Coming into the shooting range after the long, fast downhill from the top of the course in Pyong Chang, South Korea.
I apologize for the long absence in web posts. The world cup circuit has been pretty hectic over the last couple of weeks. Following the last post, I participated in Biathlon World Championships in Ostersund, Sweden. Although I had a decent run in the first leg of the relay, I was disappointed in my overall performance. The races just didn’t fall together like I was hoping they would. It was nice to see 27,000 people in the stands in Ostersund though. Previous to the World Championship, I would say that the annual Ostersund world cup drew fewer than 3,000 fans each year. So it was a big improvement for Ostersund. I would like to congratulate teammate Tim Burke for his back-to-back top-ten performances in the Sprint and Pursuit World Champ. races. It was great to see someone in a U.S. suit near the top again.
Sometimes when you prepare for a big event, the preparation doesn’t pay off until after the fact. That seemed to be the case for me this year. After departing Sweden, stopping for a few days of training in Germany, and finally arriving in South Korea, it was time to refocus on the next world cup. Pyong Chang, South Korea will host the World Championships next year so it was interesting to see the new venue there. The races went well for me from the start. I placed 29th in Sprint race, shooting ninety percent. A couple of days later, I started at that position in the Pursuit race. During the race I moved up until I was in 12th place coming into the final standing shoot having missed one target on the day. This was similar to the situation I was in earlier in the year in the Ruhpolding World Cup. In that race I missed 2 targets in my final stage and ended up finishing back at 28th place. This time was different. I cleaned and headed out onto the course in 8th place. It was a fight during the last loop but I just didn’t have quite enough energy to stay in the top ten. Still, I was extremely happy to finally put everything together and come away with a personal best.
In keeping with the up-and-down nature of my season so far, I arrived at the next World Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia and promptly fell ill with food poisoning. By the time race day hit I was able to at least hold a little food down, but I was in no shape to ski fast during the 10km Sprint race. I hoped that I could shoot well enough to make it into the top 60 for the Pursuit but it wasn’t meant to be. I finished 77th and was forced to sit out the next race.
So now, after getting my appetite back, I am getting ready to head to Oslo for the World Cup Finals. I am hoping to end the season on a high note and get back into the points for one last time (by “the points”, I mean the top-thirty. Only the top thirty finishers are awarded world cup points during a given race. These points determine your overall world ranking at the end of the season). Look for my end-of-season update in a week or so. Hope all is well with everyone at home.