Monday, February 23, 2015

Snowy Mt. Trails takes the win!

        There were a few directions I could have gone in. With the racing season not really over by most standards I felt obligated to do some kind of effort. None of them were ideal but none of them were lacking in potential fun department. After some productive face palming in front of the computer screen I finally made the call. I remember wanting nothing more than to be home. I've skied the Snowy Mt Trails more than another trail and yet I have no desires to train on any other course right now. This is why my 2014/15 racing season is, for the most part, over. Here's what I could have done and why I didn't.

          I knew since the end of January that IBU cups seven and eight in Canmore, Alberta were an option. This was nice because it gave me some time to think it over before the official team naming. I ended up needed to all of that time as I was pretty well set on doing the races for most of it. I started looking into how to make the logistics. There were a handful of housing options, but none of them were for certain. The only ones that were, would be at my own expense. It was a similar situation for the flight over. Trying to plan trips that you're unsure of making in the first place is not a good way to start the day. I usually made it to about 10:30 before calling it quits to go snowshoeing instead. The logistical nightmare was a limiting factor for the Canmore option.
         Another option was the Birkie. The infamous 50km loppet in Wisconsin. This time around I had a housing go to, and with help of some good contacts could have secured a spot in the elite wave at the last minute. The Birkie was last weekend. So at the time it was coming up sooner than the Canmore races and I would have had to muster up a short mini peak in some cold conditions. The unique reason behind not committing to this trip was the fact that I didn't think I could profit from the trip. A win could have gone a long way. A top six would have paid for the trip. I honestly just didn't feel like investing the time and energy into the off chance that nothing would go wrong. Too many parts would have to come together to have a good race. Even the elite wave comes with a high risk of pole snapping. Knowing my luck I would have just missed the start for any number of reasons. Not too mention my track record with wax speed the past couple of years. If the trip was going to happen I was going to need better prep and support to better the odds of success.
          There were of course rumors of other races happening here and there, but the reasoning behind the first two options was a reacquiring theme. The other limiting factor in my decision was the lack of confidence. With two rough trimester under my belt it was obvious that this wasn't going to be the season I had hoped for. So it goes in this sport. We'll never know for certain how the IBU cups could have turned out. A lot of teams won't make the trip from Europe to western Canada and the chance for a podium is much higher. But even stating from North America would require a tremendous amount of resources to get me to the starting line. After two months of packing, traveling, unpacking, and training all so I can get my kicked in the teeth in a different place than the week before was enough to deplete my motivation. Funding wise, little to nothing was covered by anyone and I can do better business selling old gear on ebay at this point. In the end, I didn't think I had the capacity physically or mentally to have any successful races the rest of the season.  

         On  the other hand. There was the issue of support going into next season. MWSC doesn't have the support for the athletes like they used to. Racing most anywhere, especially the IBU cups could help in team naming from USBA. This is where US Biathlon nationals comes into the situation. Officially they are scheduled to be held in Truckee, CA later on in March. The latest update suggest that the lack of snow may move the races to West Yellowstone. Neither would disappoint. The point is that US nationals are far away enough for me plan for, train for, and feel confident enough to make happen. The competition may not hold a candle to a world cup, but the races will be taken into consideration going into the next training season. As of now this option is in the lead.
     
        Since nationals are not till the second half of March this gives me some time to relax. In an effort to end on a positive note let's just say that it's great to be home. I know how to connect all of the ski trails and permanently have a single. The best part of April is not having a plan. When you can wake up and make the day what ever you want it to be is something unique to the rest of the year. For me it's a vacation. I've forgotten what February is like in northern Maine. Shifting the April theme a month or two earlier has been pretty nice so far. It is what is. Since there is too much left to give up on the next three years I'll still be doing plenty of training. One way or another I have to see a better end to it than this. For now, however, I just want the place to myself.



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