The first time I did a race at the Ethan Allen venue was a mass start. I was 17. The Canadian Juniors were using ridiculously fast roller skis, It was raining at the start, but still super hot out and this was before the mold on the downhills was removed. These were the days when you had to commit to a direction going around one of the downhill corners because once you hit the moldy patch there was no changing direction. The loop has come a long way since then. We are all on zeroed roller skies and the pavement is in near perfect condition. Nevertheless racing in a muggy swamp is still a returning component of racing in Jericho. Last weekend help to remind the USBA field of this in this year's trial races.
|Special thanks and photo credit to Brian Conchieri|
Thanks to some helpful friends I was able to dodge the barrack life. The thought of cutting the minimal living standards out of the trip was enough to motivate me into leaving a few days ahead of schedule. The loop and range was already plenty crowded. After two days of the normal rifle use I promptly dug out the rifle oil and lathered on a healthy layer over the outside of the barrel. Otherwise the humidity would have rusted the shine completely off.
Saturday was the sprint race. It was not exactly a glitch free day. This time it came in the form of missing my start. Two of the three times that I've made that mistake have been in Jericho. The missed start amounted to about 10 too 15 seconds. The energy going into the race was there, but the extra gear wasn't. So the ski speed was decent, but not at optimum level. It could have been the heat. It could have been the time of year. It could have been a dozen other variables. The 60% shooting didn't help my cause either. There was some feeling of let down after such a lack luster race, but after all these years getting bent out of shape over a one day doesn't accomplish much. Rehydrating, breaking the race down, taking a nap, and simply relaxing does help.
|And here we have me missing my start...|
The mass start race came up only 24 hours later. Given the heat and short time frame keeping it together on the recovery front was an advantage only a rookie would miss. It was, as expected, hot and humid. No one went down despite the close quarters on the first lap. Prone did not go as well as I hoped. I had two penalties in the first stage and three in the second. To add to this I also went the wrong way in the second lap. Thankfully the racer behind me gave me the heads up memo. It was an awkward slow down and turn around maneuver to get back on the correct course. If I had kept going things would have been much worse. Standing was almost perfect. I use "almost" because the last target of both stages didn't go down. Still, it was enough to open up an opportunity to make it to front of the non Tim Burke / Lowell Bailey pack. Also known as third. I was pleased, but some cooler temperatures and better prone shooting certainly would have been nice.
Catching up with everyone is always nice. Since I drove myself down there was less of a bum rush to vacate the area code. I did eventually make it back, at which point it was pretty much back to work. It's back to some equipment changes and upgrades. I looked through my training log and decided on what the next few weeks are going to look like.
The important part is that the weekend could have been much worse and it wasn't. It was successful enough to snag me a spot in a training camp in September. This time I'm also excited to work with a handful of new ideas before the next round of trials. Also, the lower back is in fully functional shape again. You never know how nice it feels until it heads south for a week. The vegetables are plentiful right now and amount of running in Stockholm turns into a apple scavenging quest.