March 11, 2011

One Windy Day in Khanty...

When I set my goal of having fun and staying relaxed in the Individual race and World Championships, I could not have know how tough that would be. After days of sunny, breezy weather, we awoke on Wednesday to a blizzard with gale force wind gusts...not ideal for a shooting race such as the 15km. I kept my mind off the weather, however, realizing that everyone would have to deal with the wind and it was not worth stressing about. As the day went on, the wind calmed slightly...meaning there was less danger of mats blowing was still quite windy. At zero, though, I realized there were moments of predictable wind, and with a good zero, I was confident I could wait for the breaks and still shoot well. While some women went ahead and shot their normal cadence, my plan to wait and risk spending more time in the range worked out well. I hit 18 of the 20 shots and skied a fantastic last loop to a 17th place finish. Only one woman shot clean and one had only 1 miss, making 10 people of 93 finishers who shot 90% or better-something unheard of in an Individual race where the shooting is so important. I was ecstatic with my result and my effort. It was a tough day and I was pleased to have been able to overcome the elements and give myself a great World Champs race to remember.

Heading out for a classic ski to enjoy the sun the day after the Individual race.

Now the US women are looking forward to the relay on Sunday. After the men's 6th place performance today, we are pretty excited to see what we can put together. It will be a fun way to end the 2011 World Champs...then it's off to Oslo for one last World Cup. We're on the home stretch now...

Lowell Bailey and the rest of the men's relay field in the first leg.

The men at the flower ceremony after their 6th place performance. Congrats guys!

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