I made a quick swing through Vermont on my way back from Pennsylvania to jump into a race at National Guard Biathlon Championships in Jericho this morning. Although physically I didn’t feel that bad two plane rides and a weekend full of emotionally ridiculous family time later… mentally I was off my game. Vacant? perhaps. Tired? oh yes. more like plum tuckered the heck out!
But what is one to do when there is racing to be had?
So I put my big girl pants on and donned a race bib. Lucky number 10. Since I missed the sprint on Sunday morning I got to start at the back of the women’s pursuit. More fun for me. Lots of skiers to chase! The field was big (especially the men’s field) but since a lot of the military men and women don’t actually get to experience much biathlon or probably see snow that often (yes you, national guard Missouri) the field was one of quantity and maybe not so much quality. (but what they lacked in ski ability they made up for in enthusiasm)
I went through the normal race day mode.
Morning jog. Breakfast. Dry fire. Test skis. Pick up bib. Equipment control rifle check. Zero. Load race clips. Warm up. Equipment control ski check. Change into dry hat and gloves. Race.
I went through the motions almost robotically. I got my headband on right side up (again)! Everything seemed fine. Until I came into shoot my first prone stage… and for some reason I remembered… I had only loaded 3 clips! Three clips!?!? Really!?!? I remembered loading them and thinking, “two clips and a spare just in case…” I had totally been on race weekend autopilot. Sprint race mode.
More embarassing? … One of the men waiting in the start pen with me had casually asked a team mate, “You remembered 4 clips today?” I remember thinking to myself, “Four clips!? don’t you think that’s a bit excessive?” Boy was I wrong.
I managed to yell to Patrick as I left the range that I was short a clip. …I suppose there is a first time for everything? Oops!
As I left the range after my second prone stage a range official handed me a loaded clip and I managed to huck my empty one off to the side of the trail as I skied back onto course. Felt pretty foolish. But it was good practice for me and the range crew…
Here’s to hoping I never do that ever again!