Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Overall - a good start to the season.

The Sprint race was a lot of fun and a bit more exciting for me than the Individual. I shot very well in prone, missing only one target in standing, and skiing competitively made me feel that I really can perform at this high level of racing – that I belong here. I wasn’t thinking about the end result for this race, but was thinking about the process of the race: my shooting, my ski technique, my race strategy, and what I will think in my head while racing etc. I finished in 47th place and by race’s end, I was in 56th. These numbers are important in this race because only the top 60 will continue on to the pursuit (read down below about the definition of the pursuit race.) Also, I am shooting for (ha, no pun intendedJ ) two top 50 results during this first month of World Cups. This will pre-qualify me for the US World Championship team and the competitions in PyeongChang, South Korea. Below are just a few photos. I am hoping to get some more from teammates, from today’s pursuit race.

I finished the Sprint race just in time to see my teammate, Tracy Barnes, finish her race. The four of us here (women) compete individually, but in the next two World Cups we will race in 2 relays, where it will take all 4 of us together to have a good result for the US.

(Sorry for the blurry photo) China wins! This is historic and I believe the first time a Chinese biathlete has won a biathlon World Cup. It makes me think about what it must be like for them after having hosted the Olympics only a few months ago and the importance their country puts on medaling in sport events.

I feel very lucky to be skiing on such good snow; it is a winter wonderland here. This photo is on a run near my hotel around 11am. You can see how low the sun is in the horizon, about 3 hours before it will start to set.

In the Pursuit race I started number 56th and just 2:20 minutes behind the leader. It was an exhilarating race! I had a lot of fun shooting and skiing well. Coming into the final shooting stage I was in 45th, right behind France’s top biathlete. I was a bit nervous, because in these races every second, every shot is precious. I missed my first shot, hit my second, then preceded to miss the next three. Ahh! Despite the bad last stage, I skied a competitive last loop and finished 54th to round off the first week of the World Cup circuit.

The World Cup is in a different location each week, so each Monday every team caravans by bus, car and plane to the next location. On the 8th, my team and I flew from Ostersund to Munich, Germany, then took a bus to the Tirolian region of Austria. The next two World Cups are in Hochfilzen, and we will be staying in a small town lower in the valley called Fieberbrunn. I am not too far from Kitzbuhel - a famous alpine race course.

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