Since we arrived in Finland, Hans and I have been able to shoot a few times at the range here in Muonio. Shooting in the cold and on skis was definitely an adjustment for me. I had a lot of trouble zeroing and settling down the first couple of times we did easy combos. Another factor that contributed to my unease was the fact that we are sharing the range with the entire Swedish national biathlon team. That’s just a little intimidating! They have probably six coaches doing everything from pulling ropes and sweeping mats to timing intervals and watching the shots. Which means they also see us shooting. I think it makes me really concentrate on what I’m doing, which has to be a good thing.
Anyways, the story I want to share is from my fourth time shooting. We were doing max classic intervals, four times about 3 minutes long, and perfect for a shooting session. Hans and I definitely didn’t have room to pack a scope in our luggage, so we have been using a sort of public scope that lives in the range house here. This means we share it with other teams that didn’t bring a scope and the morning of our intervals we were sharing with some Belarusians. As I went back to look at my shots through the scope the coach said, “If you trust me, I will help you zero.” Sounded like a great offer to me and I said sure.
“Take ten clicks to the left and five to the right.” My first reaction was to say “ok!” because that’s just what you say when a coach tells you what to do. But on second thought I became very confused. Ten to the left and five to the right? Why wouldn’t I just take five to the left? Maybe he messed up his English and said right but meant up or down. I paused. And then asked him what I had to do, again.
“Ten to the left and five to the right.”
I started to question him, “Umm…but isn’t that just…”
“Yes, yes, just do as I say. Your sight isn’t moving.”
So I did what he told me to do and, of course, it worked! I had no idea that sights could kind of get stuck and not move, so if you over compensate the clicks a little it can get them back on track. I shot a few more clips to confirm and the friendly Belarusian coach told me a few times, “This is great shooting! Very good groups.” That bolstered my confidence a bit and I went on to do the intervals feeling very good about my shooting.
Basically that little story sums up one of the big reasons I love skiing. In general, everyone is super friendly and willing to help others out. Okay, I know that’s wicked cheesy but it’s true.
I still don’t have any photos from the range, so I will leave you instead with a few of the giant swans that live in the river by our cabins.
Stay tuned! I’m sure we’ll have some good stories from the race tomorrow!