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Monday, March 21, 2011

Denver, Colorado - I have a sneaky suspicion this is going to be a long one. After four great days at home, I spent the last 8 in Whistler for 6 days of racing at NorAm Finals on a painfully flat hill getting smoked pretty much every day. I brought a pair of really stiff GS skis that are nasty on injection, but don’t turn on soft snow on the flats… total bummer. Then I banged around pretending I could ski slalom for a couple days and picked up a SG and a Super Combined result the last two days. Then hustled out of town to Seattle, a four hour drive, south to get a more reasonably priced flight back east.

Last night, I stayed on Gordon Gray’s couch, which was amazing I haven’t slept that well in weeks, and after he dropped me off at the airport at 5:30 this morning. Thanks Gordon!!! I’m on my way back east to race in two Eastern Cup GS races in Stowe then two SG’s in Burke starting tomorrow. By the end of this little tour, it’ll be 10 races in 11 days with a nice relaxing day of travel in the middle haha.

Anyway, so here I am in DIA waiting for some maintenance repairs to our plane on a flight to Boston. Then I’ll catch a cab to my car, which is park on E street in Southie because there is free, very long term parking there. Once I set my eyes on the old Honda Accord Wagon I’ll have to cross my fingers. On my drive down to Boston 10 days ago, I stopped on the way to pick up some rope to tie our skis to a Thule rack I brought to put on Charles Christianson’s VW Passat wagon parked at the Seattle Airport. Since there were three of us with way too many pairs of skis, I flew with a Thule rack in my ski bag hoping that would work out. However, we never used the Thule rack because we ran into Florian, a private coach from Salt Lake, driving up to Whistler in the Seattle airport with extra room for our skis. Anyway, when I made that stop 40 miles outside of Boston, I realized that my car was making some painful sounds coming from the two front wheels.

I called Phil Bedard, a buddy of mine’s father and my mechanic, to diagnose the problem. I felt like I was calling into Click and Clack on Car Talk. Phil came to the conclusion, it was most likely a bearing issue since it became louder when I turned the wheel. It made him a bit nervous since I had a ball joint issue with this car two years ago when my front driver’s side tire turned 90 degrees after going over a railroad track when the ball joint popped out (I have a great picture of this on facebook). We were both hoping that wasn’t going to happen again. He had me shake the front tires as hard as I could and if they felt solid, he said keep going. They felt totally money. I didn’t want to miss my flight and I was already pushing the timing so I asked him, “What’s better going fast for slow?” He responded by explaining he couldn’t answer that, but it was important for it not to get too loud. So I got back on the highway and floored it until it was too loud. As I quickly learned, if you kept the old lady over 80 the sounds of the rest of the car falling apart masked the bearing issue so I did my best to keep her over 80 the rest of the way south and I made my flight with time to spare. Here I am 10 days later, hoping that the old ’95 Honda Accord Wagon will have enough energy to make it back up north to Gilford, NH tonight.

So right now – best case scenario – I get into Boston at 8:30, collect my luggage, rip up to Gilford, dump my car off at Union Ave Auto to have Phil give the old lady some lovin, grab my dad’s truck, and then rally off to Stowe bright and early tomorrow morning. Then I’ll have a couple days home before I flew back here for U.S. Nationals. God it feel like I’m back on the college tour. Not to mention, I’m laying down right now stretching my hamstrings because my back and slalom aren’t friends. I really hope I have a reclining seat on this next flight. Hahaha, but seriously. Good entertainment on the spring tour.

Hope you’re all doing well, w

Congrats to Thomas Biesemeyer for being the overall Not-Am Champ, Ryan Cochran Siegle for crushing the two SG’s, and Tim Jitloff for scoring some 6 point races in GS.

posted by Warner at 3/21/2011 03:32:00 PM (permanent link to this post) 0 comments

Fresh air from the live free or die state!!
Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Hello all,

It feels astonishingly good to be home. I had a smile on my face for the entire 15 minutes it took to pump up the flat tires on my car with a bike pump, for every pothole I’ve hit (there are a ton on New Hampshire roads right now), for the feel of the sheets on my own bed, finally having a place to leave my skis without setting up a tuning bench, and feeling the shimmy of my 1995 Honda Accord Wagon when I touch the breaks. It feels amazing to be home. I didn’t quite realize how ready I was to get out of Dodge until I woke up this morning.

