March 28, 2008

Canadian Nationals Day 1

Wow! It's been an amazing week here at Canadian Nationals so far. In addition to being able to ski at an absolutely breathtaking venue that will host the 2010 Olympic Games, I had a fantastic race on Thursday. The Individual race (15K with 4 shootings and 1 minute penalty for each miss instead of the usual 150m penalty loop) went very well. I was able to ski each loop a little faster than the previous and had only 3 penalties for the day, putting me into third place overall! It was definitely a great result for only having 1 year of focused biathlon training.

Leaving the range

Tomorrow is the sprint race, followed by a mixed relay on Sunday. Both should be great races, and I'm especially looking forward to the relay since I have never raced one before. We are all taking advantage of being able to train and race at this venue, but I must admit, I am looking forward to after the race on Sunday when the season will be over and vacation will start!

Close-up of prone shooting.

Women's Individual Podium!

Photos courtesy of Max Cobb. Check out more photos of US Biathletes in action at

March 25, 2008

Nationals Summary

Mass Start 2nd and 3rd place

US Nationals/NorAm Championships ended Saturday with the mass start competition. I had a good race with good shooting and skiing, despite a long week of racing. It was an exciting race, since it came down to the last lap.

Mass Starts are always exciting since you always know where you are and can often tell how other racers are doing. The first lap of the Nationals mass start was cool because the whole group of women pretty much stayed together, meaning we all entered the range at the same time. I had one penalty and left for the second loop with a small group of skiers, around 5th place. After clean shooting in the second prone stage I was just behind a couple skiers, and moving up in the standings. Standing shooting went well, as I had two penalties in the first stage and one in the second. By the last lap I had moved into 4th position, just behind third and within sight of second. I battled hard over the last 2.5K lap and took over 3rd position, and if the course had been another half kilometer I would have been able to catch 2nd place as well. It was a great race though, and very exciting to do well in the last domestic race of the season. Also, due to my races in Minnesota, I was able to take the NorAm Overall title for the 2008 season. It was a great first season as a full-time biathlete.

And it's not quite over! We are now just outside Vancouver, BC, Canada for Canadian National Championships at the 2010 Olympic venue. The area is amazingly beautiful, and the venue is fantastic. It's a great and inspiring opportunity to get to ski and race here now. It is the first large-scale biathlon events to be held at the Olympic venue, and so far everyone seems to really like the courses and the set-up. Some nationals team members are here, so I'm looking forward to spending time with some people I haven't seen all season. It's going to be fun to race here and end the season with such an exciting experience!

Range at the Olympic venue

March 22, 2008

US Nationals-2 down, 1 to go

The races at US Nationals are almost over. Today's Mass Start will finish off the competition and then we'll be off to Vancouver for Canadian Nationals. Overall I've been happy with my races so far. The courses here at Mt. Itasca, MN are in great condition and challenging, but very fun to ski. It's been fun to get to see some people who I haven't seen since the beginning of the season and get to race against a couple of World Championship team members.

Thursday was the 7.5K sprint race. I was pretty nervous going into the race and it took me the first lap to ski into the race. Clean shooting in prone and good skiing in laps two and three helped me to a 4th place finish (3rd American) despite three misses in standing.

Friday was the 10K pursuit format (a pursuit style start-based on our sprint results-but an individual result). I was in a much better place mentally for this race. I was very relaxed and ready going into the race so was able to ski well right from the beginning. I had only 1 prone penalty (in my first stage) and three standing (1 and 2) penalties. I ended up 3rd (2nd American), lossing out only to one World Championship team member and a former Belarusian world cup athlete. I also had the best shooting of the day, which I was very pleased with.

Today's Mass Start will wrap up competition here. I think my races thus far have been good, and hopefully I can end on a high note with the last race today!


US Women's Sprint Podium

March 10, 2008

NorAm 7 and Nationals Run-Up

It's been a while since I last wrote, so lets catch up. The last "regular season" NorAm in Valcartier, Quebec went well. Although the sprint race was difficult due to lots of new snow and some wind, it was a good experience. I missed quite a few shots, but learned a lot about how to better tell wind values so I can better adjust my sights for wind in the future. The pursuit race went much better. Despite arriving only an hour before the race (the organizers had moved the race up an hour without making sure every team knew) and having a rushed zero, I hit 17 of 20 and won by 2 minutes. Overall is was a good weekend, but I was definitely looking forward to a bit of a break afterwards.

A break was exactly what we got last week. With three days off and then some easy training and one interval session, I'm feeling much more rested this week. We're now gearing up for US Nationals/NorAm Championships and Canadian Nationals. We leave Lake Placid on Monday for Minnesota where we will race Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Then we head to Vancouver and race Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. All together, I'll race 6 races (58.5 kilometers) in 11 days. It's going to be a whirlwind, so getting some good training in and then some rest leading up to the races is important.

After Vancouver, we'll be done for the season and I'll be heading home to Boise for a little relaxation before heading back to Lake Placid and getting ready to start things all over again.