When I was bracing to leave the starting gate in Aforni Voltri, Italy a couple of weeks ago the last the thing the announcer said, in broken English, was “Here starts Russell Currier from Presque Isle. He is good skier, but not very good shooter.” He was wrong about the Presque part and it always annoys me when people claim that I'm from anywhere else but Stockholm. In his defense though I can't say that the shooting has been my strong point over the years. So you can imagine how I felt a week later when I cleaned a world cup on an exceptionally windy day.
|This is Nove Mesto|
The rumors were true. The wind was strong but somewhat consistent. It would occasionally snow and no one had seen the sun in days. The snow skied the way I would imagine skiing on a sponge might feel like. In other words it was slow conditions. The race officially started at 14:30. Representing bib 103, my race didn't start until about 3:30 in the afternoon. I glanced at the top 10 on the result board and saw at least one miss per name.
The legs felt good despite the 20km two days prior. Given the slow conditions I upped the tempo a little bit to adapt. The wind died down enough to take three clicks left and one up. I dodged the penalty loop in prone and headed back out on course. The bulk of the difficulty other athletes were having was in standing. I was excited to have cleaned prone but the real test was going to be standing.
|And here we have Antholz.|
Aside from having to go through drug testing for the second time that day (the first time was for blood control) it was one long glamor trip for the remaining day. The congratulatory comments were flooding in from people I've known for years and other never known before. Later on in the evening my escort to the award ceremonies showed up. It was the BMW Xdrive that you see parked at every WC venue. After some hang out time with the other top six men and women we all got called up on stage. The whole experience was overwhelming and if it were not for some extra melatonin I don't think I would have fallen asleep that night.
|This just seemed like the best move at the time.|