Wednesday, March 30, 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.
Monday, March 21, 2011
After returning from Europe I spent a week in Fort Kent training for US Nationals. The racing at nationals was really a mixed bag. I struggled royally on the range in Thursdays rainy sprint race, placing 2nd in the junior class. The pursuit on Saturday was better, I had decent shooting and placed 1st in the Junior Category and 3rd overall. This was my first senior level podium result. Sunday’s Mass Start was by far the most challenging. It was held in the misting rain on a tough course. I shot well, but due to cumulative fatigue from a long season and some lingering sickness my skiing was not up to par. US Nationals is the end of my season, it was great to see all my friends from across the country and mix it up with the Senior athletes. Look for a year in review post and a preview of next season soon.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Racing in Italy wrapped up with some solid skiing, and average shooting days. The results were encouraging, and I left knowing I had improved since the beginning of my European swing. The day after the last race I was back in the Munich airport on my home. I was on the same flight as the USA Bobsled team returning from their World Championships in Germany, and many of the members of the US Adaptive Ski Team. Travel home was what I was expecting: Looooong. I am now back in Fort Kent enjoying the amazing skiing and my sweet new accommodations at the Jalbert Athlete Residence. Along with training today I was a group leader at the Aroostook Youth Ski Festival. It was an awesome event. Kids got the opportunity to play in the terrain park, play tag, and going on scavenger hunt, all on cross country skis. It was a great reminder that skiing isn’t all racing, training, results, criteria, and qualifications. I'm looking forward to the racing at Nationals, as well as being in one place for more than 2 weeks.