Steamboat Springs Todd Lodwick can’t strap on skis for a Continental Cup competition without being reminded that in the world of Nordic combined, he’s old.
“It’s crazy. One of the Japanese kids competing here was born Dec. 4, 1993, the same day I won my first Continental Cup in Lillehammer, Norway,” Lodwick said. “Now a lot of the guys I’m competing against, I competed against the dads when I started.”
But Lodwick proved Sunday, for the second time in the weekend, that 34 is the new 21, and that when it comes to his sport on his hill and his track in his town, he’s ageless.
Lodwick dominated the second day of the Continental Cup event in Steamboat Springs. He didn’t lay out his best jump, entering the cross-country race in eighth place and 36 seconds off the lead.
It didn’t matter. As the entire field and a small but loud regiment of skiing supporters expected, Lodwick charged ahead during the skate-skiing portion of the race and won handily, sweeping the two-competition weekend event in his hometown.
“It’s never easy,” Lodwick said. “For me, it’s never a given until the race is over. … The day I’m not nervous before a race is the day I need to hang it up.”
Maybe it’s not easy for him, but he sure makes it look that way.
Lodwick started in eighth place after his morning ski jump fell 4.5 meters behind the leader, Sebastian Reuschel, of Germany, who set the tone with a 95-meter leap off Howelsen Hill’s 100-meter hill. That leap gave Reuschel a 10-second jump on the field and 36 seconds on Lodwick.
Lodwick already was at the front of the chase pack halfway through the first of five laps on the 2-kilometer course in and around Brent Romick Rodeo Arena at the foot of Howelsen Hill.
He quickly dumped that group, leading teammate Eric Camerota away from the pack, before eventually running down, to no one’s surprise, Reuschel.
Lodwick finished in 23 minutes, 35.6 seconds.
“Lodwick is very quick so I had no chance,” Reuschel said. “I’m very happy. Second best is very good.”
Reuschel finished about 40 seconds back, in 24:14. Germany’s Fabian Riessle made it two-of-three for his country on the podium with a remarkable third-place finish.
Riessle, fourth in Saturday’s competition, had the 31st best jump. He flew past all but two of those contenders, however, fighting in a pack that spent most of the race trying to track down Camerota.
They got him on the final lap and he finished 10th.
The Germans had two more in the top seven, with Manuel Faisst in fifth and Wolfgang Boesl in seventh.
Local United States athletes early in their careers fared well in the 52-competitor event.
Nick Hendrickson was 16th, Erik Lynch 29th, Brett Denney 31st, Cliff Field 36th, Adam Loomis 44th, Michael Ward 46th, Aleck Gantick 47th and Spencer Knickerbocker 51st.
All but Hendrickson and Knickerbocker ski for the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
“It was a great event, fantastic,” said club Nordic combined director Todd Wilson, instrumental in Steamboat playing host to the event. “It’s always worth it. The big highlight for us was to see guys like Cliff Field and Erik Lynch score Continental Cup points for the first time. It’s so valuable for us to bring this event to Steamboat.”
Bryan Fletcher leads US at World Cup in Lillehammer
Steamboat skiers shined on Nordic combined’s relatively small stage and Bryan Fletcher helped ensure Ski Town USA would look good on the big one, as well.
Fletcher nailed down his second strong Nordic combined World Cup showing in as many days Sunday, finishing 26th in an event at Lillehammer.
France’s Jason Lamy-Chappuis won while Fletcher led the American contingent. Fletcher finished 1:16 back, but actually gained ground on the Olympic gold medalist during the cross-country race.
Billy Demong was 38th at the event, and Taylor Fletcher was 48th.
It was a nice day for Bryan Fletcher but still not what the team has in mind for the season.
“It was a little better but definitely not up to our expectations,” U.S. Nordic combined coach Chris Gilbertson said in a press release. “Bryan jumped OK, Billy jumped better, but not where we expect him to be.
“As far as the cross-country race, we thought we would be skiing faster and we’re still trying to figure it out. We thought coming out of the final camp in Park City we would be faster. It’s definitely a little frustrating.”
Nordic Excavating FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup
- Todd Lodwick 23:35.6
- Sebastian Reuschel 24.14.2
- Fabian Riessle 24.19.3
- Joergen Graabak 24.20.3
- Manuel Faisst 24:21.8
- Harald Lemmerer 24.26.9
- Wolfgang Boesl 24:30.5
- Tobias Kammerlander 24:34.8
- Aldo Leetoja 24:36.2
- Eric Camerota 24:37.1
- Marco Pichlmayer 24:39.9
- Markus Foerster 24:41.9
- Geoffrey LaFrage 24:42.1
- Carlos Kammerlander 24:53.4
- Johannes Firn 24:53.6
- Nick Hendrickson 24:54.5
- Nicolas Martin 24:56.3
- Shun Yamamoto 24:58.8
- Florian Pinel 25:01.1
- Samuel Guy 25:03.4
- Ivan Panin 25:03.5
- Volodymyr Trachuk 25:06.1
- Wesley Savill 25:06.8
- Kail Piho 25:07.3
- Sergej Maslennikov 25:07.9
- Robert Hauser 25:10.5
- Dimitry Matveev 25:12.7
- Johannes Weiss 25:12.7
- Erik Lynch 25:20.3
- Reruhi Shimizu 25:27.1
- Brett Denney 25:41.1
- Steffen Tepel 25:41.3
- Mark Schlott 25:47.4
- Benjamin Kreiner 25:49.0
- Truls Soenstehagen 25:47.4
- Cliff Field 25:54.9
- Konstantin Voronin 26:19.0
- Dominik Dier 26:26.8
- Tomas Matura 26:31.1
- Mikke Leinonen 26:36.7
- Lukas Havranek 26:37.0
- Ales Vodsedalek 26:53.5
- Sebastien Dandurand 27:11.6
- Adam Loomis 27:14.3
- Jussi Salo 27:16.2
- Michael Ward 27:21.7
- Aleck Gantick 27:24.0
- Jesse Jaeaeskelaeinen 28:04.6
- Chanon Pretorius 28:13.5
- Viktor Pasichnyk 29:52.0
- Spencer Knickerbocker 29:59.9