January 18, 2008


What a stark contrast from Germany, and an even starker contrast from the US! Slovakia has been an interesting experience so far. (above: a view of the trail, surrounding hills and (lack of) snow)

Our hotel is very nice, and the meals have been good. Luckily, nothing too out of the ordinary in the food category. Normally I'd be all for trying local fare, but when you are racing, it's best not to test your system too much. The most notable difference has been the lack of vegetables except at breakfast where there is a plethora of greens. It seems the Slovaks don't like salad, except at 8am. We've been sticking with yogurt, cereal and eggs.

The area where we are staying and racing is tough to describe. It is a mix of Soviet era housing and infrastructure, and modern improvements. Minus the large oil pipeline going through the town between our hotel and the venue, there does not seem to be much going on. It really seems like a step back in time to the Soviet era. The weather has been cloudy and rainy and dark, making things look even more depressing than they really are. Strangely enough, this area appears to have many summer or vacation homes that are boarded up right now, and even a couple of alpine ski areas. Possibly in the summer things pick up a bit. I imagine the weather is better then anyway.

Today we raced the sprint race. My shooting did not improve, with four penalties total, but my skiing was good. I was passing a lot of people on the course and ended up with a definite improvement from last week. Tomorrow is the pursuit, and I'm very excited since I've never done a true pursuit (the pursuit in Canada was standardized to 5 second intervals, here you start however far back from the winner you actually were). I will start about 4 minutes back and am hoping to be able to move up a few places. I'm realizing that shooting is just going to take time. I have all the elements, but getting the race experience to gain consistency and confidence is going to be a big part of this season. Then, we get to race a relay on Sunday which should be very fun.

On Tuesday, I will most likely be heading back to the US and the NorAm circuit. Although I am very pleased with my races here, they have not been good enough to earn me a spot on the World Championship Team. I am excited, though, to head back to the NorAm races. It's been a good experience here, but getting back to more training before some more racing will be nice.

The more gradual of the two road bridges on the course, looking up the valley we race in. To the right is the range and to the left is the first picture.

January 15, 2008

Germany and Slovakia

I was hoping to be better about posting while abroad, but unfortunately the circumstances have kept me from posting. While our hotel in Germany was very quaint and nice, it did not have wireless. So we were stuck using the lobby computer for quick email checks only. So I'll try and give a quick update.

Our hotel (above) was located in the town of Böbrach, about a 20-25min drive from the Langdorf venue. It was a great place to stay; we ate in the dinning room there and the meals were delicious. The venue was great too. The courses were tough, and the conditions were soft-especially since the women raced in the afternoon. The individual race went fairly well for me. I felt that I skied well, and though my standing shooting didn't go as well as I had hoped, my prone was excellent. The sprint race also went ok. Again, I struggled some in my shooting, missing one prone and three standing, but my skiing was good. In the race break-down I had the 20th fastest lap time for my last lap, which I was very excited about.

Both days I was down near the end of the results, but I learned a great deal in both races. Getting international experience in front of big crowds and with very competitive field (many of the women racing had raced the World Cup circuit earlier this year), is really what is important.

Yesterday we drove from Germany to Slovakia. Our hotel is just outside of the town of Brezno and about 25 minutes from Osrblie where the venue is. The courses don't look quite as tough as Langdorf (which is nice), but challenging none-the-less. I'm really looking forward to this weekend. Hopefully now with a couple European races under my belt I can improve on my results from last weekend. Regardless, I plan on racing my hardest and enjoying every minute of this wonderful opportunity.

January 6, 2008

Nearly Off

So, we're packed and ready to head down to Albany tonight for an early flight tomorrow morning. After a long day in the Atlanta airport, we'll be on our way to Munich, Germany. I'm really excited to be on my way. Big races and great experiences are just around the corner, and I am so ready.

January 5, 2008

Getting Ready

I've been back in Lake Placid for about a week now, training and getting ready to head to Europe on Monday. It's been great to get back in the groove of full-time training and get a good block in before heading off for the Europa Cups. Being home for Christmas was great, but there's something about the training center that makes everything seem very focused (I guess that's the point).

We've been enjoying great skiing here; there's a ton of snow. And although the temperatures were frigid on Thursday, making inside training a must, we've been getting in some good skiing and shooting work. Exploring the trails at Mt. Van Hoevenberg has also been fun.

We leave on Monday, so packing is just beginning-the project for the day. We've been slowly inching out way towards Central European time, even a couple hours of adjustment will make things easier once we get there. We arrive in Munich on Tuesday morning and race on Saturday, so there's a quick turn around and anything we can do to ease the transition is a good thing. I'm getting really excited to leave. It's going to be a great experience and I can't wait to race in this biathlon-loving environment.