Saturday, January 17, 2009

Ruhpolding, Germany


On Monday, my teammates and I traveled south from Oberhof to Ruhpolding. Deep in southern Germany, Ruhpolding is on the cusp of the Alps. Our hotel sits below Raushberg, a 1670m mountain with a tram that runs to the top. This is another low snow year, but the towering rocky mountains look just as majestic. I took a jog this morning around 10 am along the river near our hotel and people were already starting to walk to the venue, some 5km from town.

Nice weather here.

Looking up at Rauschberg.

Looking down into the Ruhpolding valley.
As foretold by the early spectators, Ruhpolding is also a major biathlon venue. The place is packed in German style: pungent smells of sauerkraut, brats and beer linger in the course and range, flags (some outstretched on long fishing poles) are waved wildly, and fans are eager to take your photo and ask for your autograph. I watched my first World Cup here three years ago. Standing amidst the crowds and watching the race, I couldn’t have told you that I would race here myself only three years later. Here is a view of the main grandstands that year, which is exactly how it looks now - the venue is pack with some 26,000 fans for each race:
My teammate, BethAnn and I watching the race in 2006.

One of the jumbo screens featuring the shooting range, and here retired Frenchman, Poiree.
A view through the tunnel and up to, what is referred to as the “wall.” Aptly named, because it is so steep!

It is another enjoyable week here. As I type, I am watching our men’s relay team race to their best finish ever! They were 9th in the Olympics in 2006 in Torino, Italy. They have worked hard to get back to that standing ever since. Lowell Bailey, “scrambled”, started the relay for the team and by the time Tim Burke handed off to the final leg, they were in 4th!! All of our parents have become pretty computer savvy and have been up to watch our races online, like you did, at home. Tim’s parents even host “biathlon breakfasts.” They ended with a victorious 5th as Jeremy Teela, the final leg crossed the finish line.

My Sprint race is on Friday at 2:30pm. It is exciting to be on such a successful team, and I hope to carry on this momentum in my own race. Ciao!

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