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Posts Tagged ‘Nove Mesto’

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:

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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

 

Nove Mesto World Championships

17.Feb.2013 by Susan Dunklee

World Championships here in Nove Mesto are drawing to a close and it has been a great couple of weeks! Tim’s silver medal, the first biathlon championship medal for Team USA since 1987, highlighted a strong week of racing for our crew. I feel very happy about my races; although the Sprint and Pursuit didn’t go great, I had a great Individual, and had my best relay legs yet.

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I competed in our Mixed Relay as the second leg and enjoyed the opportunity to ski head to head with Germany’s Miri Gössner and Belarus’s Darya Domracheva. In our anchor leg, Leif put on an exciting sprint finish with Slovakia and we ultimately finished 8th. (Photo: USBA/Nordic Focus)

This year, the Individual fell on my birthday. Last year at World Championships, I hit 19/20 of my targets in the Individual race and placed 5th. That was a very special day indeed. I was hoping for another good day but I tried to stay relaxed and be realistic. With biathlon, the harder one tries to have good day, the less likely it will pan out well.

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(Live stream screen shot captured by Linda Jager).
This year I finished 15th with 2 penalties, one of my best results of the season. With that result, I met the pre-qualifying criteria for the Olympics. It was an awesome birthday!

Sometimes life’s most interesting memories come from moments of misfortune. In the last loop of the Individual, I fell on a downhill and broke the end of my rifle stock. Biathlon stocks are highly personalized, they take weeks to custom order, and can be costly. Breaking one is a major bummer. The positive thing about breaking a stock at World Championships is that the expertise needed to fix it is on site.

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Benjamin from Anschütz worked overtime to help get mine repaired before the Women’s Relay. (Photo: Armin Auchentaller)

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We just needed some wood, but since there was none to be found we salvaged some off the end of a broom handle. L to R: Benjamin, me and my coach Armin. Armin told me this was one of the “most interesting projects” he has seen in all his years of coaching and “will mean something 21 years from now.” (photo: Armin Auchentaller)

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I think the broom helped me “clean”- I hit 100% of my targets in the next race, a first for me on the World Cup.

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This week we had more familiar faces from home! This time the Dreissigacker Family came to cheer. It was Hannah’s first World Championships!

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After our World Championships races finished, we could devote all our energy to cheering our guys in their last races. Thanks for lending us the face paint Czech guys’ team!
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Our spirited crew

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We were all very surprised by the number of spectators that came to watch the races- it felt a lot like Ruhpolding or Oberhof. The line of people streaming out of the stands post race just kept coming. Thanks for creating such a positive atmosphere Czech! (photo: Sara Studebaker)

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The womens team’s biggest form of entertainment this past week came from a “Hollywood makeover” website. Hannah put her photoshop and graphic design skills to use on many of our staff and teammates. We weren’t sure how it would go over at first, but luckily our guys thought it more hilarious than offensive.

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That’s when we decided that we should showcase some of our coaches’ and techs’ portraits on our waxroom door. Finally, a bigger female presence on the staff!

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Another great form of entertainment was checking out the downtown shops, which were full of fun clothes and styles. Annelies just had to get this wig.

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One of the last mornings in Czech we made breakfast with the Swedish girls. It was a lot of fun being able to cook and share!

January on the WC: 3 Weeks and 3 Venues

21.Jan.2012 by Susan Dunklee

Since January 1st, the biathlon World Cup circuit has given us a tour of central Europe.  We started in Oberhof, Germany, a biathlon mecca that attracts over 30,000 fans.  Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic, site of the 2013 World Championships, hosted us the following week and treated us to some of the windiest, snowiest and most challenging race conditions we’ve seen.  Antholz, Italy welcomed us at the start of this week with mountains, altitude, and the first real sunshine of the season.

