At it again.

Day Two.  Yes day two in Germany’s very Germanish Germantastic cup.

Because I’m not german I got to start at the back of the field, with no direction, no waiting, no warning, no words at all.  And with that I missed my start. Well sort of.  I was on the line. In maybe the right lane, since no one told me other wise.  However the gun went off before my poles were even on!  Amateur hour, I know.  I got the straps on and hustled off after the group of 25 or so rapidly double poling girls.  We had a little up hill corner not far into the start and I knew no matter what it was going to cluster up there badly.  I took the corner calmly because I knew that the rest of the course was open and wide enough for me to make up any lost ground.  I took the very outside and just hammered.  I even had to make some coaches move out of my way, silly coaches standing half way out into the trail.  Suddenly I had moved from last into the lead group of girls and thought it was the perfect place for me to hang out.

With the mass start format we shoot the first stage in an assigned lane.  I stopped at point 24 and the other girls filed into points 1-3.  Exile the american!!!  I missed one, and took off out on course in a good spot.  I kept moving through the field and came into shoot my second prone stage in probably 4th or 5th.  I took some time and cleaned!  Awesome!  I hauled out onto course stoked.  I skied all the way into 2nd for our first standing stage!  HOORAH! yes?

then I missed 4… 4!  oh billy!  Yep standing is not looking good right now.  I skied my penalty loops and took off once again, back in the role of chase, chase chasing, chase chase chase.  The fourth stage went only slightly better, I missed three.  but I fought as hard as I could.  So 8 penalties. 7 in standing…  You can’t win with that.  But the high light was how well the first half (more than half) of the race went!  Still not good, but a whole hell of a lot of awesome took place today.  Just a little glimpse of what could be.  Oh the what if’s!


With all this time…

Since I am not in school right now I seem to have a lot of extra time on my hands.  Even more so since we are right smack in the middle of the race season.  Not alot of training, and my ability to sit on my hands means that I get I’ve been in constant search of new things to entertain myself with.  I’ve dabbled in knitting, spent lots of time writing…mostly I’ve done lots and lots of reading.
In the past two years I’ve spent a majority of my year enrolled in 16-18 credits a semester.  Lots of classes, lots of books, lots of heavy reading.  The down side to all that heavy reading is that I rarely got to read things that I really wanted to!
Needless to say, I’ve spent a lot of quality time reading what I want this year and its been awesome!
Recently I’ve been reading alot about food and health.  Two things I am very passionate about.  Most recently I’ve read a great book on Folk Medicine.  A book on eating locally, Animal Vegetable Miracle… and a book on endurance fitness and diet.
All of which are really interesting, and lots of things I would love to talk about.  Lots of reading but not a lot of discussion… discussion would be nice.  We’ll get there.
But for now….I’ve been composing a list of foods I would like to make.  Sort of a food wish list.  It should be a very busy spring and summer…and fall.  When ever I am in a real kitchen!  On top of this list there are approximately a million cakes that I want to make but shouldn’t eat.  Know anyone looking for cake?  Tarts? Pies?
The List!
Cheese (Hard and Soft)
perfect pizza crust
baked brie
almond butter (and other varies nut butters)
apple butter
apple sauce
sweet potato gnocchi
pasta (preferbly ravoli)
black bean burgers
sour dough bread
candied fruit
barbecue sauce
pot stickers
savory tart
beet and horseradish relish
horseradish sauce
(this is just the beginning)

German Cup, Day…eins?

Yes, day one.  We had a sprint race here this morning in Germany…and after four days of perfect Bavarian sunshine we woke up to rain.  Lots and lots and lots of rain.  Can I say that once more…. LOTS OF RAIN!

And it just kept raining.  And raining and raining.  and it never stopped raining.  I suppose there is a first time for everything?

It was suppose to be just another run of the mill sprint race but of course the germans just HAD to throw in a little twist.  (always with their little twists)  and so today we had a race that was sprint length (7.5km) but with relay rounds.  Thats right relay rounds!  Why? why would you do that?  Even more bullets for me to shoot thats just asking for trouble!

The last time I had to use relay rounds was during the WJC relay in Nove Mesto…which as you might remember did not go terribly well.  Though I suppose things could only get better right? of course…

The course was sloppy but it was fun to zoom around with an equal amount of slobber and rain streaming down my face.  Awesome!  Shooting went better than my last relay rounds experience.  I used all three spares in prone for two targets, but I left with no penalties, slow sure… but no penalties!  Good day.  Then I came into shoot standing…hit, miss, hit, miss, miss, spare hit, spare hit, spare miss! bummer, one penalty.  but thats a lot less than 5!

Skiing wasn’t bad.  I skied parts strong, mostly the up hills.  I like uphills, alot.  there was down hill that spooked me a bit on my first lap and so I skied it more conservatively the next two times around, oops.  But all in all I’m feeling okay about today. Phew.

The girl that won the race, or atleast was the top German they removed all non germans from the results, started right behind me.  I put time on her each lap on the skis but she shot clean and fast and I would have to play chase after each bought on the shooting range.  That’s biathlon for you.

Just give me some time.  I can get my shooting together in due time.

An afternoon of yum.

With the afternoon off Kelly and I decided to take a stroll into town.  A little lunch of coffee and quiche followed up by what? More coffee and a dangerously large piece of cake.  All rounded up with a little light reading and sunshine!

Thanks to Kelly for letting me borrow her photos!

Oh and a little ps.
I will be attending European Championships as a member of the Junior Team in Ridnaun Italy!!!

So this must be heaven…

Yeah, that me…second from the right…the really short one!

