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img_0003_3Almost 2o years ago I lost a 20km US National Biathlon Championship because this same Moose chased me off of the ski course at Kincaid Park. Although now I was not in contention for a National Championship, today we had a rematch. Now there is a one antlered cantankerous Moose traipsing around Kincaid Park.  I told him it would’ve fallen off in a month anyway. As you can notice he would not stick around for the photo op. An example of a poor loser.

Below is my six year old Moose. He is usually friendly though.


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Air Guard Warming Tentimg_0024Deja Vu. Back in Alaska for US XC Nationals after failing to qualify for the IBU Cup races in Mt Itasca. Same as last year.  Luckily it is warmer in Anchorage this year.  Pictured is the awesome warming tent in the stadium at Kincaid Park. It is of note that the Alaska Air  National Guard has provided this for the athletes and officials to get warm prior to racing right next to the start finish area.   Thanks to the National Guard Biathlon program I was able to come up here in short notice and  get to race in the Premier Race Series for Cross Country in the US.  The National Guard Biathlon Program gives me the opportunity to compete all over  the World each year doing what I love to do,  Ski Race. Many great athletes have come form this program, this year Jeremy Teela originally from Alaska has made the US Olympic Biathlon Team competing in Vancouver. So far this year I have raced and trained in New York, (Lake Placid) Vermont (Jericho) , Utah(Soldier Hollow), Finland,  Canada (Canmore), Minnesota(Mt Itasca) and am planning on racing In Italy (twice in Italian Military Champs, World Military Champs, North American Biathlon Cup Races, Super Tour Races including Owl Creek Chase, Aspen Co, North American Birkebiener Races. Think about this I will be missing out on about half the races we attend due to having to go to work also during the winter. Anybody who wants to get to the next level in Biathlon should consider checking out the National Guard Biathlon Program.  Call 802-899-7123,7124,7122 for more information.

Anyway conditions are great here, the forecast is for a warming trend getting psyched to dial in some skis and go out and race the 15km skate race then get dragged around in a a 30m Mass Start Classic race. Today I encountered about six skiers skiing towards me quite excited about being chased by  a Moose.   As a training exercise I just went by them and skied right next to the Moose it was more interested in some tree branches and payed no attention to me. Skiing at Kincaid is motivating there is great scenery everywhere and is always a blast to see old friends and competitors at the venue.

Pictured below is  Coach Bernie Gardner who came out from Honeoye Falls, NY.  The  unknown (secret) Ski Capitol of the Nation.




Mt Itasca Crew is pounding out the snow and working around the clock to hold a World Class Biathlon Race Series starting this weekend. Although the Weather has not co-operated the Staff here is going to get the course in tip top shape for this weekend. This is a case if you build it  they will come. There are piles of snow all over the trails and at least three large front end loaders  working hard.

So far it looks like this will be an arduous and exciting tryouts. The forecast is bitter cold. The track will hard and fast. The Competitors come  well prepared.

Vladimer Cervenka Working Hard.  ”Vlad” is the US Junior National Coach who is Based out of the Mt Itasca area. He has produced some up and coming great Biathletes.

It really fires me up to come and race in a community that takes skiing so seriously.

Thanks Mt Itasca!!!


Athletes training at the Range

“Vlad” Making Snow Pictured below


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Canmore 2009 Peak through fog of snow makingimg_0005-2img_0014-1img_0021-11

Finally the Chinook Winds have abated. Canmore is plunged precipitously into full on Winter. The Nordic Area has the challenge of making to separate race courses in three days time.  Last night they received a teaser of just over an inch of natural snow.  As you can see they are under the gun and have plumes of snow erupting from all parts of the center.  This upcoming weekend they have to concurrent weekend events to put on. An Alberta Cup Weekend with  a sprint on Sat and a distance race  Sun. Also a Nor -Am Biathlon Sprint and individual.   Will the Snow-Makers Come through in the clutch??                                                                                                                                     One of the Buildings with multiple Team Wax Rooms

( top picture:Patrick Cote Skating through Biathlon Range.)

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[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/5742125" width="480" height="390" wmode="transparent" /]


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TImo and Duncan Standing ShootingTraining with Timo Antila of the Finnish National Biathlon Team on the 41 point biathlon range in Olos It is completely lit for round the clock training.  This is an excellent place to train in OCT and NOV.  They have over 6 km of well groomed ski tracks.

Much thanks to the Finnish Biathlon Coaches and Athletes for not only allowing me to train with them but being  incredible hosts. Helping me with training and racing opportunities.  Even excellently preparing my skiis for the race. At this important training time prior to the Olympics.

There are many National Teams residing here and training together this time of the year.  Both Special Ski, and Biathlon.

I decided about a week before wheels off the ground to come to Finland a preseason on snow remedial ski and shooting camp.   At the time I bought a ticket to Rovaniemi, after confirming that there would be excellent training from my Finnish contacts, where the heck I was actually going to go or what I would actually do.  There was good skiing and an FIS 10km Free Sprint in Saariselka and good Biathlon Training in Muonio but no races until I was going back home.  Since my ultimate focus is Biathlon. Kept my eyes on the Ball and came to Muonio.  Luckily the Finnish team has taken me in and made great training opportunities and actually competed in two ” Biathlon Races”  Both with a small but World Class Field.