Oberhof

Favorite moment:

Cooling down with Sara after the Oberhof sprint.  There were so many fans exiting the stadium blocking the sidewalk and road that the only place we could successfully jog was a narrow space in between the 100 or so double parked shuttle buses.  We covered about half a mile running between buses.  Weaving between the crowd and the buses made me feel like I was on The Knight Bus from Harry Potter.

Sara and Annelies dryfire to warm-up before the sprint.

Sara and Annelies dryfire to warm-up before the sprint.

Racers in the crowded finish pen at Oberhof's women’s mass start. We watched from the sidelines because none of us qualified for the race. It's fun to be part of a crowd of over 25,000 fans and have a front row spot to cheer from. I couldn't help but think it would have been even more fun to be in the race.

Racers in the crowded finish pen at Oberhof's women’s mass start. We watched from the sidelines because none of us qualified for the race. It's fun to be part of a crowd of over 25,000 fans and have a front row spot to cheer from. I couldn't help but think it would have been even more fun to be in the race.

Crazy Oberhof fans

Crazy Oberhof fans

Nove Mesto

Favorite moment:

I used to think we had a pirate on our staff, or at least a pirate want-to-be.  He is a wax tech from Czech named Gara, and he always greets us with a hearty “ahoy!”  When we arrived in Czech, I was surprised to discover that many of Gara’s countrymen were also pirates.  Everywhere I went, I heard people hailing each other with “ahoy!”  Then I had a revelation: perhaps Gara wasn’t a pirate at all; perhaps Gara was simply Czech.

Banners along the Nove Mesto race course. Nove Mesto is the only venue I’ve raced at every year since I started biathlon (they often host IBU Cups.) This year they introduced a brand new course in preparation for hosting World Championships next year.

Banners along the Nove Mesto race course. Nove Mesto is the only venue I’ve raced at every year since I started biathlon (they often host IBU Cups.) This year they introduced a brand new course in preparation for hosting World Championships next year.

A view outside our hotel

A view outside our hotel

Most reachable surfaces in the surrounding neighborhood are colored with graffiti. It's actually nice to see some brightness in a gray place.

Most reachable surfaces in the surrounding neighborhood are colored with graffiti. It's actually nice to see some brightness in a gray place.

Some of the team and staff chilling in the hotel hallway. There were very few places in the building where we could pick up a wireless signal.

Some of the team and staff chilling in the hotel hallway. There were very few places in the building where we could pick up a wireless signal.

Antholz

I got off to a rough start in Italy.  We had a very long travel day from Nove Mesto (made even longer by a five hour delay due to car problems) and I was feeling overly tired and depressed from being sick.  All the women on the team were starting to feel the strain of being on the road for so long away from home, family and friends.  I desperately needed to set the reset button in my brain.  The best cure: mountains, sunshine, and racing!

Favorite moment (so far):  When I left the range after my final shooting in the sprint race, I knew I was on track to have my best result yet.  I only missed one target and I was getting splits that I was sitting in about 15th place.  The rest of the race was a fight to earn a mass start spot.  Only 30 athletes get the honor of starting in a mass start- the top 25 ranked competitors from the entire season, and the next 5 best finishers from the previous sprint.  Last year Sara, Laura, and Haley all earned mass start spots at some point during the season (the first time any American women had in years), so I knew it was possible.  I placed17th in the sprint with my best finish yet, and I’m racing the mass start on Sunday!

But first things first:  team relay this afternoon!  This is only the 2nd time this year that we’ve been able to field a women’s team and we are excited.

Finally, the mountainous venue I’ve been waiting for: Antholz!

Finally, the mountainous venue I’ve been waiting for: Antholz!

Armin, one of our coaches, standing behind the scope in his hometown. Most of the US team's staff are Europeans.

Armin, one of our coaches, standing behind the scope in his hometown. Most of the US team's staff are Europeans.

Official training under the first true blue sky I’ve seen in Europe this year.

Official training under the first true blue sky I’ve seen in Europe this year.