We’ve been in Ruhpolding for a little over 4 days now and its been amazing.  The weather has been incredible, sunny every single day now.  Where is my sunscreen!?   Bavaria has been living up to my expectations.  The people are friendly, the food is delicious, the coffee is bountiful, and the trails are amazing!

Our first day here we went on long classic ski up to the base of an alpine area and around on the touring trails at the top.  There is such an abundance of trails here, it is a dream come true!  We skied around for two hours before grabbing a snack and skiing back down the valley to our van.

The town is adorable with lovely little cobble stone streets and a dangerous supply of cafes and bakeries with outside seating and views of the mountains.  This is what they mean when they say you’re “living the dream.”  I definitely stick out as a waltz around town, thanks to our captain america jackets and my lack of german…  it makes me really want to learn german (put another language on the list!) and as our amazing host at the brandstatter hof say, “Bavarian is very good speak!” I couldn’t agree more.

We’ve skied at the venue a few times already and the place is astounding.  They’ve been working tremendously hard to get the trails ready for Biathlon World Championships that will take place here in March of 2012…and it is incredible!  The stadium is incredible and the trails are both challenging and wonderful.  The course doubles back on itself a lot so virtually everything you ski up you also ski down and they’ve gone big in both directions!  …and just think I’ll be racing a german cup on the future world cup trails this weekend!  The range is sheltered…that or we’ve just had some incredibly tame weather, but in training I’ve been shooting really well here.

I understand why this place is such a biathlon mecca!  We can ski out our front door and ski to really anywhere my heart desires…including other towns, talk about a good trail network.  Every day I see couples and groups slowly meandering their way from place to place, classic touring around through sunny fields and all I think is, “Wow I could really get used to this life style!”  A favorite seems to be the ski to the restraunt, or up the mountain to the beer…  Germans really do have it all figured out.

Relay and Recap…

So World Juniors is finally done and over with.  My first and last World Junior championships… weird.

We finished out the week with a nice little relay.  After borrowing a youth (since there are only two junior women) we were on the start list.  Its the first junior womens relay for the US in three years!

Grace led us off to a great start.  She shot well and fast, only using one spare round and tagged off to Kelly in 5th.  Kelly was a young one to race up and did a good job.  She skied one penalty loop and tagged off to me in the teens somewhere.  I took off about 20seconds down from sweden.  We had awesome skis and I was FINALLY feeling good on my skis even in the slow conditions.  I was making up ground and passing teams.  It was awesome.  Unfortunately as good as my skiing was my shooting was equally terrible.  I ended up skiing 5 penalty loops, which in a relay is really bad….

on the other hand I had the 4th best time on skis and the 3rd best closing lap.


So these championships have been amazing.  I mean there were moments of joy and moments of great disappointment but its been an incredible learning experience that I am very grateful for.  Here are my thoughts.

– My shooting is inconsistent but I do have the ability to shoot well.  and displayed that.  However with work I can gain the skills and confidence to take my performance to the next level.

– My skiing isn’t bad.  I can hold my own with my age group internationally and that is exciting and motivating and really really just really cool!

– I am so ready get better.

We are now in Rupholding, hunkered down with Kelly, Grace, Ethan, Casey, Raleigh, and Ben in germany to get some more races under our belt this upcoming weekend.  We will be racing in a german cup and no one really knows what to expect.  We will have a sprint and a mass start which is really exciting.  I’ve only done one other mass start, but its fun to duke it out on the trail head to head!

From what I glimpsed this afternoon I think I am going to like it here very much.  With an easy classic ski planned for the morning and sun in the forecast life is looking pretty good!


The Ugly Truth

So yesterday….yesterday was ugly.  demoralizing.  frustrating.  embarrassing… you get the picture?

Its easy to beat myself up over how things went.  After all I am my own worse critic, with a knack for holding high expectations for myself.  I can’t really help it.  I set my goals high…but I still believe that is where they should be.

Biathlon is rough.  Its two sports, one of which I am still not terribly good at.  My shooting can only be described as sub par and inconsistent.  Things begin to look up.  I shoot 70%-80%, you gain some confidence… and then it all falls apart again.  and you’re sitting there beating yourself up because you think its not suppose to work that way!  But this is biathlon, its just a fact I am going to have to get used to.  And hopefully with a lot more hard work I can watch my shooting improve and perhaps even begin to catch up to that of my much more experienced competitors.

Like I said before yesterdays race was an individual meaning no penalty loops and 1min penalties for missed shots (rough yeah I know, trust me).  Good shooting is imperative and unfortunately I had a really really bad day on the range yesterday. Prone was once again marred by mechanical failure… leaving the range having missed 3 I had to give myself some major pep talks to not quit.  The wind was brutal for us yesterday…so I was not the only one to miss shots, however; for an experienced biathlete it went ahead and highlighted all my flaws.  I came into shoot standing and almost dirtied my targets (to hit zero)  I somehow managed to hit one and left the range at which point I’m sure I looked like I was going to cry…I was definitely thinking about it.  I came back in to hit four (the highlight of my shooting performance) before coming back into the range for my final standing where I would flip and miss four.  It wasn’t pretty.  It wasn’t easy.  and I definitely struggled to keep it together.

I did manage to somehow pull out a good ski time…one good enough that if I had shot even just 60% (something I am more than confident that I can do) I would have found myself nestled well into the top 30.  bummer.  yeah okay so, word of advice, don’t miss 12 targets.

On the plus side my next individual can only get better.  Being at the bottom isn’t fun but there’s alot of hope getting to look up.

We got to keep our bibs from the individual.  My bib of shame will be great fuel for those days where I think, “do I really have to dry-fire?”  The answer is yes. yes I do.