Yesterday was the sprint race for world championships here in Rupholding. It certainly wasn't my best race yet- that one is getting hard to compete with. Unfortunately it wasn't even close. On the other hand atleast I know how it turned out rather than having to sit it out and only wonder how it could have gone. With the way I felt a few days prior sitting out seemed pretty likely.
I still don't know what I came down with. The results should be done by now, but everyone has been so busy we haven't had the time to discuss them. I was pretty much immobilized for four days. I was only able to stomach some cookies and orange juice in between laying helplessly on my bed. It was not looking good or at least not until Thursday. I'm not sure what went right for a change but it sure did the trick. I woke up ready to go. If this is a virus I'm glad it decided to take a break let me get on with my life just in time for the parts that matter.
The last time I raceed in Rupolding was back in 2008. I thought this would good enough for the sake of familiarity. I was wrong. This is pretty much a new venue. It may look nice on TV, but make no mistake this is not my favorite place to race. I don't much care for the layout. It isn't terrible, but it's not the best I've ever seen. I had a hard time finding my way around and everything feels crammed, oh and our wax room is way too small for this caliber on event. These are of course only minor complaints. The real clutch is the course. How can so many things
go wrong in only 3.3 km? The weather is warm. Too warm if you can believe it. This destroys any chance of a groomed shape retention for the snow. If they had a few more trees along the trail there might have been enough shade to at least help the problem. The profile isn't to my liking either. There is no gradual for those of us who like a little uphill V2 in our race. Everything is either a steep medium sized hill or flat. Oh and then there is the S turns. The ones everyone complained about last year. Apparently the organizers didn't care about the athletes opinion and kept to corner the way it was. On a last note I would like to mention that one of the "new" electronic targets malfunctioned during the mixed relay forcing Bjoerndalen into the penalty loop.
Aside from that last part, none of this makes for a justified excuse for a mediocre result. Which is exactly what I had. You see when the snow is soft and deep you can't really push as hard because you'll loose energy into the snow. Conversely, you can't really up the turn over because you'll waste energy digging your skis out of the slush. Solution? I don't really know. Maybe that is why I had such a poor ski time yesterday. I told the coaches afterwords that this is something we need to work on. The hard pack conditions are fine, but not the spring time racing conditions need some improvement. Shooting was nothing special. I missed my first target in prone. I'm stoked to say I hit the last four, because nothing's harder than trying to recover after a first shot miss. Standing was just bad focus. Someday's you're on and other days not so much. If you're Ricco Gross you were always on but that's not the case for me yet.