Thursday, December 25, 2014

US Biathlon Team Names IBU Cup Team

It IS a Merry Christmas!!!

US Biathlon officially named me to the IBU Team for January 2015! Read the full release, here.

Racing in Canmore, AB in December, 2014.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

IBU Cup Trials

I competed at IBU Cup trials in Coleraine, MN last week. The event consisted of four races in five days! Overall the trials did not go as well as I had hoped, but I had two solid races in which I shot 70% and finished first and second. The important thing is that based on my performance in the trials I was selected to the IBU Cup team, which will travel to Europe in January for a series of races one level below the World Cup. It will be the highest level of racing I've ever done and I can't wait!

A foggy day at the range.
I won the final race of the trials.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

GRP at World Cup and NorAm Cup

Green Racing Project biathletes kicked off the racing season last week with Susan Dunklee and Hannah Dreissigacker representing Craftbsury and Team USA at the World Cup in Ă–stersund, Sweden, and Michael Gibson and Ethan Dreissigacker joining me in Canmore, AB, Canada at the NorAm Cup. Here's a link to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center's summary article about our accomplishments.

Ethan leads the men's NorAm Cup mass start into the range.

Monday, December 8, 2014

2nd Race, 1st Place!

In Sunday's mass start, I shot clean in prone (10/10 hits) and then missed 2 in both of the standing stages for a total of 16/20 hits, or 80% shooting. I've hit 80% a couple of times in a 2-stage race but never in a 4-stage race, so this was a success for me. I still have a lot of work to do on my shooting, especially standing, but it feels good to have two races under my belt as I head to IBU Cup trials in Minnesota next weekend. There were 298 competitors at this NorAm Cup, making it the largest biathlon race in North America ever. It was fun to be a part of the action!

It was a beautiful, sunny day in Canmore and Jakob Ellingson, a biathlete from Minnesota, took great pictures of the whole scene. Check out the rest of his album, here.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

1st Race, 2nd Place

Here I am with Julia Ransom (Biathlon Alberta) 1st,
and Emma Lunder (B.A.) 3rd 
I shot clean in prone today and then went on to miss 3 in standing. Tomorrow we have a 12.5k mass start race. Both the 1st and 3rd place finishers from today are headed to Europe tomorrow for IBU Cup racing, so the competition opens up a bit. I hope to at least match but ideally improve upon my 70% shooting from today, and there is room for faster skiing too. Here are the results from today.

And here are some lovely pictures, courtesy of my US Biathlon teammate, Maddie Phaneuf.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Season is Upon Us

The racing season, of course! I am in Canmore, Alberta for my first biathlon races of the season. Since trials in October, I survived enough cold, rainy training days to fulfill my lifetime quota and have resolved to move out of the northeast! 

(I am taking suggestions on places to live that satisfy the following criteria:
  • urban access
  • snow access
  • water access, ideally swimmable
  • predominant sunshine
So far the only place I can come up with is Truckee, CA, but there is possibly also a contender in the southern France/Pyrenees region.)

This is my second trip to Canmore, and first for racing. I came with the GRP two years ago for an October training trip on the "Frozen Thunder" man-made snow loop. Canmore is a sunny place, but very cold. It has been in the single-digits since I arrived three days ago, which I am viewing as acclimatization for my next racing destination: northern Minnesota.

Today we took a trip into Banff National Park, where we skied on Moraine Lake Road. The road is closed in winter except to skier traffic, and it is lined with tall, snow-covered pines. There is a moraine lake at the end, but I've never made it all the way there. There are continuous gorgeous views of the Canadian Rockies, including this one featuring the Lake Louise alpine World Cup venue:

And here is a picture of Lake Louise, covered in snow:

Find info and results for the NorAm races this Saturday and Sunday, December 6 & 7, here

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Pictures from Fall

Cool classic skiing technique in Utah in early October. 
Shaping young minds at the Fast & Female event in Park City, UT.
I titled my portion of the clinic "girls with guns."
Hiking Mt. Timpanogos was a training camp highlight.
US Biathlon women's team does Halloween!
November 7th: Snow in Lake Placid!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fall Rollerski Trials

On October 25th and 26th, I competed in the second set of biathlon rollerski races that serve as qualifiers for the early season World Cup races. My coaches and I agreed beforehand that regardless of my result, my plan for November and December would be to stay and gain racing experience in North America, so rather than feeling pressure to qualify, I felt I had a stress-free opportunity to practice what I've been working on for the past few months. 

