Another successful weekend of racing. This past weekend the NorAm circuit made its way to Lake Placid for two days of great racing. Two weeks ago there was barely enough snow to train and it looked like the races would have to be shortened or even moved. Then, as often happens in the east, the weather changed and we got dumped on. By the middle of last week we were digging the van out of the snow bank every morning.
Saturday's race was a 10 kilometer sprint. When I woke a little after 6 am, the temperature was hovering somewhere between 10 and 15 degrees below zero. Races are canceled if the temperature dips below -4 degrees so we wondered if the race would even happen. Officials decided to run the races as planned so we zeroed our rifles at 8 and prepared to start at 9. I think the temperature probably was reading somewhere between -3.9 and -4 when I started because it took a while to work into the race. The body is similar to a car when it comes to really cold weather in that you have to warm both up for longer than usual. Despite the cold, I felt strong throughout the race and finished in 2nd place, a mere 6 seconds out of 1st. I missed one shot in the prone stage and two standing to finish the day with a 70% average. I was really excited to have put such a solid race together. The picture below was taken during the awards ceremony. On Sunday we raced a 15 kilometer mass start, which equates to five laps of 3 kilometers each and four shooting stages - two prone and two standing. This was the first mass start in my short career as a biathlete so I was excited to be mixing it up off the line with the whole pack. The temperature was much more cooperative than it had been on Saturday, but the wind kicked up early and by race time it was gusting somewhere between 30 and 60 miles per hour. That renders most outdoor endeavors challenging, but at times it made shooting seem nearly futile. I ended the day with 12 missed shots of 20, but still managed to finish on the podium. There were a few racers who shot better than 50%, but the majority counted themselves lucky to be in that ballpark. That was definitely one of the most challenging raced that I've competed in this year and it will go down as one of the most memorable of the season and perhaps of my career as a skier.
I'm spending the week training here in Lake Placid in preparation for more races this weekend in La Patrie, Quebec. We'll drive north on Friday and spend the weekend racing. Check back in a few days for a recap of the racing and in the meantime, get outside and have an adventure!