge on where we are in terms of ski jumping and cross country skiing. In the SGP, there is prize money and an overall winner is crowned. Furthermore, it is an opportunity for our young guns to get a start. We are looking forward to the likes of our young guns, Ben Loomis and Stephen Schumann getting to compete in the SGP against World Championships and Olympic medalists.
Once we get out of the desert heat of Utah and into Central Europe you can feel, “winter is coming” and the motivation skyrockets. Five competitions in seven days is intense and we will see how well we have dealt with the dog days of summer.