Wednesday, March 20, 2013

KHANTY MANSIYSK

  Once again the traveling circus finds it's self back in Siberia for the last hard effort before the hotly anticipated end of the season comes. To give you a reference of where Khanty it try looking it up on Google maps. ( https://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl ) For me it was one last chance to prove myself. And though that didn't happen I made the most out of the opportunity that I could  and have a little more WC experience under me.
The bridge under the Arch is part of the course. The square building in the middle is where we ate and I stayed on the fourth floor of the large building. 
        Khanty isn't know for it's warm and balmy weather. It hasn't been even remotely cold since the races Pojulka, Slovenia. Ostersund was the only racing that brought temperatures low enough to be an issue. That was back in December. After Olso and most of Sochi anything below -6 Celsius was going to feel cold. It was -18 for our first day of training. You can bet that my hands were cold and I was not enjoying this. All the racing and training was in the evening. I made it a point to stay up till at least 1:30 every night and sleep in as late as I could while still making it to breakfast. It made the racing feel more like an afternoon race.
       With enough glove liners I was able to fight off the numb finger problem that I always succumb to. I was the last man out in the sprint. The course was firm and wasn't falling apart. In fact when it gets that cold and dry it pretty much feels like skiing on styrofoam. There was no wind and lot of people were cleaning the race. I was hell bent on hitting those targets. They all went down in prone and I thought I was on to something. I wasn't about to play the wing it card for standing. I had to resettle more than once, but each one of those targets went down. You can bet this felt good. I did a double take just to make sure I didn't cross fire. The conditions were perfect, and Khanty is for sure in my personal top three for course profiles. I really thought it might finally be that good day I've been waiting for. Well... I thought wrong. I finishing 43rd with no mistakes. Where did I lose the time? Some of it was in ski speed. That's been the case all year sadly, but I lost most of the time on the range. Not in the penalty loop, but in trying to get the rounds down range. The time from when I land on the mat to when my poles are on and I'm back in the course was a significant factor. It was downright embarrassing. I knew I had taken my time, I always do, but come on! If I had shot 33 seconds in prone and 27 in standing (about average) then I could have skied off to penalty loops in the time it actually took me to hit all ten that day.  So there's another example of just how competitive this sport has become.

       The pursuit was nothing special. I didn't shoot very well and moved down because of it. It was snowing all day and seemed to start snowing even harder as the race progressed. Maybe I was just getting tired? I wasn't pleased with the race, but there was a minor sense of satisfaction crossing the finish line for the last time this season.
 
       The mass start was exciting to watch. Tim narrowly missed the podium. For the record he had been using my glove liners for these races. Just saying... All of the athletes and coaches were late to the closing ceremonies, because what do you expect when we all have to pack after a race that started at 6:30 in the evening. Nevertheless everyone made it and it was an entertaining evening. Now I'm sitting on a charter flight to Munich typing this one up. There is a lot of shenanigans that have to happen before I'm back on Donworth street, but compared to a few months ago I'm closer than ever. There was no such luck to be had in Khanty. I can't say I didn't try. Good results or not it's over and now I have a whole year to figure the sport out. Maybe I'll do a year in review later, for now I think our flight is going to land any hour now.

This is what the IBU does in it's spare time.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OuE7qAB_TrI#!

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