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Archive for December, 2012

For our last World Cup races before the Christmas break, we traveled to Slovenia. It is a rugged and wild land that looks like it belongs in a fairy tale. We stayed in the city of Bled and commuted each day half an hour up a steep windy mountain road to Pokljuka. The race venue was located on an army base on the edge of a national park.

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View of the lake in Bled. There was a beautiful church on a small island in the middle of the lake and a castle perched on a cliff across the way. Winter felt pretty mild down in town and several yards still had vegetables growing in their gardens.

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Close up of the castle. I didn’t make it over to either the castle or the church to check them out, but I look forward to doing so next time the biathlon circus comes to town.

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Bled has hosted high caliber rowing events, such as World Championships. The rowing center was a short walk down the hill from our hotel.

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View of the biathlon stadium high in the mountains.

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After a few training days with perfect hard packed tracks and sunshine, the sky let loose for the races. The sprint race dumped heavy slow, making for slow tracks. Our wax techs did an amazing job and our skis were faster than many other teams’. With 90% shooting, I placed 14th- my best result so far this season. I was psyched! (photo: Nordic Focus/USBA)

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Sara and Annelies also had breakthrough days and we had 3 American women scoring World Cup points! We have put in a lot of work training together these past several years and it was great to see it pay off. (Team USA ladies L to R: me, Annelies Cook, Sara Studebaker, and Lanny Barnes).
The next day we saw another extreme- a cold downpour. As soon as we lay down on the mats to zero at the beginning of our warm up, we were soaked through. One of the French girls exclaimed that she had “swimming pools in [her] boots!” During the race I skied around lots of fast people but struggled on the range and dropped back to 38th place, still scoring World Cup points but barely. I ended up a couple places shy of a berth in today’s mass start. However, Tim Burke did compete in the mass start and placed third, the US’s best finish in the past couple years. It was a great week for the team and a good feeling to go home with during the break.

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The first World Cup week of 2012/13 is in the books.

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Team pic last week in Östersund, Sweden (photo: USBA/Nordic Focus)

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(photo credit: tweet by sports_biathlon)

The Östersund races went alright. I was happy with my ski speed and look forward to hitting more targets in the future. I scored my first World Cup points of the season in the pursuit. My favorite part of those first races was hopping in behind race winner, Norwegian Tora Berger, during the sprint and matching her pace for a lap.

While racing in Europe, it is always exciting to see familiar faces from back home. Many thanks to Danika Frisbee and her father, Mike, for coming to visit and cheer! It was also great to have Chelsea Little from Fasterskier onsite to cover the North Americans.

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Most of the Östersund races happened after sunset. Much of the course was illuminated by white lights, making the stadium seem as bright at day. However, a few parts of the course, out of sight of spectators and TV cameras, had only spotty yellow lights. By comparison, those sections felt like the middle of nowhere.

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Our Östersund home, Camp Södergren, at night. The sky looks very bright because of the nearby stadium lights.

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The week before the World Cup opener the Canadian cross country team was training at the same place as us. One night we had a guitar jam with the Canadian gals. (L to R: Lowell Bailey, Annelies Cook, Chandra Crawford)

A couple days ago, we traveled to Hochfilzen, Austria in a heavy snow storm. After Sweden, I am excited for longer daylight, natural snow and mountains.

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During the first half of training today, it was snowing so hard that the range workers had continuously sweep off the shooting mats. 25 minutes later, it cleared off enough to see a little sun. What a welcome sight!

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Strength training in Austria with Canadian biathlete Megan Heinicke (photo: Rosanna Crawford).
Finding weight room facilities to maintain strength during the race season is very difficult, so sometimes we must improvise.

In my last blog post, I shared a little bit about the American holiday of Thanksgiving. Lately I have learned a bit about holidays in other places:

In France, November 25th is the feast of St. Catherine. Unmarried 25 year old women are labeled “Catherinettes” and their friends traditionally dress them up bachelorette style to wish them a fast end to singleness. Here are a couple of Catherinettes from the French team, dressed up by their teammates:
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During the first nights of December, the Krampus comes out in the Alps. He is the devilish counterpart to St. Nicholas and comes out to terrorize naughty children. Watch out for the Krampus tonight!
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