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Archive for December, 2010

Training over the break

Friday, December 31st, 2010

Almost 30 hours, one brick of ammo, and several boxes of PowerBars after my last post, I find myself at the tail end of my Christmas break/ski vacation in Ridnaun. It was a focused yet rewarding block of training. Despite some adverse weather during the first week of our stay (the only time I’ve ever been in Ridnaun and not seen the sun!), things turned around by the end of the week and we’ve had nothing but sun and perfect tracks every day since. It’s incredible to see how many people turn out on a daily basis to ski the trails that traverse up and down the valley. I was also in awe to discover how accessible the mountain peaks are around here by numerous trails diverging off the more frequented footpaths. It makes me want to come back in the summertime to spend a week hiking and running these trails!

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Ridnaun

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

I’m in Ridnaun, Italy for the next two weeks, but there’s no Schneeberg Hotel dessert buffet this time! Instead of staying at the choicest spa hotel in the area, a short walk from the biathlon range, I’ve opted to stay about a kilometer down the valley in an inn where, for a fraction of the cost, I can prepare my own meals and still ski out the door. Besides, this place reminds me of home, what with the pony, peacock, and pig occupying the paddock outside my window and cats crawling around all over the place.

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Pokljuka Individual

Friday, December 17th, 2010

For a while it seemed like might be putting together a race like the one I started out with this year in Ostersund. I would have been pleased with a repeat of that one! But unfortunately, the range presented a handful of problems to me yesterday. Of course, we got lucky racing later in the day when the wind was less erratic than during the men’s race. For us, it was easier to compensate for changes with just a few clicks in one direction or another, and yes, that is both directions, because the wind constantly switched!

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A Tough Race

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Yesterday’s pursuit race was a tough one in many respects but a learning experience nonetheless, although that’s the kind of line, at times, one hates to have to admit. Interestingly, there is a new start format to the pursuit that removes the responsibility from the “starter” for the athlete to leave the gate on time and places it completely on the athlete. Rather than being restrained by the hand or arm of a person at the front the lane, we are required to know our exact start time and leave the gate when we see that number on the clock. The officials will open up to five starting lanes to enable this to run smoothly, but an early start is penalized with a 30-second addition to one’s final time. Luckily, in our team, we’ve experienced no mishaps so far.

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In Pursuit of Points

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

As predicted, at least 30cm of fresh snow accumulated in Hochfilzen between Thursday night and Friday morning, and the snow kept on falling straight through the men’s and women’s races. One thing is certain: I shouldn’t have ditched my snow shield for a pair of glasses when the storm briefly abated during zeroing. Luckily, I was able to see well enough throughout the entire race, although at times I relied on the visual contrast of the pine fronds stuck on the sides of the trail to keep me on the proper course.

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Seeing the Sun Again…in Hochfilzen, Austria!

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010

It has been just a few days since we left Sweden but already we’re starting to sense the feeling—or resulting loss thereof—return to our fingers. The previous week in Sweden was a bitterly cold one, with temperatures never getting higher than -11C (only on one day though; usually they were closer to -18C), but at least in our room, the one I share with teammate Sara Studebaker, morale remained high. As most of you know, we also had to cope with a parasite in the water and had to boil all of the water we drank and used to brush our teeth. I still catch myself reaching for the pitcher we kept next to the sink when I am about to brush my teeth here in Austria. The sun also sets in Sweden quite early with light fading by 3:30pm every day, so we had become accustomed to doing our afternoon training sessions in the dark (the stadium, however, is so well lit that you can see the reflection of the lights on the sky about it from miles away). Upon reaching Hochfilzen the sun illuminating our curtains by 8am and almost blinding us with its intensity was even welcome.

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