I have not shared much about myself on this blog or otherwise since my last post on this site in June, 2016. I have maintained this blog off and on since June 3rd 2009. For some perspective, I posted that first entry on this blog when I was 17 years old. I am now 25…
So, in the interest of continuing this public archive of my sporting life, here is a brief update of my year thus far.
June 2016-August 2016
After undergoing an antibiotic treatment for suspected Lyme Disease, I had more tests done which revealed I had mononucleosis. Mono hit me like a large, fully loaded dump truck and I spent most of the summer as a sedentary person. I gradually built back up to full training by September. Over the course of the summer I did less exercising that I have in my entire life, excluding my time as an infant. During the summer, I had the good fortune to develop a local practice shooting range with a local land owner.
I returned to full training and began to try and develop some semblance of physical fitness. I found I had missed pushing myself, but also discovered I was far from top form.
In mid-October I did my first competitive biathlon races since March 2014. I put together one excellent race in which I placed 3rd among most all the Men’s competitors in the country. My second race was a step back shooting wise and a much worse result. I left the competition weekend feeling encouraged, but wary of my lack of ski form.
In November I joined the UNH Ski Team for a fall on-snow camp in Craftsbury, VT. The Craftsbury Outdoor Center’s snowmaking efforts were thwarted by warm temps, but I could ski at Smuggler’s Notch and do a few on-snow combos on a short loop at the Outdoor Center. I am oh so grateful to the UNH Ski Team coaches and athletes for allowing me to join them for the week.
I tried to qualify for the IBU Cup through a series of selection races held at Mt. Itasca in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Many of my earliest biathlon memories involve getting very cold at Mt. Itasca. The racing was indeed chilly, and I struggled with ski selection, fitness and shooting consistency. These faults where my own as I enjoyed generous hospitality and support from Bill and Jean Meyer. Bill is my longtime coach and I am forever grateful to Bill (and Jean!) for their support of my goals over the years.
After two selection races, I was so discouraged by my poor results that I checked out of my hotel early, got on a bus and attempted to get an early flight home. I wound up staying in Minnesota for the same amount of time, but skipped the final race and stayed with an old friend in nearby Duluth, MN. I am not proud of ducking a race opportunity and I truly regret not reaching out to old friends in the area during my stay. I was so frustrated, confused and despondent about my results I was ashamed to speak about them and seriously considered calling it quits on biathlon.
After some quiet days at home with my family for the holidays I resolved to continue to chase biathlon excellence. I put in quality time on snow, discovered a new place to train in Jackson, New Hampshire and took part in local Nordic races. I also competed at the University of New Hampshire’s College Carnival race. My racing was not to the level I had reached the past, but it was fun and I am again grateful to the UNH coaches and athletes for supporting me. Despite a continuing lack of good results, I feel that my form is finally coming around.
February has been the my most productive training month to date. I took a week off from work to train in Jackson, New Hampshire with Jake Brown, a supremely talented member of US Biathlon’s X Team.
This camp was made possible by Wayne Peterson at Jackson biathlon and Jake’s great aunt and uncle who allowed us to use their condo for the week. Jackson Biathlon and Wayne Peterson have built an impressive venue and club from the group up. It is exciting to be around this type of biathlon development and I hope the club’s success continues to grow.
My season has not unfolded according to my initial plans (or even secondary schemes), but it has forced me to re-dedicate myself to the sport of biathlon. Although I do not have an official club, I have been fortunate to receive help from a number of people and organizations including Bill Meyer at Minnesota Biathlon, Cory Schwartz and Steve Monsulick at UNH, James Upham, Seth Hubbard at the Outdoor Sport Institute, Joel Hinshaw from the Southern Maine Biathlon Club, Wayne Peterson, and many others.
I would also like to take a moment to thank Phil Rogers, Brent Smith, Gary Colliander, George Hovland, Vladimir Cervenka and others who helped me on my way early in my career. If I missed you on this far from comprehensive list, my apologies.
This season has taught me that volunteers, coaches, landowners and race organizers make Nordic sport happen in North America. So, don’t forget to thank your local coach, volunteer or race organizer.
After my racing career, I plan to emulate the individuals listed above and hope to create as much positive change in the biathlon and Nordic worlds as they have.
Looking ahead I will be racing in two Biathlon North American Cup races in the next two weeks. I will try to keep everyone informed…
For regular updates you can follow me on Instagram (roggessling91 and Twitter (@TheRGoessling).
Photos courtesy of Linda Brown and Jackson Biathlon