MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – In just over a month, Red Bull’s Crashed Ice will return to St. Paul. Athletes will fly down the icy, quarter mile track at speeds reaching 40 miles per hour.

Training can take months and the recent December warm up, when temperatures reached the 50s, is having an impact on how athletes are getting ready for the competition.

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Every athlete knows practice is the key to competition. That’s why Cameron Naasz and Thomas Mertz spend their time training at 3rd Lair Skate Park.

“I’ve been training for last four or five months pretty hard,” Cameron Naasz, a Red Bull Crashed Ice athlete, said.

“You try to prep as much as you can and, hopefully, it goes well,” Thomas Mertz, a Red Bull Crashed Ice athlete, said.

On Saturday, the two were on rollerblades, but their preferred sport requires a different type of skate.

They’re prepping for the upcoming Red Bull Crashed Ice event in St. Paul.

Mertz hopes to qualify for the competition, Naasz wants to improve on his third place world ranking.

“It would be nice to bump up a couple of spots,” Naasz said.

In past years, Crashed Ice athletes looked for ways to train outside.

Many snowboard, skate on outdoor rinks and some even build their own mini crashed ice courses.

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But, this year is different.

“Usually, guys have been building permanent tracks in their back yards and skating outdoors, but we don’t have that this year,” Naasz said.

Warm weather made outdoor preparation nearly impossible.

“Every year we have to get creative and try to find new ways to prepare for this,” Naasz said.

As they skate over the jumps and ramps, this type of practice could ultimately help Naasz and Mertz during the competition.

Many of 3rd Lair’s obstacles mirror elements of the actual track,

“You can be a great flat ice skater but it doesn’t transfer to the track,” Mertz said.

Crashed Ice is an outdoor sport, but finding the way to win may happen indoors.

“There’s ways to get ready for it, but I think there’s going to be nerves for everyone probably,” Mertz said.

The first qualifying round for Crashed Ice will take place Sunday at the Xcel Energy Center.

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The actual competition will be Jan. 22 through 24 in St. Paul.