And a HUGE improvement from last weekend!!!
Yesterday was the World Cup opener in Ostersund, Sweden. I skied the first leg of the "single mixed relay" event, in which a woman skis 1.5k, shoots prone, skis another 1.5k, shoots standing, and then tags here male partner (Sean Doherty, in my case), and then he does the same thing... and then you both go a second time!!! Following the last shooting stage, the man does a final 1.5k sprint to the finish. This was only the third time that the single mixed relay has been contested at the World Cup level and it is a fun race to watch and certainly to be part of!
|I am in the third row in the center, wearing bib 8.|
Our new uniforms from Adidas feature a purple and orange
"new interpretation of the American flag."
Shooting speed and accuracy are even more important in the single mixed relay than in other biathlon events, because the total ski distance/time is so short. As in all biathlon relays, if you miss any targets with your five bullets from the magazine, you can hand-load up to three spare rounds. You have to keep shooting until you either hit all five targets or have used all eight bullets- five from the clip plus three spares. If you still have misses after taking eight shots, you have to do one penalty lap per miss. So the last thing you want to do is spend 10+ seconds shooting each spare round and then still have to ski penalty laps! Ideally you hit five targets with five bullets (in under 30 seconds).
I am not a fast shooter; in fact I had the slowest shooting time of anyone in the race. But I did shoot pretty well yesterday, missing only one target on the first, second, and fourth shooting stages and two on the third stage. I had to use two spare rounds each time to hit the remaining target(s). My teammate Sean had one perfect "clean" stage where he used no spare rounds, two stages where he used one or two spares, and one stage where he used all three and had one penalty loop. We both skied well and ended up in 15th place among 26 teams.
The start was chaotic but a fun opportunity to compete head-to-head with some of the top World Cup biathletes. Our next race is a 15km Individual, men on Wednesday and women on Thursday. Check the Eurovision live stream countdown to figure out when to watch in your time zone!