Sunday, February 24, 2013

In Random Fasion: Inzell style

~ I sincerely hate packing!

~ Nice day today. Didn't do a whole lot. Highlight was watching the US womens team take gold in the sprint relay at XC world champs!

~ Very mellow week. Aside from the structured meal times and living with the same people I've been with since new years it kind of felt like the April break.

~ I take that back. There is nothing sincere about hating packing.

~ We leave tomorrow morning for Olso. All looks well on that front.

~ Went for an hour plus run on Tuesday and demolished my legs. And to think, I thought I was still in good running shape.

~ Am trying to think of some clever spring vacation ideas. Any suggestions?

~ Bavaria doesn't mess around with there pretzels!

~ It actually feels like winter here.

~ Am too lazy to scrounge up all of the pictures from this week so these ones will have to do.

~ Shooting seems to be holding strong since the relay at WCHs. Really hoping that carries over to next week.

~ The only thing Lowell planned to do today was update his blog and he hasn't. So for a lazy mans update I don't feel that bad about this.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Super Nove Mesto

Something besides ski trails and clouds. 

This one is an old one. 2009 

Brilliance at work.  

Strawberry Computer

      World Champs is over. No one saw the sun the whole time, but that didn't stop at least one of us from seeing the podium. Most everyone on the team had a decent race or two. Lowell was in the medal contention in the mass start, Tim had a silver in the individual and while I didn't have the results I wanted I had a sure sign of improvement from the previous level of racing. The form isn't there yet, but thankfully I still have a chance to demonstrate it before the season is over.
The individual was a decent race for myself, but with a minute per miss these races are not my style. I took my time shooting. I was bib 127. The race didn't start till 5:15. This made for a long day. Range time wasn't a concern for me that day as I was just set on hitting the targets. I had a miss in each of my first three stages. Ski speed was on good pace that day. There was no doubt that we had fast skis. When I came in for my second prone Tim was charging for the finish in second place. I tried to keep in together for the last standing. The focus was on process more than anything else. Or so I thought. Missing the first two shots was enough to put me out of the “good race” zone. At this point the coaches were only giving me Tim's splits and less details about my race. At the end of a long day I was 60th with only five misses. Ski rank was 35th. Not great and not bad.
I wasn't even sure if the relay was going to be my last race of the season or not, but at least I was in it this year. I was alone for a brief time when Tim tagged off to me. We were somewhere around 10th or so. The Italian put ten seconds on me before the first hill. I lost a few more meters to him by the end of the down hill that followed. I thought the pace was a little quick for the first loop. This was only a 2.5km loop and I was getting a little worried about the ski shape that day. I cleaned prone with no extras. This was a good feeling and good thing I did so. With an already slow range time I would have lost a lot of time going into the spare rounds. I made good use of drafting on the second loop. The range approach was slow, but If there's anything worse than losing time coming into the range it's leading the pack into the range. I almost made it out with no extras and a fully clean day of shooting. Unfortunately that last shot didn't go down. But hey, nine out of ten with one extra isn't too bad. I felt like I had more control in those ten shots than I did any other race that week. I made a strong surge on the last hill and the last loop as a whole wasn't too bad. In the end ski speed was still pretty slow, but it's only one day and similar to the pursuit, there are too many variables to consider to warrant much worry.
No mass start for me this year. Theses days it takes a race of your life or two to get on that mass start list. I watched the race from the starting pen. There were a few questionable moves out there. One of which brought a few athletes down. This included Tim. Lowell cleaned through both prones and his first standing. At this point he was safely in distance of medal. He had a two misses in the last stage. Now you would think with good skiing and 90% shooting you would still be around top five or so, right? Wrong! The field on that day required perfection. It was an exciting race to watch and long awaited victory for Norway's Tarjei Bo.
I really like the course in Nove Mesto. The venue layout is almost perfect and the crowd numbers were better than I expected. No, the sun did not shine through the clouds once, but not once did it rain either and I never lost feeling in my fingers. The weather was just fine the way it was. Most of the team is in Inzell at the moment. Not much in the way of stress for the week. After this it's off to Oslo. I hear good things about that place.
Czech isn't the easiest language to pick up. The mens team usually adopts a few random words and phrases from what ever dialect we're soaking up. I'm not sure how or why, but we started exclaiming “počítač!” (computer) and “jahoda!”(strawberry) this past couple of weeks. Gosh, aren't we cool. Pictures to follow shortly.  

