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Posts Tagged ‘biathlon’

Ruhpolding

15.Feb.2011 by Susan Dunklee
Our homebase in Ruhpolding

Our homebase in Ruhpolding

When I was a college ski racer, February felt crazy.  It was the culmination of 6 weeks of winter carnival racing season, in which we raced every Friday and Saturday and missed a day and a half of class every week.  Staying healthy, keeping caught up with school work and making time for ski training required super human time management skills.  Now, as a full time biathlete with nothing to worry about except training and racing, February is a piece of cake.   However, this year there weren’t any February biathlon races on the domestic schedule expect for the World Cups.

So what is a biathlete to do?  If you are Lauren, you make the pilgrimage up to Fort Kent and forerun the World Cup.  (Check out a neat article about the TV test race that she helped out with: http://fasterskier.com/2011/02/19-miles-of-cable-and-one-espresso-machine-how-biathlon-gets-on-television/)  If you are Hannah, you prepare to go kick some butt at the Birkie, America’s biggest ski race.   If you are a US Junior biathlete, you might decide to stay in Europe following Junior World Championships for a couple extra weeks to race in Germany, Italy and the Czech Republic.  Another option is to rent an RV or “Wohnwagen”   for 3 weeks and follow the German race circuit, which is what the Barnes twins and MWSC’s BethAnn Chamberlain decided on.  (Read about their adventures here: http://bambambiathlon.blogspot.com/).  Since I already had a plane ticket to Europe for U-26 Championships at the end of the month, I decided I’d fly over a week early and rendezvous with the Juniors and the Wohnwagen posse in Ruhpolding, Germany.  A weekend of German Cup racing sounded like a perfect tune-up before heading down to Ridnaun, Italy for U-26s.

Juniors Raleigh, Casey and Ethan enjoying a spring-like day from the top of a Bavarian cow pasture.

Juniors Raleigh, Casey and Ethan enjoying a spring-like day from the top of a Bavarian cow pasture.

My friends in the WohnWagen.  Notice the impromtu drying rack they created to deal with Ruhpolding's rainy weather.

My friends in the WohnWagen. Notice the impromtu drying rack they created to deal with Ruhpolding's damp weather.

Ruhpolding is a biathlon Mecca.  Every January, tens of thousands of spectators descend on this tiny town to watch the World Cup.  Biathlon paraphernalia lines the shelves of local shops.  Biathlon is Germany’s most popular winter sport and many of their top athletes live in this region.  As I was traveling in, I had no shortage of people volunteering to help carry my giant ski bag, rifle case, heavy backpack and overflowing tote bag when I changed trains in Traunstein.  They all wanted to know where I was coming from and they wished me good luck in Ruhpolding.

Four Ruhpolding World Championship hopefuls for 2012.  They've got the countdown timed to the second.

Ruhpolding is the site of the 2012 Biathlon World Championships. I'm hoping to be back next year...

With beautiful rugged mountain peaks on all sides, Ruhpolding is one of my favorite biathlon venues to visit.   However, last weekend I understood why the World Cup team nicknamed the town “Rainpolding.”  On the first day of the German Cup races, it down poured.  We went through several changes of clothes and still were drenched and cold.  Nonetheless, it was a successful day of racing.

Dave Gieck flew in from Wyoming to help USBA athletes with race support.  Thanks Dave!

Dave Gieck flew in from Wyoming to help USBA athletes with race support. Thanks Dave!

We competed in an unusual race format: a sprint race with extra relay rounds.  We were allowed to hand-load up to 3 extra bullets to try to knock down missed targets, so very few people had to ski penalty loops.  In addition to the Germans, we had a bunch of Brits, a Norwegian, and a Canadian in our race.  I had some of my better shooting of the season, requiring only one spare round, and I finished 2nd, one second behind my US teammate Lanny Barnes.

Race volunteers at equipment control staying dry inside.

Equipment control volunteers stay dry under cover.

The following day we competed in a mass start.  We rarely get to ski in mass starts at NorAm races at home, and never against an international field, so it was a valuable experience.  I got a little distracted during the first shooting stage when we approached the range in a big pack, and it caused me to miss 2 targets.  I spent the rest of the race playing catch up, but I was able to focus better in the range for the remaining stages.  Lanny had another good day and cleaned her fourth biathlon race in a row- that’s 60 consecutive hits during competition.

