Tuesday, February 25, 2014

OWGs: Done and Over

       We never heard the Olympics be officially announced during openings, but at least the US biathletes had the chance to hear the games be officially closed. These Olympics are over and soon everyone will be anticipating the Summer games in Rio, while we'll all be training and racing like we do every year waiting for the attention to ramp up for 2018 Pyeongchang. However, it's safe to say that these Olympics will have a lasting memory for me well after they are done and over.
        I wish I could say that they are all fond memories. That is far from the case. There are some situations that I can't wait to forget about and others that left simply left a permanent scar to be brutally honest. I'm not going to miss the lack of transportation. This was addressed in an earlier update. It never really got any better. Most of the shuttle drivers could be found parked at the center station either sleeping or outside smoking at the "smoke free" Olympic village. Complaining about the obnoxious, and unnecessary efforts it took to do... almost anything would take too long to recall. Let's just say the exit strategy set for the athletes made for a nice going away present from the Russian logistics department.
      In case you missed the relay it did not work out the way I imagined it would. We were not running at our best capacity from the start. Tim was and still is sick and is on antibiotics. Sean, as the team alternate took his place.  Leif was also sick and wouldn't have even trained in a different situation. So it was Lowell, then me, Sean, and Leif as out anchor leg. We were keeping optimistic about it. From the sounds of it we weren't the only team salvaging it up for the last race. Long story short I killed what ever chance we had. Lowell really went for it on the first leg. It worked out well. He tagged off to me in fourth. Less than ten seconds off of the lead. I snagged a great ride behind the Russian team for the first lap. All was going well until I landed on the range mat for prone. This is where things start going down hill. I had three misses from the clip and proceeded to miss them all over again with my three extra rounds. One penalty in a relay is bad news. I had three. The other guys had decent races. Unfortunately they were fighting towards the back of the race. I was not in very comfortable mood after the race. I really just wanted to punch the whole world in the face. I didn't do any punching, because after all unless I can go back in time and redo that prone stage there isn't much point in doing anything spiteful.
The people that you meet. 
Team USA chalet. 
          The whole experience from the relay really help finalized the theme I had been going through for all of the racing at the OWGs. Close to something great, but never really there. It's that threshold that I've been trying to break for decade or so now. You can imagine how excited it was when I was told I would at least be in the Pokljuka WC team. The thought of leaving the racing season on such an awful note would not be easy to swallow. Now there is at least a chance to redeem myself.
           In the 48 hours that followed I logged loosely seven hours of sleep. It was mix of pandemonium and waiting. Yeah there was a lot of cram packing and paperwork, but there was also the closing ceremonies. I did my best to take some pictures. Hopefully you saw some of them on TV because there isn't much use in trying to describe it. It was an impressive display with a lot of variety to keep us from giving into the sleep deprivation. After that, the whole scene shifted to the coastal athlete village. We were meandering around on the bike until our bus left for the Sochi airport. I say airport, but the D-terminal was actually just a giant unheated tent full of semi alive athletes. We made it too our usual place in Inzell around nine in the morning. I took a brief three hour nap. Some of the others were breaking the six hour mark.
So long Endurance Village. Can't help but wonder what will become of this place down the road. 
         All of that is only a brief summary of the last weekend in Sochi. The Olympics may be over, but does it ever feel nice to have a dinning hall with in 30 seconds of my room. There's no need for credentials. Going into town is a five minute drive with no x-rays  along the way. As much negativity that I've mentioned the Olympics were still the Olympics. The goal of the season was to be there for them. That much is done. Some better performances while at the games sure would have been great and at age 26 I've come to expect more out of myself, but hey, it's in the past now and there isn't much I can do about it.

           Don't ask me when I'm going to be home. I don't know and wouldn't tell you if I did. When I do get home if someone would like to sell a mound of clothing on ebay for commission price that would be great. There is almost no snow in Inzell right now. We'll be in Slovenia next week and supposedly  they have three meters of snow. Maybe we'll get out of April and back into winter.
There is just so much to be said about this one. 

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