The entertaining part of our sport is soon to be underway. That is, for me and this season in particular. December is not without it's important races, but there is a lot of waiting around for them to start. We left Canmore last Saturday and eventually made it to Grand Rapids, MN. We were in Canmore for the sake of a couple races and a lot of quality training. Now, we're in Grand Rapids to freeze our fingers off and cram four races into five days.
The conditions in Canmore improved as the temps dropped during the last week. It never dropped to the ultra cold levels that I remember Canmore for, but it doesn't really have to. If it gets only a little brisk the farm of industrial strength snow guns start running around the clock. This forces the relative humidity up and makes the air feel much colder than the forecast suggest. That didn't stop us from training properly. We did a lot of quality shooting sessions. The ones at race pace and head to head. The goal was to fine tune the fitness. That includes mental fitness, as well as physical. After all these years it still takes me a lot of racing before I feel ready to have a good race. With that in mind I took every opportunity available to train in a race like situation that I could.
Have I ever mentioned that I detest travel? I know I have, but I thought I would reinforce that. Nothing really went wrong during our trip on the weekend. It's just a part of the lifestyle I've grown tired of. Some athletes are great at it. Some are not. The ones that can breeze through all of the fears of what could go wrong are lucky. I'm not one of those. When I start a travel day I automatically assume everyone in the airline industry is working against me. To me it feels like a battle to get myself and my gear from point A to point B without damage and hundreds of dollars in made up fees. At the end of the day, it could have been much worse. The skis and rifle made it through in one piece. The whole effort did take close to two days, but still... could have been much worse.
Northern Minnesota is cold. That about sums it up. It certainly wouldn't be the first time this has happened. During the morning training sessions, at most any point, if you stop and look you can see at least one athlete spinning their hands around in circles to force the warm blood to their fingertips. I froze my feet so badly back in Canmore that one has poorer circulation than the other. Such is life combining endurance sports with the possibility of cold temps.
The potential for the racing this weekend is wide open. Ranging anywhere from me falling on my face in failure too handily winning. Shooting has been coming together. For reasons unsure to me, my grouping in prone travels low during hard intensity sessions. Standing has been holding up well even under pressure. Ski speed is a bit on the unknown end as well. I suspect it's good enough to get the job done. The legs have been a little tired, but I can't help but think that's all in my head. Most of this is anyways.
The confidence is up, or at the very least higher than the temperature outside. I can't promise anything special. No one can with biathlon, but even now before any of the races have started I can say without a doubt that I've tried as hard as I could. If you've ever watched a full race you would see that there is very little that you can control. Trying you hardest for a decade plus is not one of the parts that are out of your control, however.
Thanks for the support! I'll try to keep a quick update trend going for the races coming up.