Tuesday, December 18, 2007

From Montana to Alaska

My week training in West Yellowstone, Montana was great. With two feet of snow on the ground and very few people on the trails, skiing was amazing. I was tired following the races in Canmore so I took the days leading up to the second set of NorAm's pretty easy. As a team we did some technique work and spent the rest of the training time testing skis and doing easy distance skiing. In the sprint race on the 1st of December I had four penalties and skied well considering having slept poorly the night prior to the race. The highlight of that race was finishing just one tenth of a second behind a 2006 Olympic team member. In the pursuit the following day I shot well, hitting 70% of my targets. I didn’t ski as fast as I had hoped going into the NorAm competitions, but it’s early in the season and those were my first two weekends of biathlon racing ever. I just missed qualifying for the European Cup Team so I’ll be racing domestically in January rather than overseas. I don’t yet have a competition schedule nailed down, but that information should be up within the next few days.

After the races in Montana, I hopped a plane to Alaska to visit my family and I’ve been working odd jobs and training in Anchorage since I arrived on the 10th. The snow conditions are pretty dismal everywhere except on the hillside at higher elevations. Unfortunately that will limit my ability to shoot and do combo training – probably until I get to the peninsula - and that also means my running shoes have gotten quite a bit of attention this past week. While not a perfect situation, things could definitely be worse. I’ll be here in Anchorage until this coming weekend when I’ll head south to spend Christmas at my parent’s home on the Kenai Peninsula.

This afternoon I biked out on the Coastal Trail and the photo below is one of the images I captured. In the foreground are small icebergs thrown up on the beach.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

North American Cup Races

Hello everybody (y hola a mi familia en Costa Rica - gracias por visitando mi pagina). I had my first races of the season this past weekend. Consequently, they were also my first biathlon races on snow ever. The temperatures stayed very cold throughout the week and on the morning of the first race were hovering around the cut-off temperature of -20 degrees C or -4 degrees F. The 10 K sprint start was delayed one hour in order to let the temperatures warm a degree or two, but other than that the day came off without a hitch. My race was yet another learning experience and definitely had some high and low points. I skied well but my range times were slower than many of the other racers and I missed 7 of 10 shots. Each penalty loop is roughly 150 meters so I spent a substantial amount of time going in circles. Regardless though, I finished 9th and learned some important lessons.

Sunday was a 12.5 K pursuit format race where we skied five 2.5K loops and shot twice prone and twice standing. I recorded seven penalties out of twenty, which was an improvement over Saturday's sprint. I stayed in 9th place in the pursuit. Overall I was happy with how the first weekend of racing played itself out.

Monday of this week I traveled with the team to Bozeman, Montana and then from there to West Yellowstone, MT. We arrived in a white-out snowstorm and were happy to find nearly two feet of snow on the ground and substantially warmer temperatures. We race tomorrow and Saturday so I'm excited to get in the start gate again.