This is me sitting in the Bangor Airport waiting for check in for my delayed flight to open up. This could take a while...
Everything has been revolving around the upcoming races next weekend. That has been the focus since the last race of trials in Colerain, MN. Christmas was a nice break, but I didn't have much time to relax before the racing prep was in full swing. The plan was to give myself the best probability of success in the next few races. as possible. Part of that plan involved some less than desirable temps and part of it still involves a successful trip to Europe.
I kept checking the weather forecast. Certainly it will warm up at some point before I leave again, right? More often than not, when I'm training on my own I can adjust the day to day training plan to fit the weather. There was no opening for pleasant weather to work with. It was going to be obnoxiously cold everyday of the week. Cold temps would be fine by me were the I not trying to make it in the world of biathlon. When you have to zero (and zero well) your rifle and be ready to ski fast in below what are officially legal temperatures things get complicated. Not impossible, but very complicated. The trick is to equip more and more layers of clothing until you don't feel cold anymore. Then add more layers. Once you have too much, you'll want to take off a layer. This is your narrow window to zero. Even getting the barrel and ammo to work with me in these conditions is tricky. The training ammo that I've been using all year couldn't stay in the black when I was shooting prone. That basically means it's completely useless. I had to ration out what was left of the top shelf ammo I had in reserve to make the cold shooting feasible.
After layering on enough warm gear, loading the good ammo, and mustering up enough motivation I was able to make the important training sessions happen. The energy in the legs was back. It wasn't fully there when I was racing in MN. I didn't have super high exceptions for the shooting given the problematic nature of these conditions, but was supersized and excited to see some good percentages. It was down to two key sessions. This was about all I could handle without succumbing to frostbite. Both of these days were at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center. The trails were in great condition considering the grooming task the recent snowstorm left to take care of. Having a range available and a warm building to use makes all of the difference.
Everything is going well enough. Confidence, energy, equipment is all making good pace. This positive news excludes the delayed United flight, of course. The IBU cup team should be in Slovakia by tomorrow night. The first race is a sprint and it's on Saturday. The next race is the same thing all over again on Sunday. There are more details from there, but for now let's leave it at that. The February team still has openings. I never make promises for results, but all things considered, I'll cough up blood to make the results happen if need be.
Thanks for checking in. Everyone back home this past week seems to be behind me so I'll do my best to keep this place posted with good or bad news.