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Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

Too much snow?

13.Feb.2014 by Ethan Dreissigacker
View from our hotel room in Bled, Slovenia

View from our hotel room in Bled, Slovenia

A little over a week ago Clare, Mike and I met up with a group from MWSC and headed to Europe to get in some real, European biathlon racing. We would fly into Munich, then drive to Bled, Slovenia where we would stay through the first weekend to compete in an Alpen cup race in nearby Pokljuka. From there we’d head to Rosenau Austria where we’d race in the Austrian national championships.  Or so we thought… when we got to our hotel in Bled we found out that sometime during our travel the races in Slovenia had been canceled… due to excessive snow. What?! that’s crazy! – we thought as we piled into the hotel elevator with all our stuff. Then the power flickered, the elevator settled a bit, and we noticed the following sign on the wall:

Photo Feb 05, 6 52 27 PM

Maybe the race organizers made the right call. Turns out that a huge storm had come through just days before, dumping ice and snow on Bled and higher up at the venue, almost 2 meters of heavy, wet snow! Good news was we were in a four-star hotel with good food.

too much snow?!

too much snow?!

The next day as we drove up to the venue it was clear that just a day earlier the road up there was impassable due to downed trees (I was having flashbacks to ice storm cleanup in Craftsbury) and the snow banks kept getting higher and higher. Up at the venue they were still digging out, and would be for the duration of our stay.  We got another meter or so of snow during our time there, and every morning they would plow snow off the shooting range just so we could see the targets. They’re hosting a biathlon world cup here in march, and boy do they have the work cut out for them. We opted to move up to a sport hotel located right at the venue, and stay there for a few days to train. The other guests at the hotel included some Slovenian, Russian, and Australian junior biathletes, so we were able to get in a couple good time trials with them.

Note that only one half of the range is open... and the other buried

Note that only one half of the range is open… and the other buried

The next surprise came a day or two before our planed departure for Austria: Rosenau had gotten the warm end of the storm, and had no snow whatsoever. The backup site for Austrian nationals was Obertilliach, but they had gotten the cold end with the full 2-3 meters of snow and would be digging out for awhile. Once again our races were canceled. Luckily we got wind of a Czech Cup with two races in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, where they had no natural snow but a 2.5km man-made loop. So we packed up, dug out the cars, and hit the road. A couple hours later we were driving though green grassy hills.

Austria

Austria

So, here we are in Czech training and getting ready for a mass start biathlon race on Saturday, followed by an Individual format on Sunday, neither of which have been canceled yet! Hooray for man-made snow!

The Stadium in Nove Mesto, Czech

The Stadium in Nove Mesto, Czech

 

Quality time in Craftsbury

3.Feb.2012 by Clare Egan

For the last two weeks or so, I’ve been holding down the fort here in Craftsbury as my teammates travel and race all over God’s white acre. In the short span between January 19th and February 2nd, the CGRP has been represented at races in Italy, Germany, Estonia, Austria, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Russia, Norway, and the western United States…AND at the Craftsbury Marathon, of course. While the adventure of travel is unbeatable, I’m happy to be staying close to home this winter. This is my first season of full-time training and racing, and that alone is plenty of excitement for me. Plus, I need all the help from Pepa I can get!

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Holding down the fort at 739 Town Highway 19. That's 9 empty bedrooms, if anyone is counting.

So, am I losing it? (REDRUM). Well, not exactly. Though in the absence of no-dust Dylan and everything-in-its-place Pat, I have seized the opportunity to overtake the entire living room and have subsequently started to lose track of my own stuff. The only saving grace is that other, less well-organized teammates are also missing and so there is no one else’s crap with which to confuse my own. Clutter aside, as the single resident of the house, my newfound sense of propriety has inspired me to higher levels of responsibility: I regularly keep the stove alit. I bring in the mail every day. I have even felt the tinglings of an urge to clean the whole place, though they are as of yet unfruitful.

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office/living room/music room/breakfast nook/napping couch/game room/fire place

Luckily, most of my time ‘alone’ here has not been spent in true solitude. For the first week, Nils Koons, our training partner and friend from the Rossignol team, kept me company in the house. Together, we forgot to get groceries every single day until we were eating questionably bygone raisin bran with unquestionably bygone yogurt for breakfast. (Raisin bran with yogurt is not good, even when both are decidedly un-rancid.) My friends Maura and Kenny drove up from Boston for a well-timed visit during the sunny and snowy weekend of January 21-22, during which we skied, shot biathlon rifles, and enlisted Lucas Schultz  to jump their completely dead car. (“Not to worry, I know someone who will be over here in 3 minutes to rescue us.”) Another well-timed visitor was my friend Dan from Burlington, who came to Craftsbury last Saturday night to celebrate my marathon win (and winnings). You may not believe this, but Parker Pie (local favorite pizza/bar establishment) was HOPPIN’… it was like a club scene in there! Not wanting to disturb Lucas a second time, I enlisted Brian Gluck when we needed to pull Dan’s car out of the ditch. (“Not to worry, I know someone who will be over here in 3 minutes to rescue us.”) Last but not least, our surrogate pet grouse, Mo (separate blog entry to follow), has been unwavering in his quest for human social interaction, in what seems to be an adamant rejection of the behaviors one would typically expect from his species.

mo

During the week I have been at least somewhat diligent about getting work done around here, ranging from helping out in the Hosmer Point camp office (who knew that a person could get sore from doing a bulk mailing?) to visiting Greensboro Elementary to give a presentation about skiing and getting outdoors. I have also entertained the possibility of doing the compost for Brian, which delights him almost as much as when I actually do it.

office

Getting in some office hours. Rhetorical question: Is it possible to get any work done if Pepa is sitting across from you?

Training has been going really well, now that I can show up 10 minutes late and have only Pepa yell at me instead of the whole team. And, we have SNOW! I’ve done some good quality interval workouts with our junior extraordinaires, Hannah and Lauren, as well our visiting South American contingent, Federico (Argentina) and Leandro (Brazil). Communcation between the Brazilian and the Bulgarian is something to behold and is one of my favorite parts of our daily workouts. And, no surprise here– hitting the gym: even less sweet when you’re alone.

gym

Lonliness is an empty gym.

I have succomb to accute, late-onset, residual hunger from the 50km. For some reason, this did not set in until Tuesday, after racing on Saturday. But it has continued full-force even into the wee hours of this morning (Friday), when I was forced out of bed at 4:30am by hunger pangs for a snack of fruit leather. The kitchen staff have been invariabely understanding of my issue, and generous in their provision of leftovers. Success: being greeted at the back door of the kitchen by a staff member who preempted by maple sausage prowl and had set some aside for me.

food steal

The staff shelf, God be praised.

The best part about staying home in Craftsbury? Getting to spend a lot of quality time with this person:

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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.