"Well that sucked. Not sure what to think. I thought we were done with this. The wind picked up as the race started, but turns out they were just bad shots. I think I could have used better focus in prone. I just thought I knew better than that?"
That was an excerpt from an email I sent the coaches after the first race last Saturday. The lack of snow forced the organizers to change up the loop up. It was the same loop we had to do during Olympic trials back in 2009. The night mares were starting creep back in. I was not ready to deal with spending January in the US. Turns out I was right about the second to last sentence from that email sample.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday hosted three races to determine the extra spots for the January IBU cup team. The IBU cup is more or less a B World Cup circuit. One that is getting more competitive every year. Success in these trial races was a key part of my "Operation January."
Shooting percentages are in order as follows: 30%, 90%, and 90%. You can see the source of nervousness post sprint race on Saturday. In retro spec, I'm not sure what was going though my head during those four misses in prone. I was so frustrated when I crossed the finish line that I just wanted the next race to start immediately!
It was exactly 23 hours and 30 seconds later when I was leaving the starting gate in the pursuit. It sure felt longer. I just wanted to prove that even I can hit targets. Focus was at an all time high and it paid off with a clean first stage. There was one miss in my second prone and another in my last standing. But That was all, only two misses on the day. Ski speed was decent. I will say I felt the best on day two than I did the other two days. I'm not a big fan of the course at Mt Itasca and I blame Kris Seymour for this. I hope he takes a gander at this article because he's the one who designed it. It simply doesn't flow well and it's hard to make it work.
The mass start helped confirm my confidence on the range. Another 90% really helps up the season average. I broke out a move from retired French biathlete Raphael Poiree and waved to the crowd after cleaning my last stage. I'm not used to shooting this well so I wanted to make the most of it.
|I strive to be more like OneWay poles in the way that they don't snap under pressure.|
The truth is I've been shooting much better for the past month. The changes that the coaches and I decided on back in Utah was the real turning point, not Saturday morning. When you focus on the process and stay loyal to it the probability of success is much higher. As always there is still plenty of room for improvement. Range times are anything but impressive and I hope to build off of current ski speed level as the season progresses.
Right now I'm in a hotel. I'll have a skype meeting with the coaches in the morning about training through the holidays. My flight leaves tomorrow afternoon from Minneapolis and eventually lands in Portland. From there I've managed to barter a ride home where I can enjoy Christmas back in the mother land. Then it's off to Forni Avoltri, Italy!
As much as it pains me to say this the Mt Itasca crew did a great job at making the races work. Especially when there was no snow to be had with in 100 miles. If you would like to see some pictures from the weekend you can check out minnesotabiathlon.com