Friday, February 20, 2015

Biathlon Fans Hungary

I have some fans in Hungary! This fan club cheers for all the "underdogs", including athletes from countries like the US, where biathlon is not a very popular sport (yet!).

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Putting Oslo Behind, Moving Onto World Championships

Sunday proved to be another rough day for me in Oslo. Our women's relay started off well, with Susan Dunklee using only two spare rounds and skiing the fastest course time for the first leg to tag off in 6th place. But that was the closest we ever made it to the front of the race. Hannah Dreissigacker, Annelies Cook and I each had two penalty laps. As I skied my second penalty lap, the winning team from the Czech Republic lapped us and crossed the finish line, so I was pulled from the course and was not allowed to finish. With the exception of Susan's race, this was not the kind of performance that any of us aspired to as we prepare for World Championships. (See US Biathlon's race recap of the relay, here, and World Championships roster announcement, here.)

I am trying to focus on the few good things that I did this weekend, even if they were very few. My prone shooting is consistently solid and my ski times are getting faster as I race more. The third component of biathlon, my standing shooting, needs major improvement, but I did hit four out of five targets in one stage of the individual race, so I know the skills are there. We have a few weeks now to practice before World Championships begin in Kantiolahti, Finland on March 4th. I am grateful for the example of my more-experienced teammates and the guidance of US Biathlon's world-class staff, for helping me keep my head above water. Onto World Championships!





Sunday, February 15, 2015

Update from Oslo

Right now I am in Oslo for World Cup 8. I am working my way up from the very bottom, which gives me an exceptional opportunity to improve. So far this week I did a 15k individual format race which had 4 shooting stages, and a 7.5k sprint format race with two shooting stages.

In the individual I was 82nd with six misses [1p, 1s, 1p, 3s]. I was disappointed with the last stage but otherwise content. Then in the sprint, I narrowly avoided getting last place, finishing 91st with six misses! Six misses out of ten targets is not good. I am trying to focus on what was good, which was the work I did on the course and on the range. I did everything on my checklist and stayed in control the whole time. My misses were really close so I just have to be a tiny bit more precise. I have another opportunity to race today in the women's relay. I will go last for our team and we will try to improve upon our 12th place relay finish from World Cup 6. You can tune in live at 6:15am EST (or replay later) at: http://www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu/index.html

My friend Ley, who lives in Oslo, came to cheer!
My parents are here too! Here they are with my teammate  Susan.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

World Cup Sprint in Nove Mesto

On Saturday, I competed in the 7.5k sprint at World Cup 7 in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. It was so loud in the stadium that I had to shout to make myself heard over the noise makers and screaming! It sounded like a World Cup soccer stadium.

Stadium on my race day in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic
It was a great day for racing. I felt good as I warmed up, and it was a beautiful, sunny day with tons of fans lining the course. I was the 84th starter out of a field of 87, so other women were already finishing before I started. As I shook out my legs in the starting pen, I got to cheer on my teammates as the came into the shooting range. A TV camera stared me in the face as I toed the line, which was a first!

I had a fast first lap and despite huge hills out on the course, I came into the range for my prone shooting stage in control and hit all five targets! This was awesome, but not surprising for me. I have been hitting all my prone targets in practice lately and would have been disappointed if I did anything less than that on race day.
Photo: Guy Egan
My brother Guy stayed up until 4am to watch my race!
I left the range in about 30th place, but lost a lot of time to the faster skiers on my second lap and came into the range in the 40's. (All this info is on the IBU website's Datacenter, for statistic nerds out there.) And then disaster struck and I only hit one standing target! I have made a huge improvement in my standing shooting lately and have seen the results in practice, but the extra physical and mental stress of the race made my rifle move more than normal and I didn't do a good job controlling it. I know I can do better, and I will have three chances to do so next weekend at World Cup 8 in Oslo, Norway!
That's me on the stadium jumbo screen!
(And a person on the lower left, for scale)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Training Camp in Inzell, Germany

While most of the European World Cup racers have returned to their home countries, we have staked out our own home-away-from-home in Inzell, Germany. One of our wax techs has a family connection to the Rauschbergblick Gasthof so the team often comes and stays here when there are breaks in the competition schedule. There is over half a meter of snow and the skiing is amazing! Tomorrow we are shooting at the World Cup venue in Ruhpolding, which is the next town over. We are here until next Tuesday, when we'll depart for Nove Mesto, Czech Republic for our next weekend of races. Here are a few pictures from Inzell.

Freddie the Pferd
Tons of snow and beautiful trails in the valley 
Me skiing in the sun! 
The view from our cabin
Hannah, Sean and Lowell soaking up the sun

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

USBA Roster for World Cups 7 & 8

I am headed to Nove Mesto, Czech Republic and Oslo, Norway for World Cups 7 & 8! Here is a link to US Biathlon's official press release.