Monday, September 30, 2013

Blood, Lead and, Sriracha Sauce

         There isn't much in the way of shattering news on my front. Nothing too far out the ordinary has happened as of late. This is, for the most part, a good thing. Life will get more chaotic in a few months. Good training and bird hunting will do just fine for now. The Fall colors are at there peak in Placid, our USBA team dinner was nice, the weather has been almost too good, and I may have won bet here and there.

          For reasons uncertain the shooting component is starting to look more professional. Range times are still in a secure place. Much faster then what I was working with last year. But there has a been a decent amount of struggle and frustrations with the hit percentages these past couple of months. Admittedly, there wasn't much of an end in sight even after the Euro camp. So you can imagine how pleased the coaches and I were when the stars started to align during this current training block. It's still not where I want it to be, but it's looking better. I'm usually in the 70% range. 85 or higher would be swell.  

           Physical training is also going well. Technique is ever so slightly refined. We can only assume that we're all in good shape right now. With it not even being October yet there isn't any reason to be in too great shape. We haven't done any consistent time trials or test to really put a number on fitness. We've had good luck with this training plan in years past and we're not doing anything drastic so I think we're in a good place right now.

          On a slightly different note. Almost a year ago when boredom was plentiful and sunlight scarce (Ostersund, pre WC camp) the other guys asked how much it would take me to finish an entire 12oz bottle of Sriracha sauce. I had some on my food. It's basically just fancy ketchup with a rooster on the label. I would call is mild at best. I told them $20. They told me they were just joking, but would reconsider if I was actually serious. I was. We had almost forgotten about it until they started serving it in the cafeteria at the OTC.   
Nothing like a minor hemorrhage to keep the blood lactate in check.  

         Lowell was having a fire at his place and sure enough Tim bought a fresh unopened bottle of the fancy ketchup. No one thought to take the official time, but video analysis suggest it was under four minutes. The trick is to not think these things through. There was no stomach ulcers and it stayed down. I can't however say that it didn't take revenge the next day. The point is, Tim said I couldn't do it and after that there was no other option but to do it.
They repaved most of Bearcub road. What a nice gem.

          That about sums it up for now. We have one more week left in this training block. It's a solid 23 hour week. After that it's homeward bound for me. Hopefully I'll get in some good bird hunting before the usual Utah tradition. Maybe by then I'll have the $20 the other guys owe me. Which was absolutely worth it for the record.  

Thursday, September 12, 2013

The One Who Flew Over the Oberhof Nest

Forgot to bring my other lens so not all of the pictures came out as well as they should have.
     Training in Ruhpolding was nice and all but Oberhof is the place with the ski tunnel. Oberhof may not be know for it's perfect weather, scenic views, or night life. What it does have is some excellent training for biathletes to utilize. With only one week to go we were all ready fighting off cabin fever. At the rate we were going I wasn't sure how pretty the time trial at the end of the week was going to look. In the end the training went well. For all of the complaining I did about how tired my corps was it held up surprisingly well. Unfortunately the primary goal of nailing down the prone shooting is still up for fixing.
Gosh, I wonder what that cloud is stock piling. 

       Rollerskis are expensive and very effective for summer training, but even the best can't hold a candle to some on snow time. The first few minutes on snow is always a shock factor. The different muscles and balance needed tend to expose some technical flaws. So naturally the coaches had a field day with the cameras out in the tunnel to help point this out to us. In general I'm still trying to increase the glide while decreasing the tempo. The other opportunity that comes with the ski tunnel is the chance to try out next years race skis. Our whole wax team, as well as the ski reps themselves made the trek over. I spent a little time with a few new pairs and some new grinds. One felt really well and one was good enough for a training ski, while the rest were somewhere in between.

Team van is now referred to as the
"The Dire Wolf!"
         The forced winter temperatures and tired legs are only the salt and pepper of a boring training salad that is skiing in the tunnel. The trick is to either give yourself task or zone out completely. Testing skis or doing video work are good examples and don't ever think of heading in there with out some head phones and a full battery. Anything to avoid glancing at the watch and realizing that you've only been training for 26 minutes when your best guess was at least 45. We were not the only team in there that week. You always had to be ready to bail while passing going around a corner. The place is reserved for national teams in the morning so thankfully everyone is professional enough to avoid any head on collisions.

Because I was board one afternoon.
         We were making what seemed like progress with my shooting earlier on in the week. We gave our barrels to Armin for some annual cold chamber testing. With a couple of days away from the rifle I was looking forward to the mass start time trial on the last Saturday. Alright so at that point in training it was more the end of the TT than anything, but this was my chance to turn the bad numbers around. As expected my barrel shot amazingly well. It always does. If there's one good thing to racing in the cold temperatures it's that's barrels reliability. The TT wasn't as successful. I was once again denied any sign of hope. Prone and standing were embarrassing. Never mind world class level, the shooting that day wasn't even national team caliber. It wasn't easy to deal with it on the cool down, but eventually I was able to put it behind me and look towards the next TT to prove otherwise. After all, it's been about a dozen or so years in this sport. I'm pretty sure the ability is there. Being able to use it is the one last missing factor.

      The trip home took about three days. A little longer than comfort? Yes. Still faster than taking a ship across the ocean? Also yes. I'm pretty certain my carry on weighed more than my luggage did. If I lost an inch and height and my shoulders separated it would still be worth it to not give United Airlines any more of my money! Those PowerBar canisters really add up after six or so of them.

This is what it looked like for us by the end of the week.

      Home is nice as always. I decided to decline the Climb to the Castle race in LP again this year. Hopefully one of these years I'll get around to it. It's off the LP on Sunday for two too three weeks. Then back to the county to rest up for the annual Utah round. And no, try as I may there were no four hour running exertions in Oberhof this year. That cunning GPS really makes it a challenge now.