On the range at trials in August. (Photo Fasterskier)

I skied pretty fast in the first race, but missed a frustrating five out of ten targets! I thought I did good work on the range, but did not get the result I was looking for. From what I can tell, this is a common paradox in biathlon. As a runner or cross-country skier, you either try your hardest and can be proud of your result, or you don't and can't. In biathlon, that direct correlation between effort and result is not always there. The good news is that despite my bad result, I managed to stay positive because I felt like the work I did was good. My plan for the second race was to execute on the range exactly the same way I did on the first race with just a touch more control and precision. (Those are two skills that I am catching up on, coming from my endurance sport background. I am used to trying to shut off my brain as soon as possible in a race- the earlier the better- in order to push my body beyond my mind's artificial limit. But in biathlon, you have to use your brain.)

The second race went better. I only missed two shots. I found myself disappointed because I lost focus on the very last last target and missed. So there you have it: I thought I did good work on Saturday but shot poorly, and shot better on Sunday but was disappointed with the work...

Overall the trials process was very positive. I learned something in each of the four races and had podium finishes in three of them. 

Here is an article from the October trials. Watch the video and you can see me shooting next to my teammate Susan at 1:26. She cleaned and I missed one.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Six Biathletes Receive National Team Promotions

...and I'm one of them! Fasterskier explains the new US Biathlon development system and where I fit in, here.

Rollerski biathlon trials in August. (Photo Fasterskier)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A Smoking Gun

Don't miss this great article on FasterSkier about my transition from cross-country skiing into biathlon

“I didn’t switch to biathlon because I was bad at skiing — I switched to biathlon because I was good at skiing and because I like money, European men and the smell of a smoking gun.”

Photo Gordon Vermeer/Flickr

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Testing Week

I just wrapped up a two-week stay at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, during which my US Biathlon teammates and I completed a series of physical and shooting tests designed to benchmark our training progress. In a departure from the long hours of low-intensity training that we usually do this time of year, for about a week we alternated between racing one day and taking the next day easy or off. The races included a 10k rollerski biathlon, 3k rollerski, and an uphill running time trial with 1300ft of elevation gain. We also did strength circuits and testing, technique work on the OTC's rollerski treadmill, high intensity badminton (that was actually just me), and two shooting tests which were scored for both time and accuracy.

Here is an article from FasterSkier about the uphill running time trial. This was my second time doing it, and I smashed my own course record by over a minute! That was not quite fast enough to beat Susan Dunklee, though, who edged me by one second!

(Photo FasterSkier)

Monday, September 22, 2014

First Day of Fall

Tomorrow we celebrate the autumnal equinox. Fall is not my favorite season (winter is), but this fall I have several things to look forward to:
  • US Biathlon Team fall training camp in Heber, Utah 9/27-10/10
  • Bowling at Holiday Lanes in Heber
  • Residency at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid starting 10/15. (I'll have my own dedicated bedroom there where I can keep stuff. This pleases me mostly because it means I can buy and store laundry detergent.)
  • Bowling at Bowl Winkels in Lake Placid
  • Rollerski biathlon trials in Jericho, VT 10/25-26
  • Bowling at Spare Time in Colchester, VT

Training in Jericho in August. (Photo Jakob Ellingson)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Biathlon Haiku

A Five-Leaf Clover
found at the biathlon range
one leaf for each shot

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Black Fly Biathlon

New strategy for tolerating the intense insect activity at the range:

My American Birkibeiner shirt lends itself well to the image.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Year, New Socks

The "new year" is upon us.  I did my first roller-ski intervals yesterday, and a running time trial today.  Ah, that moment when you realize that the 2-mile loop you did at 5:45/mile pace was actually only 1.7 miles and you were running 6:45's.  'Tis the training season.

There are three reasons for celebration at this time. That's saying a lot for someone who hates training season almost as much as running up mountains in the heat of July while others are barbecuing (oh, wait...). The first cause for celebration is that I replaced all of my socks.

Now when I say all, I mean the 5.5 pairs of socks that have been with me every day for the last three summers of roller-skiing, running, hiking, and biking, rain or shine, blood, sweat and tears. How eleven out of twelve of my original crew sock crew-- purchased while en route to Craftsbury with the hope of making my introduction to roller-skiing less painful-- survived marathons upon marathons of physical wear and abuse is a mystery.

The second cause for celebration is that I am at my first training camp with the US biathlon team. This spring I was nominated to their new "development group", which gives me the opportunity to work with the national team coaches and participate in some of the team's camps this summer. I am still based in Craftsbury and I train with the GRP as often as I can when I'm there, but my training plan is now biathlon-focussed and is written by the US biathlon team coaches. It is a very exciting development for me because it is what I need in order to become a better biathlete.

