The first three world cups are almost finished and I’m getting ready to head back to the States for about a week. I’m looking forward to a little rest and recovery and the fact that I’ll get to see friends and family for a week. The second week of racing here in Hochfilzen turned out to be quite a bit different than the first even though we were racing identical race formats on identical courses.
We got a big snowstorm on the day of the Sprint that dumped three inches of new snow on the course during the first half of the men’s race. This made the course slow in the beginning and fast at the end, not unlike the race at the Olympics. I had a good race and finished in 6th place when I crossed the line. Most of the top 30 world cup contenders had already finished so I thought that it would stay a top-ten. After that, the snow stopped, and all of us finishers sat in the athlete’s changing room and watched our results slip down the results board. By the end, I was in 21st.
But, that’s biathlon. This is a sport where not only do you have to execute two separate disciplines, but you also have to have a little bit of luck on your side. I have to say, at bib #42, I was not as worse off as Jay and Tim who drew earlier bibs. Regardless, I was happy with the race and looked forward to the Pursuit.
The Pursuit day dawned much the same as the Sprint, with gusty winds and about a foot of new snow, with fresh heavy snow falling from the sky. It wasn’t able to shoot as well in the first three stages as the previous week, but I managed to get up to 13th place with 2 misses by the time I headed into the last standing stage. Unfortunately, I had another lapse of focus and missed two in the last stage and finished in 25th. The first time was a bummer, last week was frustrating when I missed in the last stage again, now, I’m just motivated to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Of course this is something that is more a mental game then anything else. I know I can shoot well in the last stage of a four stage race. Now it’s just a matter of getting the job done! On a positive note, Jay had a great race with clean shooting and finished 9th.
Overall, I’m excited about the way the season has started and looking forward to the next trimester of racing after Christmas. We will be heading to Oberhof, Germany for World Cup 4 after the New Year. Oberhof is always an exciting event because they routinely have a crowd of around 30,000 spectators per race. After that it Nove Mesto, Czech Republic and Antholz, Italy.
Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!