January 12, 2009

Playing Catch-Up

It's been a while since I've written. A lot has happened, so I'll try and do a quick catch-up of the last couple months.


After returning to the training center after the October camp, training continued as usual. We didn't have any snow and abundant rain and sand on the roads that made rollerskiing difficult. It was a lot of running and treadmill rollerski interval workouts before we finally left for West Yellowstone after Thanksgiving. Unfortunately, West Yellowstone did not have any snow in town either. After successfully driving up to the plateau for a couple days of great skiing, the road was closed by the Forest Service and we were in a tight spot. There was much diliberation amongst the USBA coaches as to what to do. Move the NorAm's? Wait for snow? Try to make it work for a few more days? In the end, the NorAm's were moved, and we were out of there a week early. I love skiing in West, and so was sad to leave, but hiking the 3.5 hour round-trip up the the plateau to ski just wasn't worth it. In the end, it was a good thing we left because they didn't end up getting significant snow until mid-December.


Once we arrived in Minnesota for what was now to be two weekends of racing (5 races total), we encountered an entirely different problem-cold. Though we were thankful for the great snow and got some really good training in during the first week we were there, it was freezing! The first race (a 7.5km Sprint race) went off despite a short delay due to temperatures and an ever increasing blizzard, but the second race was cancelled due to forcasted friggid weather. When we awoke that morning, it was -30F, so no one was complaining about not having to go outside. Temperatures warmed a little, but the next three races were still pretty cold. We ended up having one more delay, but things went pretty smoothly consudering the adverse conditions. I had a couple of good races, my best being the third race-a Pursuit style, which I won by a margin of 50 seconds. Zach also had some good results, winning the first Sprint race as well as the final race-a windy and cold Mass Start. Because of our results in Minnesota, both Zach and I qualified for the IBU Cup Team and began to get psyched for racing in Germany and the Czech Republic in January.

A cold late afternoon ski out on a lake in Minnesota. (photo: Zachary Hall)

Carolyn Bramante and I on the podium at the Mt. Itasca Sprint race.

We spent a little over a week in Boise for Christmas. It was nice to have a break from focusing so intensly on biathlon, not to mention how nice it was to finally see double digit temperatures! But it was a short break, and soon we were headed back to Lake Placid for three days and then off to Germany!

Getting ready for our big Christmas Eve Smorgasbord.

My brother and I enjoying the snow in Sun Valley.


So here we are in Altenberg, Germany, finally caught up! We just finished the first weekend of racing here, and though I had some ups and some downs, I have been learning a ton from racing here, and really enjoying the whole experience. The level of racing here at the IBU (International Biathlon Union) Cups is so much higher than anything we have in the US. It is really good to see this level in order to get a better idea of just how fast I have to be in order to be competitive. I definitely have some work to do, but it's not impossible.

The stadium in Altenberg-what a crowd! (photo: Zachary Hall)

Heading to the finish in Altenberg. (photo: Gary Colliander)

After the races in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic next weekend, they will name three women and one man to the World Championship Team that will head to World Cup #6 in Antholz, Italy and then on to Pyeong Chang, South Korea. I need to have a couple more good races in order to qualify, so I'll be working on making every second and every shot count. Wish me luck!

Auf Wiedersehen!