It’s back to work this week, in Ruhpolding, Germany, site of IBU World Cup #5. Last week was a good step forward for the team in Oberhof. We managed an 11th place in the opening relay event, but the big improvement came in the Sprint competition on Saturday evening. The events drew in 25,000 people each day so it was a great atmosphere! Oberhof is the only place in the world where, for most of the course, you can’t hear the sound of your own breath as the crowd noise drowns everything else out. In order to get splits on the course, most of the coaches have to write the information on a dry-erase board because they can’t be heard over the cheering.
During the Sprint, Jay placed 17th, Tim in 22nd, I came in 39th, and Jeremy place 44th. It was a great day for us as a team and I think it is a good point to be at going into the middle part of the season. After travelling home for christmas, it is always some anxiety as to how your shape will be coming back after a long break (almost three weeks). It was good to see that my ski speed was a little bit better and I felt good for the races. In the past, the post-Christmas world cup has been one of the more challenging events for me so I am happy that this time around, things went well.
After the races, it was just a 6-hour bus ride from Oberhof to Ruhpolding on Monday. Normally this trip takes a little over three hours (if you are driving fast on the autobahn). Our head wax tech, Andi Elmslander, took every chance to remind me of this when I arrived at dinner that night, three hours behind the others. Andi, however, has the benefit of Kati Wilhelm’s German Team-issue Audi Q7. I’ve driven with Andi on numerous occasions and I know he wasn’t joking when he said his top speed during this trip was 250km/h (155mph). I also know that the Q7 handles a little bit better than the tour-bus I was on. And I got to brush up on my Russian as the bus entertainment system showed back-to-back Russian blockbusters. So 6 hours and two Russian films later, I arrived in Ruhpolding ready to prepare for Thursday’s relay competition. The weather has been great here in Germany so far this year and I’m hoping the trend continues through the end of the month. Hope all is well in the States.