The people of Mammoth Lakes, California really know how to plum tucker you right out. From the moment I stepped onto the tarmac until I collapsed back into that airplane seat 5 days later we were on the move. Go go go! Every night sinking into bed only to be jolted from sleep 8 hours later. Had it really been 8 hours? 8 hours!? …felt more like 10 minutes.
The first day on the mountain was cold and foggy. The range was nestled at 9300feet. And was merely a ski up two different alpine runs. Nothing says good morning lung burn quite like skiing up that. It was only 2km from the base lodge to the range but you could easily be wiped, legs shaking, breathing hard by the time you ever reached the venue.
The venue is a whole other story. They put up a temporary range digging out both a 25meter and 50meter firing line. 20 targets ready to go. This is one self-sustained professional group! Or rather… one really gung-ho community! Passionate about the outdoors (I can see why, they live in some incredible landscape) and enthusiastic about biathlon for no other reason than it is such a cool sport!
After training the first day we helped run 8 hours of biathlon clinics in the gym at the local fitness club. 8 hours of laser rifles. Can I log that? Awesome. Awesomely exhausting. But every time we got tired you would look over at Mike Karch (the man behind all this madnesss) and be motivated by his enthusiasm for this wild event. The next day we took on the roles as “race officials” providing direction (and smiles) to racers of all ages…. something like 200+ novice racers took to the ski trail on saturday. That IS something to get fired up about! The youngest racer was a tiny 8 year old who nearly fell over she was V2ing so hard out of the range. 6 hours in the sun. a failed attempt at the local hot springs (sooo much nakedness). settling for a hot tub with a view and a home cooked meal another day was in the books.
Sunday morning we raced in a cloud. The snow was coming down, rumors were spreading that the mountain was expected 18 inches. We got to do a mass start, men and women together, and as you can imagine chasing the boys was alot of fun! One good wipe out (yep go figure, Corrine fell down…again) and too many missed targets later I was across the finish line. 1st Women. 3rd Overall.
Once my lungs remembered how to get oxygen to the rest of my body I got all my warm clothes back on… including two extra jackets from Mike (thanks for keeping me warm). We spent the rest of the afternoon helping with the adult racers and doing interviews for the Pursuit Channel and ESPN Latin America (no joke!).
It was an incredible couple of days. Exploring a new mountain, welcomed in by a whole new community. This is an event I hope continues to grow in the future. They are talking about getting a permanent range put in! Can you say altitude training? I can not thank everyone enough for putting us up in your homes, for keeping us fed, and for letting us be a part of your family. Hope to see you all again real soon!
Thanks to Jim Stimson and Jimmy Barnes for the photos below!
Going over the range with all the volunteers
Giving the kids some last minute rifle advice!
Mike Karch all smiles about to start another wave of young racers
More pre-race smiles
Mia looking determined!
Mia (Mike’s daughter) won her age group for girls and was the top shooter her age male or female!
Getting a few pointers on the range
Girls With Guns showing off!
Getting on the line with the boys
Attempting to hit some targets…
In my own little pain cave.
This is what plum tuckered out looks like.
Tired… but at the top of the podium!