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Sitting here in my room on Wednesday afternoon, enjoying a day off from racing here at World Champs in Ruhpolding. It hasn’t been the World Champs that I was hoping for so far, but there are still two races to go. Things started off Ok for me in the Mixed Relay. I hit targets and skied reasonably well. At that point, given the prior two weeks of training and preparation, everything seemed to be going as planned. Then, two days later, I managed to put everything together in the shooting range during the Sprint, hitting all ten targets, but my ski speed was nowhere in site. It was by far the slowest I had skied in a race all season, by almost a minute! I have no idea what happened. I wasn’t nervous and I had good sleep the whole week leading up to that race. But, as we always say, “That’s Biathlon!” You just have to roll with the punches.
The next day in the Pursuit, I skied a bit better and was shooting well so that by the time I got to my last shooting, I was in 9th place, with a chance at a top 5. This was right where I have trained to be. It’s where I want to be. It’s where I have been. And I missed the last two shots of the race! This dropped me all the way back down to 20th, where I started the day. The Individual was another step in the right direction for my ski speed but this time it was my shooting that put me out of the running. I missed 4 targets over the course of the race, and at World Champs, on this course, you can’t afford to do that and expect to place well. I finished 38th.
There are two positive things that I am looking at when assessing the past week of racing. One; my ski speed, which started out extremely poor has improved every race since that point. Secondly; I managed to pick up just enough points in those three races to stay tied for 13th in the overall World Cup total. This means that I will get a start in the Mass Start on Sunday (At World Championships, the Top-15 world-ranked biathletes get a start spot while the other 15 Mass Start positions go to the 15 best biathletes [that are not currently in the top-15] from the Sprint, Pursuit, and Individual races at that particular World Champs)! Tim also got in, so we will have two guys on the 30-man startline come Sunday. For now, I’m enjoying the day off and looking forward to the Relay on Friday.
I’d like to thank Toko for bringing me onboard as a sponsored athlete. I am psyched to be a part of the Toko team and excited to help out with the promotion of their product line. I’ve already made good use of the footwear freshener! It’s a must in the damp monsoon-like conditions that have persisted throughout these World Champs.
Besides racing, things have been pretty mellow. I have stayed either at the hotel or at the venue most of the time as there hasn’t really been space for anything else. We did, however, get a chance to enjoy some Bavarian culture with the team and other various friends on Sunday evening after the Pursuit. Check out the slideshow from that night (above).