The American junior men were put into the senior men’s race for the mass start because they would have made the junior’s field too big.  Craftsbury’s Ethan Dreissigacker had some of the better shooting of the field during both days of racing.  He can be seen here winning the double pole sprint off the starting line in front of German Olympian Michael Rosch (#187).

The American junior men were put into the senior men’s race for the mass start because they would have made the junior’s field too big. Craftsbury’s Ethan Dreissigacker had some of the better shooting of the field during both days of racing. He can be seen here winning the double pole sprint off the starting line in front of German Olympian Michael Rosch (#187).

On Monday, we drove to the town of Schleching to drop off skis at Bauer Rennservice.  Muck Bauer gave us a tour of his ski grinding workshop and sports and shoe store.  Muck grinds all the US team’s skis.  Check out this giant poster of Tim Burke decorating his store.

On Monday, we drove to the town of Schleching to drop off skis at Bauer Rennservice. Muck Bauer gave us a tour of his ski grinding workshop and sports and shoe store. Muck grinds all the US team’s skis. Check out this giant poster of Tim Burke decorating his store.

Watching the Ft. Kent WCs on Eurosport was our favorite entertainment for the first few days.  Now that those races are finished, we’ve taken up puzzling.  Here Grace, Casey and Kelly are hard at work.

Watching the Ft. Kent WCs on Eurosport was our favorite entertainment for the first few days. Now that those races are finished, we’ve taken up puzzling. Here Grace, Casey and Kelly are hard at work.

Bitter Cold Biathlon

25.Jan.2011 by Lauren Jacobs

The range at Jericho played host to another set of biathlon NorAm races this past weekend. I missed the first ones right after Christmas because of a cold, so it was exciting to finally get down to race on what is essentially our home biathlon course. We go down there quite a bit to train with Algis and it’s always fun to race at a venue that you know so well. The forecast for the weekend was bitterly cold and we prepared by basically packing every single article of the warmest ski clothing available. Plus hand warmers, key to keeping your trigger finger warm.

Saturday was a sprint race, which in biathlon means two shooting stages and 7.5 km of skiing for the women. Susan won and Hannah came in 2nd!

Hannah racing to victory in Saturday's race.

Hannah racing on Saturday.

Susan only missed one target on Saturday but neither Hannah or I were particularly happy with our shooting. I went 3-3, meaning I missed 3 targets each in prone and standing. That’s pretty bad for me in prone. I went hard and felt good skiing, though. As I crossed the finish line and tried to catch my breath, Algis was standing there and John Madigan checked my bolt and waited patiently for my bib.

Bent over my poles, I asked Algis, “What happened to prone?” I knew he had been looking through the scope and I thought maybe I hadn’t taken the wind into account.

“What happened to prone? Let me tell you what happened to prone.” Algis is one of the nicest people I know but he couldn’t hide the frustration in his voice. “You didn’t do what you train! You slowed down, became cautious. Your range time was almost a minute. You tried too hard to hit the targets.”

“Was it the wind?” I asked, “I took a click.”

“No, it wasn’t the wind. Your misses were all over the place.” He patted me on the shoulder, releasing me to take off my bib and go get warm.

Whoops. A range time of a minute is a good 20 or more seconds longer than I have in training. After cooling down, changing my clothes, and getting something to eat I went back to chat again with Algis. He talked to me about needing to act with confidence on the range, being sure of every action. Slowing down because it’s a race and you’re afraid of messing up will guarantee that you do mess up.

And that, right there is the big reason I love biathlon. I love the fact – even though it can be agonizingly frustrating – that shooting is so mental and that the smallest of changes will be the difference between missing a target and hitting one. Perhaps it is because most of my personal athletic history was in gymnastics, a sport where the changes required to stay on the beam instead of landing in a heap on the mat are too small for most people to see. Shooting is pretty much exactly the same and I love that you have to pay such close attention to it.

