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I’m in Ridnaun, Italy at the moment getting ready for the upcoming World Championships in Ruhpolding, Germany starting next week. We’ve been up here at the top of the valley now for almost a week and I have to say that World Champs can’t get here soon enough. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the Northern Italian sun or the cuisine, it’s just that this time of year is always a bit trying for most biathletes. This is the time of year where we start to “taper”, heading into World Championships. Generally speaking, this involves “tapering” off the amount of training that we do in order to allow the body to recover fully and hopefully be in peak form for what can be as much as six races in a twelve-day period.
On the surface, I could see how some might conclude that a “taper” is nothing more than a little mini-vaca at a secluded mountain resort in Italy. However, we still have specific workouts that need to be executed well and then there is the ever-important recovery phases that prevent the athlete from actually going out an experiencing the surrounding environs as any leisure holiday-maker might. Basically, I’ve been doing a lot of sleeping, reading, and a bit of dry firing. In summary, I can’t wait to get back to racing!
In other news, the Scandinavian world cups went extremely well for the team and I think we all are excited to continue that momentum into Ruhpolding. We had a historical best in the Khantiolahti Sprint race with Russ, Tim, Jay, and I all within the top-16! I think this was the high-point for me. We were also invited over to Finnish biathlete, Mari Laukinnen’s Parents’ cabin for a traditional “smoke sauna” and a huge Finnish dinner. The sauna was amazing, set apart from the cabin and fueled by a huge stove that gave off a lot of heat and a bit of smoke that was naturally vented out the ceiling. After a few cycles of heat followed by a submersion in a hole cut in the ice of a nearby pond, it was time to head back to the hotel for the evening before heading out to Munich in the morning.
After Scandinavia, we headed back to Antholz for a week of training in our coach Armin Auchentaller’s home valley. And now we find ourselves here in Ridnaun with a few days to go before heading back to Germany and World Championships. We will take part in a local Italian Cup race here tomorrow as part of our preparations. After that, it’s mostly rest and a few key intensity workouts before the first races in Ruhpolding.
Until then, all the best!