Monday, December 10, 2012

Hochfilzen

       Behold the internet in all it's glory! Das Interweb auf Hochfilzen was almost nowhere to be found. It's 2012! Wireless ins't in diapers anymore. What I'm trying to say is that I haven't been able to update the old blog due to poor connections speeds. This is me trying to play catch up on my adventures in "Snow"filzen, Austria.
Left the flash on and it turned out alright.
        The travel day from Ostersund to Hochfilzen wasn't all that bad. Most of our bags made it and there wasn't too much for shenanigans in general. Somehow, through all this success I managed to get sick. Not sure where or how, but there is simply no escape from the common cold. I could feel it coming on Tuesday morning. By mid afternoon I was in full blown lock down mode. I ran through the normal battery of methods to bum rush the cold out. Don't ask me what these were. Let's just say I was the annoying one with a thermos looking for hot water at every meal. If I can muster up the motivation someday, I'll list the details on dealing with being sick. The point is, I wasn't going to let this set back get in the way of the sprint race on Friday.
        Friday was overcast and somewhat cold. I say it was cold, but my fingers maintained enough circulation to feel the trigger. So by that logic is wasn't really cold at all. The plan was to focus on good trigger squeeze. If I think about that perfect text book trigger pressure progression leading up to the shot then I won't have the time to focus on the pressure of trying to hit the targets. Makes sense right? The legs felt fine and mostly unphased from being sick. My face still had that congealed knot feeling but those fight or flight beta endorphins can go a long way when they need to. While I made it out of prone with no more than one penalty I might have as well missed another one with my range time. My normally slick bolt was sticky and lead me over eject a round. I went into my spare rounds to hit that last target. I was determined to keep my head screwed on straight for standing. The goal was successful if you only count the first four shots. Unfortunately I folded and took another penalty on the last shot of the day. Ski speed wasn't stellar, but was decent. Two penalties ins't terrible but my range time sure was. At the end of the day I was tied with 56th, narrowly making it into the pursuit.
       Despite a race the day prior I woke up feeling slightly better for the pursuit. I was one step closer to being done and over with the obnoxious cold. It was supposed to snow that day like it always does at least once in Hochfilzen. Surprisingly it held off and was even warmer than the day before. Pursuits, relays and mass starts are a different race from the ski speed side. If you're in a group and there isn't anyone ahead of you for a ways, don't bother leaving the group. More likely than not it will only make it worse. I hate having to hold back, but I hate bad results even more. Some parts felt like sprinting while others had me standing up to break wind. Overall ski speed was the best it could have been that day. Not great, but in the mix for where I was. Shooting was much better. After taking two in the first stage I came back with a clean. From there I had one miss in each standing stage. 80% isn't as great as it used to be, but it's a step in the right direction after Ostersund. I moved up a spot or two and was generally please with the result. On another note Lowell managed to work his way into the top 10!
       I was stoked to find that I would be the third leg in the relay on Sunday. I hadn't done a relay since U26s in 2011. Relays tend to favor fast shooters so you can see why I'm not always the top pick. It was cold and dry when we tested skis. We all went with a cold grind. My cold grind was undoubtedly the faster ski in my choices, but the flex was a little on the soft end. Gara and I decided the four grind was the best choice even if it was on the soft end. Tim tagged off to me in no mans land. There was one athlete a ways up and one not too far behind, but with no draft it was a lone race. Missing your first shot in prone isn't easy to cope with, but I was able to hit the last four and only use one extra. Standing was a different story. Instead of missing my first shot I missed the last one... again. This is worse than missing the first. It took me two extra to knock it down. Some better focus going into that potential five for five clean could have made the difference  Instead, I made the classic mistake of thinking about the result. I gave the team behind me enough room to stay ahead of me on the last loop. It wasn't a great day for the US team, but a decent one for me. For the first time in my relay history I had the best shooting on the team! Lowell had to tag out due what we found out to be a broken toe. Thankfully Jay was able take up the last leg.



Hochfilzen: Where renegade shooting ranges show up in the back country fields  
       Overall it was much better weekend than my time in Ostersund. The speed wasn't on top. On the other hand, I did race semi sick in the middle of December. World champs are in February, so the racing season is still in diapers. Aside from the Wednesday training day there wasn't much for the Snowfilzen blizzard. A fair race is usually hard to come by around there. The rooms were nice, and the food was great. Internet, not so much. The fresh honey comb for breakfast every morning help compensate though. Now I'm in my room in Bled, Slovenia with the wireless router blazing right in front of me.
     

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