Thursday, October 26, 2017

Away, but not Out.

       The goals for the 2018 season are still very much possible. While the past few weeks have not been without some missed opportunities, the overall performance is looking hopeful.  It's good to have that confident feeling back in the arsenal. It's not always easy to keep the confidence up. It certainly wasn't easy once I realized my December racing goals was out of the question before we're even into November. So why am I not complaining about having the rugged pulled out from under me and why am I feeling better about all things 2017/18 racing?

       The racing circa mid October in Jericho, VT wasn't all that bad. It was, however not good enough. The overall performance from my side was better than it has been in past years. I did all of my homework and was able to prove most of it. I took it easy the week leading up to the races, but for reasons unknown the legs were not as fresh as I would have liked them to be. There are a lot on variables in this sport and nailing all of them at the same time is tough. Still, the years of base training were enough to keep the ski speed in decent shape. It's a sort of an insurance for the days when you're not up to full energy.

       On the shooting side, results were better, but much like skiing just below good enough. These sort of races for athletes in my position are more difficult than racing world cups. A bad day on the world cup means learning what you can and working towards the next one. A bad day at the Jericho team trials can mean that should start looking into plane tickets and spectator free racing. With that in mind every shot feels like a fight. You might wonder why I'm not used to this by now, but remember that there is a reason why no athlete has ever averaged 100% for an entire season. I was close to getting out of standing with a clean stage and a 90% in all in the first race. Then the last shot got to me and I bummed myself down to 80%. The second race was a tricky one. The wind was a limiting factor and the field as a whole was proving this with some less than typical shooting results. For me it was 60% day. Not bad, but not great and not good enough.

The look of racing suffer. 
     The racing in October was a step up from the races back in August. My goal of having a shooting mechanic that worked under pressure was a success compared to past years of shooting range meltdowns. The changes to the stock, made for a lighter and better fit. The changes in my position give me a better probability of a hit. I'm not at the Canmore, AB team camp, simply because the overall level of competition on the US team is higher than ever. I can recall having a 45% shooting day at a trials race as a junior and still taking the win. Those days are over. USBA's goal of bringing up the depth of the team has been a success and I took the blunt end of it.

     So what happens now? The first trimester of the season may be out of grasp but the races in February are not. I have to be the fourth or fifth US man out during the IBU cups in January. To make it to those races I have to be in the top two at the trial races at Mt. Itasca in Colerane, MN. For the sake of proper preparation I will be in Canmore for three weeks prior to those races. If we're lucky there will be snow at the FKOC even before that. For now, I'm in Lake Placid with the development team. As of today, I fighting my way through a sore throat and cold. That's the point B back to point A itinerary.

      Not that it matters, but this rout has lead to my best and worst seasons ever. This is a non factor to me because I'm done with superstition. None of it is real. Doing each workout better than the rest is how I plan to have better results over the coming months. As much as I despise requesting help, any donation will go towards the flight and trip expenses for Canmore and Minnesota. The help from this summer was essential because most of it went towards paying off the racing fees from February. For now it's a matter of getting over this obnoxious cold and sore throat.  Not unlike four years ago, as long as there is even a slight chance, then I have to take the risk.
Happy October! 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Still Alive

         All things are still a go. Was hoping to have a full run down of racing last week and what it means for the next couple of months, but that update will have to wait a few more days. For now I'm packing up for another trip back to Lake Placid. Long story short: No go on the December world cups despite an improvement in overall performance. However! The January and on racing season is still a very achievable possibility. And that includes all things February. So... if ever there is a chance then it is a chance worth taking. Might have to muster up some funding once again, but more details on the upcoming course of action later. For now it's a whole lot of driving

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Always Forward

       Greetings from Craftsbury, Vt. Last week it would have been from Lake Placid, and later on this week it will be greetings from Johnson and or Jericho. Vt. In any case, the goal remains the same. Everything revolves around reaching the top name on the result list. Oddly enough, it's a good thing I don't have any crazy adventures or short stories to elaborate on this time. With important races coming up this weekend no one is trying to make crazy adventures happen and anything unplanned would probably hinder the goal. So that's why I don't have much to update about this time. Everything is going both smooth and boringly.

      The Lake Placid fall camp was a productive one. Maybe not as packed with afternoon slowfire drills or five hour distance sessions, but plenty of quality to the point sessions. Like any late September and October camps I packed what I thought would the right attire. Little did I know that summer wasn't done with Lake Placid. The heat and humidity felt out of place with the changing leave colors. At a time when we're typically looking forward to a warm shower after training, some of us were opting for the ice bath in sports med.

       Thankfully, the weather, typical or not, didn't get in the way of some solid training. The total hours were high, but the energy was never in debt. Were I prequalified for the races this weekend, I might have pushed the training load a little higher. We had about three high intensity sessions a week. One of them was the so called "Korea protocol." This is USBA's answer to the large climb right out of the stadium of the Pyeong Chang Olympic course. The session consist of skiing up a sustained climb for seven minutes three times over with however long it takes to drive down in between for recovery. Not unlike a sprint format race in biathlon.

      Training camps don't feel quite right without a time trial at the end. The one where everyone is hanging on for dear life energy wise. The one where you know it's going to a solid effort, but your legs are so heavy you're not sure how or why. It's similar to the rule of always having room for desert. In this case, we absolutely had a hefty time trial on Saturday but none of us were in massive training debt. So there was less of an excuse to not have decent showing. I was pleased with my shooting. Range times were better than they were a couple of months ago and I hit 80% of my targets. Not prefect, but decent enough.

       The shooting score has been holding up well lately. The process that I'm clinging to now is designed to hole up under pressure. As always, nothing is immune to colossal failure so no bold promises. The refined version of my rifle has yet to be officially weighed, but in giving the hand to hand comparison to the rifles of other athletes it feels safely under four kilos. All that, and I'm not even using lighter sprint action, much less barrel.

      The rest of the fall is undetermined at for now. The potential routs from here are actually better than all or nothing like they have been in the past. Nevertheless, I'm going for the best route possible. Enjoy the fall. This is my favorite time of year.