Well I hope you were watching because that was a very exciting pursuit race this past weekend. Both the mens and womens race were TV friendly. It was an okay experience for me. The whole weekend was close to something great. I don't care what the other guys think, Nove Mesto is alright. Kind of reminds me of home occasionally. I wish I could say the racing was alright to but a few glitches got in the way, such as my start group in the sprint or my shooting in the pursuit, but it sure could be worse. Here is a brief run down of the the racing for me thus far.
Shooting and ski speed were looking better leading up to Saturday. I really wanted to prove this in the sprint. For the most part I did. However this is only after you take into account the post bib 80 start group. There were a lot a starters that day as it's world champs and rules differ. The snow didn't hold up to the numbers and by the time I started the snow was mashed up and in general slower. There was more than one part that I found myself choosing the less than optimum line because the best line of trail was in worse shape. So in the end ski rank overall wasn't much to wright home about, but giving the circumstances I was satisfied. It was also pleasing to see my last loop ranked 25th fastest. I almost made it out of prone with only one miss, but that last one didn't go down and I had to fight off two penalty loops. After shooting like that you really need to have your act together for standing. I can proudly say that I cleaned standing. It felt good to just leave the range and go for it on that last loop. I didn't make it into the points, but came close with a 44th place.
The pursuit was a rough day. Not nearly as grueling as not starting the pursuit as all, but still tough nonetheless. In terms of ski speed there are too many variables to look at to really point any fingers. With drafting and the difference in athlete level varying from the lead pack to back of the field, tactics and good rides make for a very limiting factor in ski speed. I had a few good rides here and there, but most of them were there because they were shooting well. I'm also not convinced skis were spectacular. I wasn't gaining time on the downhills and with the standard that our wax team has set I've come to expect that to happen. As I said there are too many angles to look at and over analyzing it doesn't help. It wasn't that bad either, 1:15 out from Fourcade isn't too shabby. Shooting was bad. There's no debating that one. After taking three misses in the first prone, I would have needed to almost cleaned the next three stages. This isn't the best mind set to have in that situation, but overriding that sub conscious notion of fear is a tough one.
So not the weekend I was hoping for, but still good for some hope going into the individual. Lowell had a stellar race finishing 13th with his first ever clean four stage WC race. It only took 31 years. The four km course has a very nice flow to it and lets not forget, anything in possible. The womens race is tomorrow and the men on Thursday. It's another evening race It will be a long day for the athletes and staff so I hope you're happy central Euro TV viewers! Wish me luck. It's World Champs!
Almost forgot to add: Pole basket was stepped on leaving the rage after the last standing. Had to turn around and grab that one. Might have broken the “Zone of Silence” range rule. This was somewhat compensated for by the Belorussian not hearing me sprinting up next to him on the finishing stretch. By the time he realized he wasn't alone on the glory stretch it was too late and I moved up a spot.
Managed to snag a few good pictures this past week. Will hopefully get some more gems before Sunday and lob them up in one update again.