Welcome to “17 Questions for 2017″, where we are catching up with American and Canadian national-team members before the beginning of the winter season.
Last year was Lowell Bailey’s 11th season on the competing on the World Cup, and he again proved his big-game chops. Two years after finishing 8th in the 20 k individual at the Sochi Olympics, a best-ever finish for a U.S. biathlete, Bailey notched a tenth-place result in the 15 k mass start at 2016 World Championships in Oslo.
1. Biggest change in your life in the last five or so months since the ski season ended?
My wife Erika and I became the parents of a beautiful baby girl, Ophelia, on June 15th 2016! In addition to that monumental life change, I took a new job helping to fundraise for Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, a yet-to-be-built world-class biathlon/xc training and outdoor recreation center in Bozeman, Montana.
2. Biggest change in your training?
I’ve worked closely with the USBA coaching staff to create a training plan which allows me to stay closer to home. I’ve incorporated much more stroller-jogging into my recovery workouts as well 😉
3. Major areas of improvement you’ve seen so far?
I’ve focused on improving my shooting speed and consistency. Every world cup biathlete has ups and downs in their ski speed throughout the season. The key to success is maintaining a consistently high level of accuracy on the shooting range so that, when you do hit your peak, you can also rely on your shooting.
4. Whom you’ve been working closest with this offseason (coaches or training partners)?
I’ve worked closely (albeit remotely between Lake Placid and Sweden) with Per Nilsson. On the ground, we have a great group of motivated coaches and athletes in Lake Placid. It’s a very lively, motivating training center these days!
5. Best trip in the last five months (and why)?
I think I’m currently on it! Erika, Ophelia, and I are in Canmore, Alberta for the National Team pre-season on-snow camp. Frozen Thunder has been in great shape and I love the area. It’s been great having the whole family here (see attached pic).
6. Favorite cross-training?
Trail running. We have great trail running in the Adirondacks and this summer I was able to explore some new places out west. I did some trail runs with the Bridger Biathlon Club kids and it was amazing to see so many passionate, fun-loving kids hooked on biathlon and enjoying the Great Outdoors.
7. Favorite non-athletic activity or pastime this summer?
The family and I spent our free time at my wife’s grandmother’s camp; a tiny little cottage tucked into the trees on the shore of Moose Island on Lake Placid lake. It is definitely one of those places where time stands still, the iPhone stays in the backpack, and the stars shine a little bit brighter at night.
8. Song that was your jam this summer?
“Ophelia” by THE BAND! I grew up with their music and have always loved the group. After our daughter was born, I felt obligated to go back and re-discover their entire catalogue.
9. All time favorite race moment?
Last year at World Champs in Oslo, Norway. The Mass Start was one of the races I’ll always remember; staying up front through the entire race until the very end. It was thrilling, heartbreaking, exhilarating, and confirmed in an instant why I still love this sport after so many years.
10. First thing you pack in your bag when you leave for Europe?
Coffee filters and a one-cup coffee maker.
11. Venue/event you’re most excited to visit this season?
I always enjoy our time in Antholz, Italy, one of the most beautiful places to race on earth. I’m also looking forward to seeing the new course changes in Pyeong Chang.
12. Who will win the World Cup title this year?
Martin Fourcade is always a safe bet!
13. Biggest sacrifice you feel you’ve made choosing this career path?
Biathlon is an incredible career path, but I’ve always understood that it is just one of thousands of incredible career paths. I think the biggest sacrifice in pursuing anything is that by saying “yes” to that one thing, you are saying “no” to something else. I’m constantly confronted with situations – a family reunion, a concert, a fly-fishing trip – that I have to forego on account of my training and competition schedule. It’s just what you have to do as a full-time professional athlete.
14. If you could change one thing about your sport, what would it be?
I would eradicate doping from biathlon. With the recent McLaren Report findings, we now see just how unscrupulous the actors, how advanced their capabilities, and how pervasive their effect has become on our sport. We are quickly approaching a watershed moment; the moment when we either decide to take the controversial, albeit necessary, actions required to rid our sport of doping forever, or quietly sit by and watch biathlon descend further into a state of corruption and deceit.
15. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
The Nordie Trifecta: Eggs, granola, yogurt!
16. In 5 years, I’ll be ____?
Standing on the deck of the newly-built Crosscut Mountain Sports Center, sipping a micro-brew with Erika and the rest of the Crosscut Boardmembers, while smiling youth biathletes and XC skiers race around the Crosscut stadium below!
17. In 50 years, I’ll be ____?