This morning, I had a chance to watch my run from Kranjska Gora, Slovenia and after I made a mistake on the roll I had no chance of qualifying. It wouldn’t have hurt to ski the rest of the course, but I guess sometimes you don’t always do what’s best. I might have written that last update a little premature; but frankly, I think it’s important to explain the rollercoaster ride of being a competitive ski racer.

The slalom in Kranjska – holy cow – was that awesome!! Will Brandenburg won the top split before blowing out. Ted and Nolan both qualified for second run. All the American athletes were in the finish – everyone that had raced over the weekend was there along with Cody Marshall that came over for the weekend – showing support for Ted and Nolan. Nolan was in 7th 3 tenths off the lead. Ted came down and straddled a gate half way down the piste. Bummer. Welcome to slalom racing. Nolan came down and completely murdered the bottom pitch and moved into the lead by 9 tenths!! We were all going nuts, sending countless high five to each other, and screaming at the top of our lungs. Ted immediately says, “He’s going to win. He’s going to win. Definitely on the podium, but he’s going to win!!” We were all so pumped. Mario Matt ended up beating him by 9 hundredths of a second and then Axel Baeck came down and tied Nolan in second. It was great to be there and feel the exhilaration of a fellow teammate killing it!! Not to mention, it was really cool how excited all of us were collectively for Nolan. Good on ya buddy!!!

Then later that afternoon, we found out in Tarvisio, Italy – 20 minutes away from Kranjska– Linsdey won, Julia was second, and Laurenne Ross was 4th. What a day for America. It’s great to see two young teammates put together such epic performances.

Cody and I then logged 8 hours driving across Austria to Patsch to drop off a bunch of stuff, then to the Swiss boarder to exchange a couple pairs of skis near Bregenz at the Head factory, and then up thru Germany to Munich before we flew out yesterday.

Thanks so much to Ryan Welch for picking me up at the airport late last night!

God it’s nice to be home :-). Nothing like 70 days living out of a suitcase to make you appreciate home.

Cheers, w

posted by Warner at 3/08/2011 10:27:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 1 comments

Kranjska Gora not awesome
Saturday, March 05, 2011

The World Cup GS season is over for this guy. Time to go home and recalibrate. It’s been a long two weeks since Worlds and I’m really ready to see American soil. When there is a big break from race to race it’s pretty challenging to keep your focus. Even though I was relatively productive running skis in and powder skiing over the week break, my focus and patience waned. It’s never a good sign when you’re counting down the days to departure.

Today, I made some good turns up top, got low (on the same roll I had trouble with last year), and was really behind the course. I could have stayed in the course and fought my way to the finish, but I didn’t. There are not many things more painful than giving up when you don’t know exactly where you stand. On the top split I was still in the race and after my mistake I could have crushed the bottom and possibly qualified for second run. I sat on the side of the hill so angry that I quit. Not that I made a bad turn in the bumpy conditions just disappointed that I could have stayed in it. I probably wouldn’t have qualified, but when there is still a glimmer of hope and you toss in the towel it sucks. Last year, that same roll ate me up both days. This hill is kinda my nemesis on the World Cup and it proved to win again. Tommy Ford and Christof Innerhofer both started right before me and both went out on the same two gates.

In the athlete tend, Kjetil Jansurd told me I was skiing well up top and asked why I blew out waiting to hear me say, I gave up. It’s always fun to rip on people when they pull the plug early. Someone certainly needs to, thanks Jansurd. I was really mad at Bode and Ted for doing it in the Super G at Worlds. Today doesn’t feel good. Kranjska 3, Warner 0 – damn it.

As for the rest of Americans, Ted finished 3rd, Jitloff was 24th, Will had trouble on our gate and finished deep, and Bode probably won’t make another appearance this season. Bode hurt his back, it’s not getting better, and the weather in San Diego is very nice this time of year. You never know with him. At any moment he can drastically change his plan, but that’s what Johannes Erhard told me earlier today who talked to him. Alexis Pinturalult had an epic day. The young Frenchman started behind me number 34 and moved all the way up to 2nd. He’s a really good junior that is crushing the Europa Cup tour. Carlo Janka won. The podium was less than 12 hundredths apart. It was nice to see Ted on the podium and he’s now 77 points ahead of Aksel in the overall GS standings.

See you soon America!!! I land in Boston on Monday night around 9:00 PM and I’m still looking for a ride to Gilford, any takers??

Time to travel wax and pack some bags.

Cheers, w

posted by Warner at 3/05/2011 09:39:00 AM (permanent link to this post) 1 comments