I’m back in Fort Kent, ME preparing for the second world cup in a two-week tour of the US. Well, not so much a tour, but a touchdown in Aroostook County. It’s been great to get a break from the European racing scene and finally make the world cup tour come over to our neck of the woods. Last week we had a great series of races in Presque Isle, just 45 minutes south of here. The organizers there put on a great show and I heard nothing but good things about the quality of the event they pulled off.
After the Pursuit race on Sunday, we journeyed north to Fort Kent on Monday, with a short stop in Long Lake for lunch. I haven’t been back to Fort Kent since I lived here in 2005 and 2006 while competing with the Maine Winter Sports Center elite team. Although things seem pretty similar to when I left, one thing is much different: the rolling biathlon course of years past is no longer. Instead, I was confronted with possibly the longest, steepest climb of any world cup course I can recall! The course leaves the stadium and heads downhill for about 15 or 20 seconds. Then, it’s a grueling climb for about a minute or more, followed by a gradual section of about 100 meters, capped off by another brutal ascent. Basically, you go from the low point to the high point of the course within about 700 meters.
But, the course was prepared really well and the stadium is put together nicely. Since Fort Kent is not a booming metropolis, there isn’t a whole lot of lodging. So, the organizers have set us up in the dorm rooms of the local university campus. It’s a trip back to freshman year – communal bathrooms, dining hall, and dorm room lodgings. But, the food is good and we are only five minutes from the venue so I’m content and looking forward to the racing. We have the first race on Thursday at 11:30am EST. Hope you can tune in!