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Sprint and Pursuit

        Well I hope you were watching because that was a very exciting pursuit race this past weekend. Both the mens and womens race were TV friendly. It was an okay experience for me. The whole weekend was close to something great. I don't care what the other guys think, Nove Mesto is alright. Kind of reminds me of home occasionally. I wish I could say the racing was alright to but a few glitches got in the way, such as my start group in the sprint or my shooting in the pursuit, but it sure could be worse. Here is a brief run down of the the racing for me thus far.
         Shooting and ski speed were looking better leading up to Saturday. I really wanted to prove this in the sprint. For the most part I did. However this is only after you take into account the post bib 80 start group. There were a lot a starters that day as it's world champs and rules differ. The snow didn't hold up to the numbers and by the time I started the snow was mashed up and in general slower. There was more than one part that I found myself choosing the less than optimum line because the best line of trail was in worse shape. So in the end ski rank overall wasn't much to wright home about, but giving the circumstances I was satisfied. It was also pleasing to see my last loop ranked 25th fastest. I almost made it out of prone with only one miss, but that last one didn't go down and I had to fight off two penalty loops. After shooting like that you really need to have your act together for standing. I can proudly say that I cleaned standing. It felt good to just leave the range and go for it on that last loop. I didn't make it into the points, but came close with a 44th place.
         The pursuit was a rough day. Not nearly as grueling as not starting the pursuit as all, but still tough nonetheless. In terms of ski speed there are too many variables to look at to really point any fingers. With drafting and the difference in athlete level varying from the lead pack to back of the field, tactics and good rides make for a very limiting factor in ski speed. I had a few good rides here and there, but most of them were there because they were shooting well. I'm also not convinced skis were spectacular. I wasn't gaining time on the downhills and with the standard that our wax team has set I've come to expect that to happen. As I said there are too many angles to look at and over analyzing it doesn't help. It wasn't that bad either, 1:15 out from Fourcade isn't too shabby. Shooting was bad. There's no debating that one. After taking three misses in the first prone, I would have needed to almost cleaned the next three stages. This isn't the best mind set to have in that situation, but overriding that sub conscious notion of fear is a tough one.
        So not the weekend I was hoping for, but still good for some hope going into the individual. Lowell had a stellar race finishing 13th with his first ever clean four stage WC race. It only took 31 years. The four km course has a very nice flow to it and lets not forget, anything in possible. The womens race is tomorrow and the men on Thursday. It's another evening race It will be a long day for the athletes and staff so I hope you're happy central Euro TV viewers! Wish me luck. It's World Champs!

Almost forgot to add: Pole basket was stepped on leaving the rage after the last standing. Had to turn around and grab that one. Might have broken the “Zone of Silence” range rule. This was somewhat compensated for by the Belorussian not hearing me sprinting up next to him on the finishing stretch. By the time he realized he wasn't alone on the glory stretch it was too late and I moved up a spot. 

Managed to snag a few good pictures this past week. Will hopefully get some more gems before Sunday and lob them up in one update again.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Nove Mesto Yet Again

       This place seems to make leaps and bounds every time I come back. I had only heard a rumor back in 2007 that Nove Mesto wanted world champs. This was back when IBU cups were called Europa Cups. As of yesterday's mixed relay there is no doubt that this place deserves Worlds.
     In 2007 there were no stands to encompass two thirds of the stadium. There was no underground tunnels leading to the starting pen, and the wax cabins were minimized. The courses were so mellow you could almost all V2 all of it. Since then the atmosphere has changed. The new course starts out with a hefty climb and overall suits my style. Unlike most other race venue's the distance from the wax cabin to the starting gate isn't a journey. This is extremely convenient in a race day situation. The Y club is also very close. Overall I have to applaud the layout.
     The first race of the championships was yesterday with the mixed relay. I didn't take part in it, but I sure did watch it from my hotel room's bed. The USA had a very solid race. Not too far off the the top six. I was happy for the Czech team to hit the podium. As large as the stands are they were fully pact. You could safely bet that there was a lot of pressure on them for this race and they handled it pretty well.
The old days.... When I was a Junior...
     Tomorrow brings us to the sprint competition. I don't know what my start number is, but I will be towards the back of the field. The training camp in Antholz was a success. Performance seemed to come together right at the last moment. Shooting has been feeling secure all week and ski speed has magically taken an upward swing. It's that time of year again. The legs start to feel fresh and the focus singles in on a few days. The hours are no longer a concern, the carbohydrate percentage goes up, and down time is limitless. With out any real race since the Antholz WC behind me there is no way to confirm any suspicions, but I'm sticking with the positive thoughts.

Sorry for the lack of new pictures to show the contrast. I'll try to snag some later on.

      With less than 24 hours to go I'll soon know well enough where I stack up. This isn't a sport of promises. It's more of probability. If you have access to NBC sports I suggest you tune in tomorrow for some coverage action. Otherwise, works fine. Here goes round one of World champs for this Stockholm residence.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Antholz and Beyond!

Because having some of the best rollerskiing in the world wasn't enough, Toblach is also up in the ranks for training in the winter. 

Forgot the ol' memory card that day and had to use the cell phone. 

Blue sky ten fold.

Good morning!

If a blast furnace could represent high speed functional internet. This picture would be proportional to what we were dealing with. 

Making the trek up the pass.

Some training at 2000 meteres

Departure for training meant walking past breakfast and opening the door.

Shortly after taking this picture I witness someone make the morning dip in the water.

I don't mess around with my Frühstück!

Was it a coincidence duck was on the menu that evening.  

I left the some flowers for the cleaning lady. I hope they make up for the coco powder I spilled on the floor...

                                                 Platzwiese !

The skiing is good when 2hrs doesn't feel long enough.

"What!? They don't serve pizza!? This place sucks!"

Yeah Dude I Rock!

Sun light, water, and communication. The sources of life in there artificial forms.

What would this update be with out at least one negative.