After a nerve-racking start, we ended up in 5th Place when Leif (Nordgren) crossed the finish line. The first loop started with an all-out sprint up the Birgsteig (the famous first climb on the Oberhof biathlon course) but then the pace fell off to a near stand-still toward the end of that loop. No one seemed to want to take the lead heading into the stadium. It’s definitely true that there was a big advantage to draft behind on this range entrance. Because of this, the pace slowed significantly and I think we were all pretty fresh coming in for the first prone. Because of this, and the fact that the wind didn’t seem strong enough to effect the zero. But, in the end, I needed all of my extra rounds to hit the last prone shot and this set me back a bit from the leaders. Fortunately, the rest of the field struggled with prone as well and the race was still very close heading in for the second shooting.
After cleaning with one extra round, I left the range in 7th and tagged off to Tim with 12 seconds to 2nd place. Tim had a great leg and shot well, tagging to Russ in 2nd place. After that, Russ and Leif held there ground and avoided the penalty loop, leaving us in 5th place at the end.
I’m really happy to see the team finally show what we are capable of. We have struggled over the past couple of years in the relays and it’s been a while since we’ve been in a flower ceremony. Now, it’s on to the Sprint!