Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Winds Of Opportunity

Extra blue classic skiing. Great Success!
      I can't remember a time when racing in Oberhof didn't involve challenge weather conditions. While it was great to have plenty of hard packed snow last week, the wind and bitter cold temps made the racing difficult. Other years it has been rain or fog during the op

ening WC of the second trimester. That being said, I would rather deal with a cold wind over a damp drizzle. Not unlike weather in Oberhof, I've had plenty of demoralizing results there. That's why last week was boon for the old confidence.
   
      I can seldom warm up in the USBA down jacket without overheating. This was one of those seldom occasions. None of the athletes were in a rush to line up in their lanes at the start of the pursuit. It didn't help that so much of the course and stadium was vulnerable to wind chill. Still, no one was going to give up and the race started without a hitch. For whatever reason the bulk of the field does not take it easy on the first loop. I prefer to pace myself, but in this case it's best to find a good draft and keep up. I couldn't feel my fingers for the first prone and had two misses. With a couple of penalty laps I move down a few places. I took a few clicks before the second prone stage and cleaned. Range time was nothing special but it would have to do.
   
      Going through the stadium on my third loop I could see a lot of athletes in front of me cycling through the penalty loop. Was it that windy? Yes, yes it was. I almost made it out of my first standing with clean shooting. The last target didn't follow the others, unfortunately. I could see that 4/5 wasn't too bad on the day as I was in 35th on my fourth loop. My hands were still too cold to fully feel the trigger and I was loosing time just trying to load the mags into the chamber. I missed two in my last standing, after really hoping for a clean. Spirits were lifted after I glanced at the the racer shooting next to me. We were leaving at the same time, but his target had four penalties. Apparently it really was windy. The legs weren't feeling too springy on the last loop, but I was able to hold onto 34th place.

      We're only two races into the second series bout. Both of which, looked good, but I would like to keep the trend going. This is much easier said than done. Last week's races were great for me because it's the best result on the world cup circuit I've had in years. Not only that, but the top 40 score WC points. The relay in Rupholding is today. I'm the reserve man, but will have a race bib for Friday's sprint. The conditions are nice, the course profile ins't my favorite, and the crowd is very loud. Stay tuned for more updates.

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