February 15, 2009

Back "home"

Out on a ski in the mountains (Alps) above the Antholz venue.

The IBU Cup and World Championship Team trials are over, and though I had some great results in Europe, I just missed making the World Champ Team. I was upset not to make the team, but my results proved that I had made a huge jump since last year, and being so close to making the team made me feel really good about where I am.

After the IBU Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, I was able to go to the Antholz, Italy World Cup as an alternate. I was not able to race, but it was an invaluable experience to see a World Cup live. I got to see how things run and what the stadium is really like on race day, which was fantastic. I feel that now when I get the chance to compete in a World Cup, I will not be as surprised on unprepared as I would have been having never seen one.

The view from our hotel in Antholz.

Looking back into the stadium from out on course in Antholz.

I then headed back "home" to Lake Placid. It was nearly three weeks from when I got back until the next North American Cup race, so it was a good chance to put in some solid training. The snow has been fantastic, so we were able to have some very high quality workouts. We also competed in the Cross Country SuperTour race in Stowe, VT last weekend, which was a fun and different break from biathlon racing. It was definitely interesting going back to a Nordic race, having not done one for over a year, but I enjoyed it, and the biathlon group did well. Susan Dunklee was 7th, I was 9th, Bethann Chamberlain was 10th and Jen Wygant was 17th in a field of 173 skiers.

This weekend was the Lake Placid NorAm Cup race, but things didn't go off as planned. Though we've had great snow until now, the weather picked this week to start being uncooperative. With warm temperatures Sunday through Wednesday, and rain Tuesday night and Wednesday, the race organizers decided to cancel the NorAm as scheduled. Despite the range being completely gone (it was a big puddle on Wednesday that turned into an ice sheet on Friday), they were able to pull off a club race. The courses were a bit modified, but with lots of shoveling by volunteers, the range and course ended up in fairly decent shape.

I had decent races, finishing third both days. In the sprint on Saturday, I felt a little flat skiing, like I hadn't raced in a while. Then in the pursuit format today (Sunday), my skiing came together, but my shooting was off. It was a good weekend to get things back on track and get back into that race mode.

Next weekend it's off to Presque Isle for the NorAm there. It sounds like there's plenty of snow up there, so hopefully the weather cooperates and we can hold the NorAm this week!

A video from the Antholz World Cup sprint race of Andrea Henkel (GER) shooting. She cleans: the crowd loves it!

**Update: This post was supposed to go up a week ago, I'm not sure what happened. Anyway, the Presque Isle races went well, despite the small number of racers. I was 1st in the sprint race on Saturday and 2nd in the mass start on Sunday. I'm now in Fort Kent training for the week and then will be heading back to Lake Placid for another round of training. More details to come, stay tuned! ~Sara