There has been great training despite a couple of hundred National Team Biathletes and Skiers zooming around the track. With Teams having Internal Races at all times of the day with all types of courses.  Olos is a great place to train or visit if you like to ski. It is the Finnish equivalent of West Yellowstone. Today I was having lunch with Heikki Ikola, a Legend in Biathlon. He iterated that he has spent at least one week of the last 40 years doing ski training here.

img_0010This weekend are second series of FIS races in Lapland Finland.

Too bad that I won’t be here to race and cheer on fellow Americans from the Maine Winter Sports Center.

Wish them  Good Luck !!

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img_0002The Finns have been skiing here for over 3 weeks on  5 km of good tracks.  This is the remnants of a snow “bank” that they created last winter and withdrew from last month to make  a 5km Ski track with great terrain for kids, families, ant the  serious local athlete to World Cup athletes. They made 2 piles  of snow covered them with wood chips. Then spread it out this fall.  It costs about 70,000Euro for all of this. It is great seeing the young kids, old men and women to the World Cup Contenders using this loop 80% which out and back. Using at all times of the and night.

img_0005Here is the ski track.  As you can see it is awesome for skate and classic Technique. It seems to be groomed once a day at night. Now that I don’t have to work all day I can do some classic skiing besides skating. I will stay here for a couple of days then head deep into Lapland for some time trials and races.

img_0005_2Catching up with some old training buddies.

The question is why can’t we have this any where in the US?

Oh well! Back to the track!!


Every October who’s who in US Biathlon has congregated in area around Soldier Hollow for their last preseason Camp.  This was my first visit to this area.   It is a great place to train. There is a World Class Biathlon Rollerski Facility and awesome roads and and trails for rollerskiing, mtn biking, trail running, and road biking. Although I was only out here for short duration it was a great training experience. No wonder the US Ski Team is based out here. Besides the obligatory BIathlon Training at Soldier Hollow there were Rollerski, Mtn Bike adventures.  Unfortunately, or fortunately now I have huge to do list in the Greater Park City area.

The "Punisher" Tim BurkeJesse Downs Blake Hillerson

Tim Burke

“The Punisher”

cruising over the main hill at Soldier Hollow

in our 20km Race.

He is definitely in good form coming into theseason.

Jesse Downs (left ) Powering to another excellent result.  A member of the US Army World Class Athlete Program and  Vermont National Guard. He has overcome great adversity  and returned to world class form.

Just missing selection to the World Cup Biathlon Trip.

Blake Hillerson  the “Minnesota Machine” from the North Dakota National Guard representing  the National Guard

Biathlon Team(above)

Jacked UpJacked Up Suffering

Large Group Mtn Biking  Jeremy Loop


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Due to unforeseen circumstances Jason and I had to contest the rollerski race at the at the Center for Success.   We set the toll road for world record pace. Jason thought it was imperative that he wear a safety harness. Even though he was sporting the four wheeled rocket skis.img_0012-12img_00172

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Whiteface Running Race June 2009
dsc_0396Instead of getting the adrenaline rush of starting a race up my favorite mountain on a road I consider my driveway. Contesting a race that has been the sole focus of all my summer and fall suffering. Arace that I have been trying to figure a a way to get to the start line for the last 8 weeks. It is true that 50% of Winning is starting the race.

This morning I am relegated to continued training on the Skatemill on the “Virtual Whiteface” aka the “Punisher” at the Center for Success.

Luckily the worst fate that awaits me today is that I will not be able to defend my title as Winner of this race.

Having the race midweek unfortunately makes it very hard to attend.  It was not possible to get the day off at work this year. Last year I was on an Active Duty Deployment in Boston and I convinced my Commander to let me take a leave day to race it was on a Monday. The first race was held on a weekend or I probably would not have won it at all. It actually probably makes it near impossible for other working Stiff’s,  and High School and College Students.

Realizing that as incredulous as it sounds that I had fallen victim to a Nefarious plot  to stop me from racing. 20 years prior  when I contested Continental Cup Ski Races the Coaches and Athletes were screaming do not get beat by the Biathlete. Now the mantra is do not get beat by that old master biathlete who should be working rather then trying to race against younger stronger fitter skiers.

Anonymous sources close to the decision to hold a Week Day race versus a Weekend Race  have indicated that it is John Farra who is behind this decision.  Would it be possible that he still holds a grudge against me from when I would not let him eat ice cream before going to bed when I was babysitting him.

This year I tried to get the day off. That was not in the cards. So I arranged to take call today which I work from 5pm till 7am. The thought was that I would drive, get flown up by a friend, or charter a plane to Lake Placid after the workday was over on Tuesday. Race in am and head 268 miles back to Rochester in order to work the whole night.

This was a plan for failure if not then maybe 2 weeks down the line when I toe the line for the next series of Biathlon Races in Utah.

The new motto is Train for Success not Train to Failure .

So even last night I had to resist the strong urge to continue driving to Lake Placid instead of heading home disappointed that I am no tracing this am.