Sunday, January 16, 2011

First week back on the World Cup

IN a matter of minutes I will be off to the next stop on the tour - beautiful Antholz/Anterselva Italy in the South Tyrolian region. But before I go, here are a few thoughts from my first week back on the World Cup this year.

In an interview I was asked how yesterday's 10km Pursuit went:  It feels right to be back on the World Cup. I don't take any race for granted and even though I didn't shoot well, I skied well and held on the best I could. I only made one Pursuit race last year, so to do it right off the bat, I was more than happy to be on the startline. 

Biathlon in Ruhpolding, Germany is a bit of biathlon on steriods: the venue can pack up to 30,000 spectators (loud, drunken, braut-eating, horn-blowing, flag-waving, cheering spectators), the course feels like you are skiing on a highway they are so wide, these are the steepest hills we climb that they are aptly referred to as "walls" and "waterfalls" and this year's new downhill felt like you came out of the sky like a falling star.  I started out the week with an Individual Race - 15km, 4 shooting stages, 1-minute penalties per miss, then followed by a Sprint - 7.5km, 2 shootings, penalty loops, and Pursuit - 10km, rapid fire starts, 4 shooting stages, penalty loops. I felt better with each race on the course because I am happy with where my overall fitness is at this point in the year and feel confident in my technique to adapt to world-class level courses. This is the best I've felt racing in January in a long time and with each week I work to build on that momentum. I was inconsistent with shooting, with some great elements and some unfocused shots. I am okay with that for this week. It was good to have some non-Trials races to work back into racing at this level. My shooting speed, process and range times are competitive, so now it is only a matter of hitting a "10" - the center of the target. 

Looking forward, I am really glad about a good set of upcoming races: Antholz World Cup, followed by 2 US WORLD CUPS! This will be the highest level of competition I will have raced on home soil. The season is starting to unfold after a disciplined and solid track from NorAms to IBU Cups to back on the World Cup.

Super psyched to hear about Kikkan Randall's and Pete Frenette's great performances this week! I'll get in some good Eurosport time next week and hope to watch some more. Lake Placid's Supertour went well and there was plenty of snow! The kids I work with at the local elementary school even got watch! 
All together, all is well.

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