I finished out the season this weekend with what I think will be my two final races of the year! We had a pursuit on saturday and a mass start on sunday. The races got longer and longer as the week went on progressing from a 7.5km to our final race which was 12.5km…but so did my shooting! I mean…it progressed! from 60%…than 65%…than 80%! It wasn’t a bad way to end the year.
Saturday’s race was one of the nicest skiing days we had all week. It was sunny and the tracks were fast. It wasn’t a true pursuit as we used a standardized interval start of 5seconds between each skier, but 5seconds is nothing. We were all out on course in no time, the game of chase was on! I got a little too excited to chase and came into the range a little too hot…and so my penalty loops began. 2 in both my prone stages, and then 1miss and 2misses in my standing stages. All in all it wasn’t terrible, actually shooting 70% standing was huge for me…I haven’t hit that many standing targets since Junior Trials! I won the Junior women’s race…but mostly I enjoyed teasing the youth men. You see we raced the same distances as the boys for the first two races. You have to keep those kids on their toes, and of course none of them like to lose, much less to me!
Sunday morning we woke up to rain. Yep more of the wet stuff. I pulled on my snowpants once more and oumpalumpaed around the course until race time. I don’t mind skiing around in my snowpants, what I found in Ruhpolding is that they keep me really warm which is really nice for my legs before I head out onto course. When I slipped them off before heading to the start pen steam was rising off my tights! The junior women started together with the senior women which was a lot of fun. I look up to a lot of those girls so its fun to rub elbows with them every once and a while. We took the first loop pretty easy. I found that although I don’t mind skiing behind people I struggle to ski in a group, I can follow, but it drives me crazy when people ski right behind me…I’ll have to work on this. I felt too antsy and so part way through I thought, “What the heck!” and took the lead. I think they all got a kick out of it…perhaps something along the lines of, “Sure let the junior lead, silly kid!” Sure enough I came into the range first and got to take the first point. I’m a slower shot and so most of the women got off their first rounds before me….but I let myself settle and hit all 5 targets, one at a time. I left the range on the heals of two of the senior women who also cleaned. After passing one of the Barnes twins I tried to track down the leader before we came back into the range.
When I came into shoot, there she was on her mat. I got down, settled, and once again…they all went down!! Two clean stages!! I took off onto course, and until most of the way through the loop I had no idea I was leading the women’s race! Crazy! I came into shoot in second getting overtaken out on course, bummer. I’ve been struggling with standing alot recently and my legs were tired from racing and the wet heavy slop of snow we had to race through. I missed two in both of my standing stages. Getting bumped into 4th in the seniors women’s race on the range in the last bought of shooting. They charged out onto course as I skied my penalties. I could see Susan and Tracy through the trees on the climbing section and wished I was skiing with them instead of by myself! They took off and although I gained a little time back on tracy it wasn’t enough to overtake her. After the race Susan said that they had seen me through the woods and thought, “Crap she’s coming for us!” it really was the icing on the cake.
I had a big stupid grin on my face for the next hour or so until finally I got so cold even in dry clothes and several jackets that I couldn’t keep myself from shaking!
Soon enough I was loaded up, coffee and a cookie in hand, and on the road once more. My car was pointed towards home and I was happy to be going that direction at last.
Its been warm throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota for the past week, and with the rain we’ve lost a lot of snow… Spring is right around the corner…right? Pretty sure its suppose to be anyway. According to the weather we are in for a Blizzard/Winter Storm warning from tuesday morning until wednesday morning. Aw Shucks, Gee Dangit! So although my mind has already drifted to far away tropical lands, to beaches and bathing suits I might find myself shoveling snow drifts again. Much sooner than I had hoped.