Monday, January 23, 2017

Out of the Starting Gate

       It's all about racing. The focal point behind every training session whether it's the pre-race session that I have planned tomorrow or the hill bounding intervals I did on the path leading up too the fire tower in Stockholm last July. Ever training session directly or indirectly revolves around the racing shape from December too March. That's why I'm here in Duszniki, Poland. This is an opportunity to get out of the starting gate. I was in Antholz last week with the goal of having a few solid races followed by a brief relax period before a pre-world champs training camp. But when does life go completely as your goals dictate?

        Antholz is always such a relief. There is a reason we call it Suntholz. Hard packed conditions, fresh air, great coffee and that warm glow that creeps down the mountain behind the range and hits the range around 10:30. Still, I was in the business of racing again. Rupholding wasn't anything special and I wanted to prove otherwise. This time around we actually had more athletes than start spots. The opposite of our team depth in December. If the race was a sprint format the team line up might have been different. I ended up not racing at all last week. Everything was feeling ready to go, but the whole point behind being in Antholz this time of year wasn't fulfilled. 

        The plan took more shifting from there. The whole men's team did extremely well in the individual and my spot on the world champs team is now up for debate. Packing up for the nine hour drive to Poland for European champs was a certainty. Admittedly, I was strongly considering the races for previously mentioned reasons. Not only do I have the competitive environment of the Euro racing scene, but once again the element of team naming is present. Something I have dealt with on more than one occasion. 

        Dusniki, Poland is not a foreign race venue for me. I competed here a couple of years ago for an IBU cup. I remember the cold rain, lack of snow and lack of confidence in my ability to compete. Today the landscape was sunny and covered in snow. It's not my style of course; one decent climb was found and it's only in the 2.5km loop. The rest is rolling / gradual terrain. The first race is on for Thursday. While European champs isn't popular enough to be televised on the level of competition isn't much of a step down from the world cup. Naturally, I won't make any prediction as anything can happen.  

Pictures are in the works, but the internet at our hotel is not the business of functioning very often. If this text makes it on the blog it will be a hard days work for this router in Poland.

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