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World Champs.
Thursday, February 24, 2011

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany – was the site of the 2011 Alpine World Championships. Being competitor at World Champs was definitely a milestone. There was tons of media, more coverage, random celebrities, tons of entertainingly drunk fans, lots of representation of small nations, smaller teams (only 4 athletes per event per nation), racing side by side with the ladies (really cool), more families around, and at the end of nearly each day a World Champion was crowned. Being in Garmisch for five days was entertaining.

My race was pretty painful. I started 31 and was fired up on race day. My equipment felt really good in warm up so I was ready to get after it. In World Champs only the top 15 get world cup points so having a mediocre day is pointless. There was a lot of fog in the morning so they decided to move the start down about 15 seconds, which made it quite a bit easier and more of a sprint.

About 10 minutes before I started, Bode radioed up and gave an exceptionally thorough course report. He explained how you could cut the line off right out of the gate and then focused on how important it was to set up an under gate coming onto the flats. There were four big turns on the flats before a chicane turn and then a long under gate across the pitch with painfully bumpy snow. The course had not been groomed in two weeks since long before the super g and downhill over a week before the GS. I was psyched with his report. It didn’t change my plan much it just reiterated a few things.

I leaped out of the gate and immediately went straight. At third gate, I did a little slide at the top of the turn, which made me pretty upset. I didn’t want to slow down. I wanted to go as fast as I could and crush the course. I came over the first roll with some heat and didn’t give myself quite enough room, which forced me to hit the breaks on the back side of the roll. I lost a little time there, but I was able to come onto the flat with some good speed. This was the section where Bode said there was a lot of swing so I set up the under gate, but I wasn’t patient enough on the next gate. I came in a bit early and didn’t come out of the first of four big turns with enough direction. Four gate later – just before we dropped onto the waterfall pitch in the chicane turn – I was so late I had to point up the hill to get around a gate. Damn it. Watching video it doesn’t look that bad, but it certainly felt like crap. I was so angry; but immediately thought, I could crush the pitch and make up time because I didn’t have much speed going onto it.

I made my way through the next under gate or long turn onto the pitch and there was one big bump/jump. I decided to pop it a little bit so I could skip some of the small bumps to land and snap off a nasty turn. Unfortunately, I got more air than I anticipated (see pic below) and didn’t do that at all. Damn it again. I came off the pitch and made some good turns at the bottom, but didn’t make the flip so I was starting around 40th second run. Which means I started my second run after the flower ceremony in the finish during an 11minute hold. The race was going to be more than over before I pushed out of the gate.

Right after first run, I gave an interview to Universal Sports explaining that Ted was going to destroy second run and win the race so I decided to wait up top and watch second run on TV. Ted came down with an inspiring second run and won the race!! I was so pumped, but it was a bit painful to be at the top of the mountain waiting to go. The men’s team had low spirits at Worlds when we arrived since no one on the men’s side had put together an inspiring performance. Bode, Ted, and Nyman all had some great sections in the speed races, but that’s all. Tommy Ford in the Super G definitely had the best performance so far when he finished 13th, but other than that the ski team was pretty flat so the win was a great way to keep everyone’s head high.

Second run, I had a solid run, but had some trouble on the bottom pitch to finish 35th 4.2 seconds off Ted (I was 2.7 out first run). That night was really fun. There were two victory party in Ted’s honor in town after the awards and one of them Huey and I walked into the party with Ted on our shoulders. It was hilarious and hard work because Huey is so much talker than me. I felt like I was holding him up over my head. There were cameras flashing everywhere and TV cameras streaming live to ORF, the Austria channel. It was pretty hectic. After dinner – around 9:30 – I drove Bode to the airport in Munich and was back at midnight to catch up with my family in town who had been drinking since the race. I ordered 10 Jager shots, took four of them, and before I knew it I was eating a big mac sitting in McDonald’s at 5 AM wondering why I was still awake. I blame jager and redbull/vodka. Totally worth it.

Dropping Bode off means that I am currently rolling around Europe in his Audi RS6 for 10 days. His car is completely out of control. I’ll have to pick him up at some point, but it’s so nice to be ripping around Europe with a rig (and one way above my pay grade and lifestyle haha). The rest of the ski team guys are off to Bansko, Bulgaria for a Super Combined and a slalom this weekend, while I’m chilling out and powder skiing in Kaprun, Austria.

Thanks to Mom, Guy, Jill, and RB Klinkenberg for coming over the pond to experience Garmisch. Without you guys it wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining. Thanks.

Cheers to all. w

posted by Warner at 2/24/2011 04:29:00 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

where is the picture?! what's the plan from here?

3:45 PM  

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