Needless to say, Hannah and I were both looking forward to another chance to improve our shooting the next day. Sunday’s race was delayed by an hour to allow the temperatures to warm up to a balmy 0 degrees. Using overmitts and hand warmers, I managed to keep my trigger finger warm and I went into the range thinking “confidence. confidence. confidence.” Coming into the first prone stage I kept my normal cadence and only missed one! In the middle of my next ski lap Algis ran over to me and told me to take two clicks up, even though I had had four hits they must have been low. Back at the range again I took the correction, dropped into position, and fired off five rounds. Only one miss again, but this time it was the last one, guess I got a little too excited. Still, I was really happy with my prone shooting. (Standing was still rough, I definitely have a lot of work to do there…) Even more importantly than hitting targets, Algis told me later that I decreased my range time in prone by 20 seconds. So Sunday was a good race, and with no frost bite!

I must be finishing here because I dropped my overmitts after the last shooting stage.

Sunday's race set a personal record for the most layers worn in a ski race.

Hannah skiing wicked fast on Sunday.

Hannah skiing wicked fast on Sunday.

My Dad and I after Sunday's race. I actually was trying to smile here but my face was too frozen to make it happen.

My Dad and I after Sunday's race. I actually was trying to smile here but my face was too frozen to make it happen.

Next we head to Lake Placid for one more weekend of NorAms.

Story from the Range

6.Nov.2010 by Lauren Jacobs

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.

Appropriately named, these are Tundra Swans.

Appropriately named, these are Tundra Swans.

Hannah and I ran around to get some photos of these guys but they hopped in the current and really took off.

Hannah and I ran around to get some photos of these guys but they hopped in the current and really took off.

Stay tuned! I’m sure we’ll have some good stories from the race tomorrow!

Busy, Busy

24.May.2010 by Lauren Jacobs

Life has been plenty busy here in Craftsbury since returning at the end of April. There are gardens plots to prepare and plant, compost sheds to build, and BKL kids to coach. And, of course, plenty of training! Here are a few photos showing what I’ve been up to the last couple weeks.

Hug that post.

Hug that post.

Lauren vs. 6'8'' rower.

Lauren vs. 6'8'' rower.

Need a nail? Just ask Satchel.

Need a nail? Just ask Satchel.

Compost shed. Sponsored by Swix wax.

Compost shed. Sponsored by Swix wax.

Ani taking aim under the watchful eyes of Mike.

Ani taking aim under the watchful eyes of Mike.

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Ethan helping Patrick at the range yesterday.

The first round of planting in the new plot behind the office.

The first round of planting in the new plot behind the office.

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Pepa brought Chelsea and I down to Elmore State Park for a run/hike workout this morning. Our goal was to scope out a potential up-hill running time trial location for the NENSA REG camp that Craftsbury is hosting in June. The road heading up the mountain will be perfect for the time trial, which will end at the remains of an old cabin situated near a little overlook. After the cabin you can keep heading up a short but very steep section of trail and climb the fire tower. It was hot and humid today, but even with a bit of haze the views from the fire tower were wicked good. We had more time to go for our workout so we went down a trail to the “Balancing Rock” and explored the Catamount Trail for a bit. It’s a beautiful spot that we’ll definitely be coming back too. Plus, it’s great to jump in the lake at the end of a long hot run!

Chels at the top of the fire tower on Mt. Elmore.

Chels at the top of the fire tower on Mt. Elmore.

The boys are in Bend, Oregon skiing on snow right now but my big trip of the summer will be a lot closer to home. Starting next Tuesday (June 1) I will be hiking the Appalachian Trail from Katahdin to Caratunk in Maine. It’s 152 miles and includes the “100 Mile Wilderness,” which is generally considered the most remote section of the AT because it doesn’t cross a paved road for 100 miles. I’m doing the trip with my friend Bob, who was a couple years older than me at Gould. Hiking this section of the AT has been on my life list for a long time and I’m really happy that I have a friend crazy enough to do it with me! I’m also grateful that Pepa is okay with the trip. Bob’s hometown is Caratunk (population 40) so it will be cool to walk right over to his Dad’s house at the end of the trek. We’re hoping to average 15 miles a day, with maybe a day of rest (and fly fishing) somewhere in the middle. It will certainly be an adventure and I can’t wait to get started. Undoubtedly, I will bring plenty of stories and photos home with me…if I don’t get carried off by black flies along the way.

The AT in Maine. We're starting at the far northern end with Katahdin and ending at Caratunk on Rte. 201.

The AT in Maine. We're starting at the far northern end with Katahdin and ending at Caratunk on Rte. 201.