Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Sunshine and Brown Cheese


           Oslo you're not so bad. I was told Olso was a one of the nicer WC host and sure enough there was plenty of ground to back that up. I didn't have tI'm still on that good result verge. It's just a matter of getting to the better side. It may be the most expensive city in the world,
but that money doesn't go to waist.
        I don't have much at my disposal to complain about. The snow caked on to the bottom of my boots like no other. This put the panic levels higher than normal when the first starter went off in the pursuit and I'm picking at the bottoms of my boot in hopes of maybe clipping into my skis before my departure time. The distance between the start and the warmup loop was too far, I guess my room was too small... Yeah so there really isn't much to complain about.
       The list of "things done right" goes on. The food was by far the best of the season. Good variety, good quality, ready available buffet style, no sitting assignments, all the key factors were in place. Brown cheese is a Scandinavian mixture of cow and goat I believe. The weather was perfect, as in everyday. It was just above freezing during training and racing while well below enough at night to keep the snow conditions perfect. The sun was out the whole time. The view from the hotel entrance added nice touch. All this makes the down time and training uber convenient, but in terms of competitions the trail was also a gem. The profile had an appreciable feel to it. The hills were just the right pitch for me to race full bore in my comfort zone and the fast corners never posed a threat. And then there are the little things. They may seem meaningless to you but I can't help but notice them. The smell of waffles in the athlete cabins before the race almost made it hard to leave for zero. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who truly appreciated the theme to not only Ghost Busters but also Jurassic Park before the sprint race. I think Gladiator might have been in there somewhere to.
        Nevertheless we were not there for vocationally purposes.  The sprint race was an interesting one for more than one reason. With a sub 100 start list I was not mentally prepared to not make the pursuit. Don't worry, this didn't happen. I had a plan for prone and it almost worked. The folding targets of the Holmenkolen rage put up a a good fight against an incoming split bullet. The electronic targets of Antholz are a different story. I had two misses in prone and they were both on the edge low. In fact I distinctly remember hearing the first miss sound precisely the way a hit would sound. Was this bad luck? I took another miss in standing and wasn't feeling too good about my skiing.
       This is where things started going down the strange road. Despite the subtle wind, down hill approach, and clear sky the field as a whole took a drop off in shooting. Tim missed four and still scored WC points. Fourcade almost won with two misses. The last time I saw this happen was the relay in Antholz, but that had the fall back of excess fog on the range. This day in Olso was just unusual. The out come results for us were also unlikely. Lowell, Leif, and I all finished  with in three seconds of each other. 50, 51, and 52? There was going to be a US train out there on the course for the pursuit. Skiing was stronger than I thought. I lost the bulk of my time in prone. Range times can do a number on you if you're late to the first shot.
and again
       The pursuit was a better race. Still not as good as I would have liked, but despite slow range times and six misses I still managed to move up a few spots. Skiing was stronger. I didn't expect this because the tactics were not very smooth for most of the race. Either way, I was out there and getting the experience. That world class racing atmosphere is better than any time trial will ever be for progress.
Last morning before charter flight. 
       Since there was no mass start for me I took the opportunity to ski the traditional Holmenkolen 16.75km loop. This was a nice ending note to an already perfect week of skiing. In the afternoon we watched Tim make a come back in the last loop of the mass start to finish fourth.
Oslo also has the only venue I've seen that actually makes it feel more exciting to watch the races there than on TV.
      With neither good nor bad results I was left anxious for the next onslaught of races. It's the last trimester and everyone is looking forward to the end of the season. As soon as World Champs is over the whole circuit tends to relax and the mood is a lot easier going. It's been hard making this update because the focus has been in Sochi for the past couple of days. But that will have to wait for another update.

**Sorry for the lack of quality on the picture front. Not sure why that is, maybe I uploaded the file too small...?**


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