Monday, January 30, 2012


         The sprint and pursuit are done and over here at the Open European Champs. Otherwise known as U26s. I can't say I've done as well as I wanted to but neither race was all that bad either. This is my first time racing in Slovakia. Until now I only had stories and rumors to based this place off of. The hotel is adequate, the food is hit or miss, and it's kind of cold outside.
        I took my time in prone during the sprint. I escaped with only one miss. Standing has been my go to in confidence lately so I was convinced it was going to be a good day. Low and behold I miss my first two targets. I certainly hit my last three in a commanding fashion, but the damage was already done. I didn't feel spectacular on skis. There are some transitions on the second half of the course that I just wasn't hitting very well. At the end of the day I was 27th. I was surprised that I snagged with the 7th fastest ski time.
       And then came the pursuit. My focus was resettled and I was ready for a better day. This time around I was going to be smarter with pacing tactics. Admittedly I didn't do a very good job with that one in Nove Mesto. The course profile was a little more comfortable to work with and our skis were clearly some of the best in the field. It all came down to shooting. Which was again mediocre. I took one miss in my first stage and another two in my second prone. This is not what I needed. Thankfully I kept my head on straight and didn't melt down in standing. Missing my last target in standing has been a reoccurring theme this season. This theme was present on my first standing.  Conversely I proceeded to miss my first target of my second standing. I kept it together and hit the next four, but left the range with no clean stages. I wasn't showing any modesty on the two large climbs just out of the stadium. In fact, I'll go as far to say that I made some of the other athletes look like they were touring. This tactic came in handy on the last loop when I was 28th. For the first time in a long time I was not going to finish behind my bib number in a pursuit. I passed a few more people before the final stretch and held them off across the finish line. I moved up from 27th to 24th. That's not much but I did move up for a change.
         The internet is sparse but I was able to get this update out with out having to travel too far from my room. That's more than Italy can claim. The sun has been out every day. Nevertheless this has been the coldest race series of Europe yet this season. It's not brutally cold, but a few extra degrees warmer could go a long way. The food is pretty much pork with some kind of fried potato or rice all rapped up in a greasy sauce. Yesterday we were served a plate of this sweet rice and fruit deal. This was after having a jam filled pancake like lunch. Maybe they do get the full spectrum of food, just in more concentrated periods. It should also be said that the showers suck, for lack of a better term. The water heater is located right above the bath tub and there is no holster for the shower head. So you have to take your showers with strategy.
         I'm still stoked just to be on the circuit. That's more than I say about this time last year. Some real results would have been nice this weekend. That's why I'm looking forward to tomorrow. I still have once more chance to really light it up. I never make any promises on results, but I can confirm that I'll put up a good effort. 
I think I need a better camera. Nothing comes out the way I envision it to.

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