A Jack Of All Trades

Posted by Timothy Ziegler on Mar 10th 2022

A Jack Of All Trades

Welcome back Ski Post readers! For those of you who missed the Ski Post article two weeks ago, I’ll give you all a quick run down on what you can expect from this segment. If you did miss that article, consider giving it a read- I can guarantee there is plenty of great content to enjoy! To recap, while forejumping for Ski Jumping Olympic Team Trials on Christmas Day, I had a very unfortunate crash which resulted in a Lisfranc displacement fracture in my left foot, meaning that my two big foot bones were no longer being held together, and I had to undergo surgery to screw those two bones back together in hopes of either coaxing the ligament back into place, or forming a bone bridge between the bones. This segment and others in the future, which will be updates throughout the healing process, is not only a live documentation of how I go about recovering from a season-ending injury and all the steps in between, but is also a way for me to talk about all the fun things I get to do while I can’t ski, like simultaneously becoming a race bystander, assistant wax tech, cheering squad captain, and part time biathlete.

Since my last article, a decent amount has occurred in both the recovery of my foot, but also with the Paul Smith’s College Nordic season. Just after the last article, we had a race at Gore Mountain in New York for our Regional Championships, which had all kinds of interesting happenings and shenanigans. The first event of the weekend began when the last of the three vans pulled down the steep driveway to the rental house, parking directly in front of one of the other vans to make unloading a bit easier. After taking the first round of bags inside, it was realized that the keys had been left in the cupholder of the van, and it just so happened that the doors all locked when they had been closed only a minute before. After nearly sliding the van that wasn’t blocked in into one of the other vans while trying to get up the hill to go back to campus and get a spare key, we realized that driving that van wasn’t a viable option, and that it would take some thinking to get the van open. It was figured out thankfully, and we were then free to bring in the rest of the bags from the van.

Now, as anyone who’s traveled with a team of teenagers or college students knows, having Wi-Fi in your team accommodations is just about the most important thing to most of them, for things like social media, homework, and so on. As such, most of the team was bummed when it was announced that the router went down and wasn’t connecting even after being reset multiple times. Granted, we were able to survive without internet for the night, but it was a bit of an inconvenience because the start lists for the race the following morning hadn’t been posted yet. This led to Coach Matt and a few team members going on an adventure into town in the newly freed van only to find out that in addition to the internet being down, the cell tower for the surrounding area was down as well. After driving further and finding cell service at last, they looked for the start list and found… that it hadn’t been posted yet. Upon their return, it was decided that since they barely got out of the steep, slippery driveway, it made sense to dump out the sand bags that would otherwise be used to weight down the tent in a sacrifice that meant the rear-wheel drive vans could reliably get up the hill the next morning.

The next day was probably the most eventful of the two race days; to sum it up, it began with coach getting there four hours early, us getting there two and a half hours early, testing binders, kick, and liquid glide, finding waxes that worked an hour and a half before the start, suddenly getting about two inches of wet fluff on top of the icy base, having to go back to square one on wax selection, and then finally finding something that worked well enough about 20 minutes before the first skiers went out. Needless to say, it was a very stressful morning. Once started, the classic sprints went well, people had fun skiing and I had fun cheering as loud as I could from the sidelines. The weather that day was another story though. It fluctuated between beautiful, clear bluebird skies, and near whiteout conditions with high winds that would blow for 30 seconds, and then die for half an hour. In one of the biggest gusts of the day, which coincidentally blew straight into the finishing chute during the men’s semi-final, our tent got picked up and blew well into the parking lot, and our big team flag came off the pole and flew directly into one of the other team’s coaches. Needless to say, after a day of struggling to find the wax, racing, and lots of wind and snow, people were ready to get back to the house for a hot shower and some rest.

Unfortunately for us, the thermostat in the house was a Smart Home thermostat, which is very convenient, if you have internet. The problem was that nowhere in the surrounding area had internet yet, and for this reason the thermostat wasn’t working, which meant the house was probably around 50 degrees when we got back, and to top it off the water heater wasn’t working either. Thankfully after a while the internet was restored, and following a few phone calls, some people came and fixed the thermostat and water heater issue, and people were finally able to end the day with a nice shower and some amazing lasagna.

The following morning was much less stressful than the day previous, if for no other reason than it was a skate day, and so all that had to be applied was some liquid race wax, and skis were all set to go for the day. In addition to my cheering duties, I was also given camera privileges by one of my teammates who thought it would be beneficial for me to try my somewhat experienced hand at photography in addition to cheering. I’d like to think that I got at least a few good pictures, and I made sure to use my full lung capacity to ensure the loudest cheering possible for my teammates.

All in all, our men’s team won not only the sprints, but also the skate race, and claimed the first ever Regional Champions title for Paul Smith’s College. Our women’s team also won the sprints, and placed second for the skate race, as well as a solid second overall, just one point shy of the first place team. I think that racing weekend was a terrific mixture of unfortunate situations paired with good results, and I’m so proud to be part of this amazing and resilient team which has so many fantastic people that I’m glad to call my teammates. I’m very excited for next year when I’ll hopefully be back to full strength and will be able to add some points of my own to the team totals.

After such a crazy race weekend, I headed back down to Boston where I originally got surgery to get the temporary dressings off my foot and the stitches out. It was a very weird sensation, being able to kind of feel surroundings that aren’t a stable boot, yet the sensation of touch doesn’t quite feel right for the first day or so. It was also to my surprise when they asked me to pull my foot up towards me, and then push it down away from me, as when I did so I felt like I was about to break something and have to get surgery all over again. It was then explained that the way my bones were screwed together, it didn’t matter what I flexed and exercised, so long as I wasn’t putting weight directly on the foot. Dorsi flexion, foot pronators, and leg strength exercises were all deemed as fine to do, so long as I didn’t put any weight on it. This was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders, as I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to do anything strenuous for months to come, and so I was extremely relieved and excited to hear that I can begin getting back my muscle almost right away. I was also informed that if everything looked good in a standing X-Ray when I came back in three weeks, that I would be allowed to move into a walking boot at that time, which was another point that made me ecstatic to hear.

Be on the lookout for more follow ups to this story- I’m sure that with USCSA Nationals coming up right here in Lake Placid, NY next week that I’ll have some great stories to tell, and I’m very excited to be able to start doing workouts to build back all the muscle lost in the two months of not being able to much of anything aerobically intensive for two months.