Last weekend at the IBU World Cups in Oestersund Tim Burke finished on the podium twice, the best results of his career and a historic weekend for U.S. Biathlon. This weekend in Hochfilzen, Austria, Burke placed 20th in the sprint and pulled himself up to 10th in the pursuit. After several errors in the sprint erased his chance for Friday’s podium, Burke nearly matched the winning performances on Saturday as he blazed the pursuit race. Reflective of his errors, Burke also tries to keep an even keel as he gains confidence and works toward consistency at the top of the World Cup stage.
It seemed like you were on fire yesterday in the pursuit race. . . . were you were on par with another podium finish if it had been an individual start?
TB: I’m not exactly sure what my split was for the pursuit, but I would guess that it was a top 5 time. This was a really solid race for me and it felt great to race in the first pursuit of the year. It was also awesome to have some extra cheering out there from some of the Nordic Combined guys!
In each race you had 2 penalties, which was maybe more than you wanted for the shorter sprint, but seemed reasonable for the 4-stage races. How did you feel overall about your shooting?
TB: I was a little disappointed with my shooting in the sprint race. I had a really good chance to get another podium before missing my last two shots. In the sprint I miscalculated my approach to the range and I came in a bit too fast. I was able to adjust this for the pursuit and the result was much better. Overall, I was satisfied with my shooting for the week.
Did you continue to feel as relaxed and confident as you had last weekend? Has the media hype taken a toll or put any pressure on you?
TB: I feel that I have a good flow going now and I am still feeling quite relaxed. I try to approach each race the same no matter how things have been going. I don’t focus at all on the hype. I still have a lot of improvements that I want to make so that is where my focus is.
You have now raced 6 really hard races in two weeks, a tough schedule – Will you race another 3 (in Slovenia)?
TB: Yes. I plan on racing all three races this week.
How do you recover enough from such a hard race schedule? Do you have any light intensity sessions, or do you take it pretty easy during the week?
TB: It’s definitely a challenging schedule with 9 races and three travel days in three weeks. Luckily I get a little break after this when I can recover for a few days and then get in a few weeks of more normal training.
As far as intensity goes, it can vary quite a bit depending on how I am feeling but I normally do some short intensity the day before my first race of the week. This is typically something like ten minutes of continues race pace. This also gives me a good opportunity to get a feel for the course and the approach to the range.
FS: Next up: the IBU World Cup race weekend #3 starts this Thursday in Pokljuka, Slovenia. On December 17th an individual race will be held, followed by sprint and pursuit races on the 19th and 20th.