I also bought a new rifle. It has tiger stripes.

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Backlog Blog

"Skijoring with Satchel"
February 2014 in Brimley, MI
at my uncle Pat Egan's house on Lake Superior

The end of March marked the end of the racing season and the beginning of vacation! After a week in the San Francisco Bay area visiting friends and family, I am now home in Maine relaxing and catching up on things like uploading the above video from February. 

After Biathlon Nationals wrapped up in mid-March, I flew to Anchorage, Alaska with a group of eight GRP skiers for Super Tour Finals. I was very excited to compete at STF for two reasons: 1) Biathlon nationals did not go quite as well as I had hoped, so I was happy to have another chance at ending my season on a better note, and 2) Having sat out of the Super Tour this year in order to focus on biathlon racing, I was thrilled to have a chance to compete with all the best domestic skiers again.

I got 2nd place in all 3 races at Biathlon Nationals.
There was not a cloud in the ski the entire time we were in Anchorage. It looked like this:

All my races at STF were solid, with my best performance coming in the 4x5km relay. It was the first time I've competed in a relay since college, and it was a welcome break from individual competition. I loved being able to compete with my teammates instead of against them! The format was mixed gender and technique; on my team Alex Schulz classic skied to start us off, then Liz Guiney classic skied, and then Andrew Dougherty and I skated. I had the 6th fastest split for the fourth relay leg. Another achievement for the week was surviving the 30k classic mass start (a perennial struggle-fest for me), despite the fact that it was my only classic race over 1km this entie winter. Not surprisingly I suffered a major muscular crisis about 4k into the first lap, but managed to recover just in time to pick up the pace on my last lap and avoid repeating my "reverse podium"finish from last year. Then I and my leg muscles enjoyed the men's 50k race from the comfort of the trailside hot tub (purely therapeutic).

The STF trip was a perfect way to bring the season to a close. My visit to California on the way back  East was also pretty nice...

...But nothing beats being home! Check back soon for an update on my plans for the coming year. Thanks for reading.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

US Biathlon Championships

Right now I am hanging out with my mom at the Williston Village B&B, which is owned by my biathlon coach, Algis. My mom came up from her house in Florida to watch US Biathlon Championships which are being held this weekend at Ethan Allen in Jericho, VT.

Yesterday we had a 15k individual race. In this race format, instead of penalty loops, you get a one-minute penalty for each missed shot. I had good skiing but mediocre shooting and came away with 9 misses (2, 3, 0, 4). I was happy with the one clean stage but that's about it! I had the fastest skiing of the day by one minute, but that wasn't enough to make for all my penalty time. Katrina Howe of Maine Winter Sports Center won the race with six misses.

Tonight we have the sprint competition (under the lights!) and on Sunday we have a mass start. Check back for more updates soon!

Happy to have the weekend's longest race behind me.

Standing shooting

Tired at the finish line!

Podium ceremony with Katrina Howe in 1st, me in 2nd, and Hilary Saucy in 3rd.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Happy Martenitsa!

Martenitsa celebrates the coming of spring. Bulgarians wear red and white bracelets (like this one that my coach, Pepa, gave me this morning at practice,) starting March first to welcome the oncoming spring. Then the next time you see a stork you hang it on the stork and make a wish... If you don't see a stork you can substitute a fruit tree. Or just hang it on any tree on March 21st, which is the vernal equinox and the first day of spring.
Here's to a long snowy winter!!! (And a happy spring.)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

From Nove Mesto to Hayward

Our final race in Nove Mesto went much better for me. I skied faster than any of the other women, and had a better day on the range. In prone I shot (0, 1), which is only the second time I have ever "cleaned" (0 misses) in a race, and also reflects how I shoot prone in practice. In standing, I shot (4, 2). I was not confident or steady at all on my first stage and just shot poorly. But I really pulled it together for the second stage, and although I still missed two, I executed the process really well; they were five good shots, in a good cadence, with fast work on the range. The trip did not go as planned with our races getting canceled, but it was still a positive experience and another trip like that in the future, without insane weather, would be valuable.

