Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Mammoth Biathlon 2011
Over the last week I had the opportunity to go out to Mammoth California to participate in the 4th annual Mammoth Winter Biathlon. Mammoth is located in Sierra Nevada Mountains; the area receives a staggering amount of snowfall. The week of the competitions the venue received about 9 feet of snow in 3 days. The most impressive part of this event was the sheer enthusiasm of the community and organizers. Mike Karch, a local surgeon did an amazing job of organizing volunteers, getting sponsors, and making sure the event ran smoothly. The most impressive part of the event was that 36 hours before the race the range was nothing but a high alpine meadow, 3 miles from the parking lot, with about 15ft of snow covering the ground. The range was built up with a huge effort by volunteers and support from a local construction company. The event featured two days of racing. Saturday’s races featured junior races and the Wounded Warriors adaptive race. Unfortunately extremely high winds and blowing snow made shooting impossible. Instead cross country races where on the lower portion of the trail system. Despite their disappointment, the juniors still raced their hardest and had fun in the snow and wind. The Wounded Warriors also raced well despite the tough conditions. The weather on Sunday was much nicer. Sun, mountains, and mild temps where the backdrop for the Elite, National Guard, and Intermediate races, which all went off without incident. I placed 2nd overall after leading through 2 shooting stages. I really began to feel the altitude (races where held at 9,000ft) and the wind really picked up, and I struggled shooting standing. I had an excellent experience in Mammoth. I would like to thank Mike Karch for organizing the event, Jim and Penny Bourne for hosting me for the week, and all the volunteers and community members that made it happen. All photos are courtesy of Jim Barnes.