BiathlonBiathlon CanadaRacingUS BiathlonNotes & Quotes: PyeongChang Biathlon World Cups

FasterSkier FasterSkierMarch 6, 2017
Lowell Bailey (US Biathlon) racing to ninth in the men’s 12.5 k pursuit on Saturday at the IBU World Cup in PyeongChang, South Korea. (Photo: USBA/NordicFocus)

The North Americans kept the momentum rolling two weeks after the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Championships, with US Biathlon’s Lowell Bailey busting out a second place and Susan Dunklee placing fifth in back-to-back races over the last four days in PyeongChang, South Korea. On Sunday, the Canadians showed they’re rounding back into top form in team events, with its men’s team placing seventh and women’s team taking eighth for season bests in the relays. Here are the most interesting quotes that didn’t make it into the race reports (links below).

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On the break after World Championships & the leadup to PyeongChang:

“After Worlds I went home to Canmore and enjoyed five days of R&R with some easy skiing. The ski conditions were very good and it was nice being able to relax in my own place and sleep in my own bed.”

– Scott Gow, Canada

“Rosanna [Crawford] and I traveled to France for five days to visit and train with Anais Bescond, who races for the French team. It was a nice break and was fun to ski and sightsee somewhere new. We also enjoyed some amazing wine and cheese!”

– Brendan Green, Canada

“It was really nice, there was great skiing, 30 kilometer loops in two different areas, we ate a lot of cheese and took part in a night race called ‘Nocturne de sleep’ where you ski 200m and then have to trade off giant underwear to each other in a team sprint style race, over your race suit of course! “

– Rosanna Crawford, Canada

“Over the past 10 or so days since World Champs I took a few days off to kind of rest, recover and just sort of try to step away from that high-intensity environment. Most of the team members went just outside of Ruhpolding [Germany] and we had a pretty relaxing training camp there. I didn’t shoot for the first couple days, and then just tried to get back into my normal routine…. we had pretty good travel from Ruhpolding, and we came here on the early side compared to a lot of other teams and I think that was an advantage.”

– Lowell Bailey, U.S.

“Last week I was home in Germany with my son, the best possible recharge for my heart and soul, but unfortunately my little guy got really sick towards the weekend which resulted in me coming down with a cold as soon as I arrived here in Korea. I simply cannot understand how it is that coming from a week of compromised training, with a cold and jet lag I am finally feeling good! I am definitely not complaining, although I clearly have some figuring out to do post-season.”

– Megan Tandy, Canada

On taking it day by day:

“Each race is a new opportunity and I try and do my best despite how I feel physically or mentally. I will spend time at the end of the season analyzing areas of my training where things went wrong for me. I am no doubt frustrated and disappointed after putting in so much hard work this year, but I am still motivated. There have been some really tough days this season, but I know I can challenge for the podium when I am in my best form and that’s what I will continue to chase next season.”

– Green

On sloppy snow in Sunday’s relay:

“Apparently the average high at this time of year is around 0ºC, so I guess we just ended up having unseasonably warm weather. Definitely not the easiest conditions, but the snow was managed well and late evening races allowed the snow to usually refreeze.”

– Nathan Smith, Canada

“That big puddle in the stadium was the only part of the course that was like that. I avoided it once or twice and went through it once or twice, I don’t remember exactly. I would say it didn’t seem to make too much of a difference for me, it seemed that that section was slow no matter where you went. Our skis were good today and actually went through the really wet stuff pretty easily.”

– Christian Gow, Canada

“The conditions have added to the difficulty both for us racers but also for the wax techs. Overall, the race organizers did a really good job preparing the course give the tough conditions.”

– Paul Schommer, U.S.

“It’s tough to ski when it’s 100% artificial snow and 40 degrees [Fahrenheit]. I was impressed that the snow actually held up for the entire week of racing. I’m hoping they have a deeper base next year, and handle the weather a bit better.”

– Maddie Phaneuf, U.S.

On the PyeongChang range:

“The range can be fairly windy, like tonight during the men’s race, and there isn’t much shelter if it happens to be a windy day, although I’d say it’s been 50/50 so far in terms of wind or no wind.”

– Scott Gow

On the PyeongChang trails:

“The course, in a sprint, has two hills, and my strategy was to push after the second climb, and push the downhills all the way into the stadium… , the two kilometer loop cuts out the second hill, so it’s a lot different from the sprint course. It’s just one giant climb that goes on forever, and then coming back into the range. It’s a couple of different pitches. There are a couple of short, flat downhill sections, but no longer than a couple seconds, and then you hit the really big part of the climb, about halfway through the loop. It’s a monster. Then it’s just downhill with lots of corners.”

– Susan Dunklee, U.S.

“I love this course! Uphills are my strength when I am in good shape and this is one of the hilliest 2.5 kilometer course I have ever raced on.”

– Tandy

“I really like this 2 kilometer loop, it’s hard off the start but you can really make up a lot of time on the top of the course and then the downhill back to the stadium.”

– Crawford

“The courses here are tough, but I like them. I preferred [the pursuit]’s 2.5 k course to the 3.3 k, but I think they are both good and challenging courses. I think that for next training season we will be focusing on getting ready for the climbs here and, with that preparation, I do think this could be a good venue for me.”

– Christian Gow

“We’ve timed how long the extended climb takes. You literally go from the low point to the high point in a single climb. That’s nearly unheard of on the World Cup. So we will be training for those long extended climbs, because you leave the starting gate, and you hit a one-kilometer steep climb, which is actually over the international limit, at times, for the grade… They’ve done a lot of work on the downhills, and improved them a lot. I’ve talked with the technical delegates, and I think they plan to bank some of the turns next year, that aren’t banked now, and that’ll make a difference. It’s a really challenging course.”

– Bailey

“In some ways this course is similar to Kontiolahti, with really steep hills. Historically I’ve done better with those grades instead of gradual 1-skate grinds. So I think if I’m in shape I could do some good performances here next year.”

– Smith

“I think in general our entire team (men’s and women’s) had great results at this course. It makes all of us excited to see what next year brings.”

– Phaneuf

On goals for the rest of the season:

“Because World Champs was a success, I feel like you still have a large part of the season left and I wanted to finish it out as best I can and really focus on these last three World Cups. So I spent the rest of the time [after World Champs] focusing on the races here and preparing of those, and just working on my skiing and shooting just like any other preparation for World Cup.”

– Bailey

“My goals are to maintain the ski shape I am in and bring my shooting back up to a higher level. I’m feeling quite good this week so I think the skiing aspect is definitely possible, and my shooting goal is achievable if I can get into the right head space.”

– Scott Gow

“It’s been nice to see the Olympic venue and test out the trails. I think it was the right decision to come here but I also think it’s the right decision to go home. These last 3 races have been just what I needed to motivate my self for one more season. Of course there is that little voice in the back of my head that’s saying the what if’s of finally skiing well to see what I can do, but there will be lots of opportunities for that next year.”

– Crawford (who is heading home instead of finishing out the World Cup season)

On cracking the top 30:

“Overall I am very happy with today’s result given how my season has been going. I think what made the difference for me today was being able to execute solid shooting in what were challenging conditions. The snow conditions were also quite difficult to race in tonight but I did my best and gave it my all.”

– Green, after the 10 k sprint

“This top 30 was an important part of me qualifying for some funding next year as well as a part of my Olympic qualification. Nothing is guaranteed until the end of the season of course, but squeaking into the top 30 today will open up some opportunities for next season.”

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