Monday, December 20, 2010

Caution "Flying" Children: Racing at Mt. Itasca

Caution “Flying” Children is my favorite sign at Coleraine, MN’s Mt. Itasca ski center. On Saturday a ski jumping meet coincided with our Sprint race, and in addition to some more kids boarding on the adjacent alpine hill it was an ideal winter scene. Plus, the sight of little kids jumping mere meters on the "small" jump was priceless. I unfortunately didn’t get any photos of those tykes because it took me longer than normal at our post-race doping control and I missed it by the time I filled my cup.

Our IBU Cup Team Trials at Mt. Itasca finished up with a pursuit format 10km on Sunday. It was a good week of training and racing in Minnesota and I am happy to report my mission was accomplished. I accomplished it in more ways than one and am glad to move on to the next step: the IBU Cups and January World Cup Team Trials in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. As I mentioned in the interview, I really enjoyed skiing the technical and hilly terrain. My first biathlon and nordic coach, Kris Cheney Seymour designed these trails in 2002. The tight, turny, technical trails of his home ski area – Dewey Mtn. – and the trail layout of Mt. Van Hoevenberg’s Porter Mtn. helped inspire the biathlon specific loops. Basically, I felt quite at home and enjoyed finding the best line around the corners and up the steep and canted hills. That is what I think makes ski racing fun. 

The field size was small, but the races were still competitive and no matter the conditions every second counts. It might not have made too big of a difference this past week, but I know mere seconds can get you into World Cup points, into a pursuit or just behind a faster skier or a better shooter to compete with in another realm of racing. Racing well this week has definitely given me confidence in my fitness level and has been a great affirmation of the beauty of "Plan B" and an alternate start to the season. 

Wynn Roberts started the Pursuit on Sunday and too will be headed to Nove Mesto in a few weeks.

Pushing up and over one of the many hills. 


Thanks to Andrea Mayo and MWSC for photos of us skiing. And a big shout out to Chelsea Little of Fasterskier and Craftsbury Green Racing Project for giving biathlon unparalleled coverage in the US this season. I think she's done a great job covering our sport, both domestically and international, and created a window into the world of US biathlon. Thanks!

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