Here’s a pic of my daughter Ophelia, celebrating with me after a successful weekend in Jericho, VT at North American Rollerski Biathlon Championships. The weather was hot and humid throughout the two days of competition, but the races went off without a hitch and it was great to see so many competitors… over 100 entrants both days!
Erika, Ophelia, and I just got back from a whirlwind trip to Bozeman, MT. I have been working as a new board member with the Bridger Biathlon Club, helping them to grow the sport of biathlon in Bozeman. The club has grown from 7 members in 2014, to more than 50 today! Great to see so many motivated happy kids loving this great sport!
One of my favorite workouts is a mountain run that winds up to Avalanche Lake, in the heart of the High Peaks Wilderness. I just ran up there this morning for a 2.5 hr run with ski poles. It dawned on me that I had opened the new training year with the same workout just over a month ago… You can see the difference in climate in the two pics below.
In between those two workouts, I spent almost two weeks in Bend, Oregon getting a bunch of on-snow hours in. We skied 3 hours every morning at the Mt. Bachelor Nordic Center, and then descended to Bend for two hours of afternoon training, either running or on mt. bikes. It is always a great way to start the year; easy to get plenty of training in and this year was one of the best for skiing that I’ve witnessed over multitude of trips to Bend. We even had a few days with fresh powder conditions… Much of last winter’s race course conditions didn’t compare to the spring skiing in Bend!
After an exciting World Champs, and successfully conclusion to the 2015/16 World Cup Tour, the new training season is already upon us. Here’s a few shots of the Adirondacks in the first few weeks of the training year. It’s been a rollercoaster start, complete with sun, snow, and everything in between!
After an idealic week in Sjusjoen, Norway; just outside of Lillehammer, we are now headed for Oslo and 2016 Biathlon World Championships. The pre-WCH camp went really well, with sunny skies, hard tracks, and plenty of skiing and shooting. In addition to a world-class biathlon venue, Sjusjoen is home to one of the largest and most famous cross-country trail networks on earth. Groomed several times daily, the network spans hundreds of kilometers through the rolling hills of central Norway. A week or two here, and it is easy to see why Norwegians have such a passion for Nordic sports.
At the moment, I’m on the short two-hour train to Oslo. World Champs is very much “just around the corner”!
After a blissful two weeks in Canmore, we hopped on a charter flight to Presque Isle on Monday morning. I thoroughly enjoyed the competitions in Canmore and was stunned at the amount of passion and dedication shown by the volunteers and the spectators. In addition to the strong showing from local Canadians, it seemed like almost every nation was represented; from Norway to Russia, U.S. to Germany, people made the global trip Canmore for the World Cup… truly amazing stuff!
As for the team; we had a successful week, with Tim Burke placing 7th in the Pursuit and an all-time best team finish of 4th in the Mixed Relay event on Sunday. This was an exciting race, which left us 1.8 seconds from bronze when I crossed the finish line. Although it is a little bit heartbreaking to get that close to a medal, we know that we are right there with the other top nations, and we know that we can do it!
Here’s to another successful week in Presque Isle! -LB
A few more pics from Canmore…
Today marked the “unofficial” opening of the winter season – at least in my mind. It wasn’t the World Cup Opener; that’ll have to wait until next week. Instead, Norway kicked off the 2015/16 winter season with the first of two races here in Sjusjoen. This wasn’t your average pre-season time-trial. The Norwegian, German, French and many other nations were here, complete with full wax teams, coaching staffs, and the “Big Rig” wax trucks which have become the norm on the International circuit these past few years. NRK (Norwegian Television) broadcast the entire race live to a primetime audience throughout Norway. I guess we have a little ways to go before we’re broadcasting our pre-season time trials on NBC saturday afternoons in the USA… but hey, I’d rather watch biathlon than just about any other thing on TV!
After four days on snow, I was less than perfectly comfortable on skis, but I was happy with the ski speed and felt like the race went reasonably well. I did struggle in standing, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles. Leif is going to jump in the Mass Start tomorrow while the rest of the team will take a rest day and begin the final preparation for the World Cup start in Ostersund next week.
Perhaps the biggest news of the day was the US debut of the new World Cup race uniforms. Bold… yes. Beautiful? Well, I’ll leave that up to the fans to decide! Let the comments begin!