After wrapping up the final race in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, I woke up at 4am and began my journey back to the US. I had a hop flight from Munich to Amsterdam, and then a larger "hop" from Amsterdam to Minneapolis. Upon arrival in the great Midwest, our GRP wax tech, Nick, picked me, my giant 63-pound ski bag, and my rifle up at the airport and delivered "us" to the lovely home of my teammate, Gordon, where the rest of my teammates had been based for the St. Paul SuperTour races. After refueling on yogurt, crunchy vegetables, vitamin C-rich fruits, and other such foods from which you are deprived during air travel, I went to bed immediately (at 7pm).

The next morning, the journey continued onto Wisconsin for the American Birkebeiner ("Birkie") ski race.

Me, Caitlin and Maria all skiing together in the 2013 Birkie

The GRP's green suits are easy to spot in the 2013 elite men's start
In the days leading up to the Birkie I rested as much as possible in preparation for the 50k marathon, so when Saturday morning came around I was feeling restless and ready to go. It was about five degrees with gusting winds, which called for thick long-underwear layers and vaseline all over my face. I stayed with the lead pack of 8 women until a $500 sprint bonus pulled them ahead of me around 22k. Then I made a glory move and caught back up by about 28k! It may have put me a bit over my head though, because when the first men passed us at 31k and some of the top women caught their draft, I had no energy to even try and get on that train. So then I skied the next 18k by myself, getting slower and slower, until my teammate Caitlin made a heroic comeback and caught me on the windblown lake a little over 1km from the finish. She was going about twice my speed at that point and put 1:30 on me in the last kilometer!

I was so proud of myself after the race just to have finished. And I was happy with my 9th place result too. I don't know which felt longer--or worse on the legs--, Nove Mesto to Hayward or Cable to Hayward. But one was significantly more rewarding!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Czech-ing In

I flew to Slovenia on February 4th for my first European biathlon racing experience. On our schedule we had two races in Pokljuka, Slovenia, and two races in Rosenau, Austria. Upon our arrival in Pokljuka, we discovered that the races there had been canceled due to too much snow. With no other race options within reasonable travel distance, we decided to stay put and train in Pokljuka.

[SPOILER ALERT Olympic men's Hockey] --We interrupt this blogpost to notify you of Team USA men's hockey victory in 7 shootouts over Russia.--

The staff at the venue in Pokljuka were very accommodating, and excavated (half of) their range from under the snowbank for us. It snowed over 3' the day before we arrived and then averaged about 1.5' per day while we were there. The snow removal operation was something to behold: imagine snow-blowing a strip of your driveway, turning around and starting from scratch. Now imagine snow so deep that you have to hoist the snow-blower onto the pile of snow and blow the top half of the snow off before you can get to the bottom layer. Last Saturday we thew together a race with some Slovenians, Russians and Australians, and then we did a time trial amongst ourselves Sunday.

Our travel group (L-R): Katrina Howe, Raleigh Goessling, Mike Gibson, Kelsey Dickinson, me, Ethan Dreissigacker. Missing from photo: Casey Smith and coaches Seth Hubbard and Betsy Smith. 

The beautiful Alpine snow in Pokljuka, Slovenia.

Enjoying the Pokljuka powder!

The most snow I've ever seen.

Our hotel at the venue had views of the range from each room.

Due to a weather phenomenon that is perhaps uniquely European, the Slovenian races were canceled due to too much snow, and then the Austrian races about 150 miles (270km) away were canceled due to no snow. Hence our re-route to Nove Mesto, Czech, where we just wrapped up the first of two Czech Cup races. Nove Mesto does not have any natural snow either, but they have a very solid man-made loop on which they have held a World Cup and U-26 European Championships this winter.

Biathlon stadium bleachers.

Nove Mesto sells out during Word Cup biathlon races.

Downtown Nove Mesto. 

Artwork on the side of the church in the central town square.

Nove Mesto train station.

My race today in the 12.5k mass start was characterized by wet, warm, SLOW snow, wind, and bad shooting. I shot (2p, 3p, 3s, 1s). I was disappointed in the prone shooting because I know I can do much better than that, but for some reason I was wobbly today. Maybe my position, or maybe the wind. Tomorrow I am doing a 15k individual, which is the race format with a one-minute time penalty added for each miss instead of penalty laps. I am relieved to not have to enter the penalty lap after I skied almost 14k in today's 12.5k, but a MINUTE penalty for each miss is much more brutal! 

I fly directly to Minneapolis on Monday morning in anticipation of the Birkie 50k just one week from today.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Craftsbury's Opening Ceremony

I was sad to miss this great party in honour of my Olympian teammates!

From WPTV news...

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Quiz: who has the most Winter Games medals ever?

Here's a headline from NBC's Olympic site that most Europeans would scoff at! I highly recommend you read more!