Thursday, January 27, 2011

Aint nothin like Antholz!

Antholz, Italia. If ever anyone gets the chance to visit here, just do it. The weather is always (knock on wood) beautiful, and the skiing is spectacular. The tracks run from almost the valley bottom to all the way up and over the pass and into Austria. Once must, as we did, stop for a Gluwein at the cafe at the top of the pass. The best part is the rip-roaring ski down (this is where the Gluwein helps!) and the ski back across the frozen lake. Really nice.

We arrived Monday to the Bergerhof, a 2 bedroom apartment, which includes 3 cows, a pony, a few (barking) dogs, and 1000 cats. The cows, personally, were my favorite.


The next 2 days were easy training as I was not sleeping well and did not want to push it. On Thursday the men raced and on Friday was us ladies, all 96 of us. I was starter 62 and was feeling good. The weather was nice, the mountains were spectacular, and there was a little wind. The course is beautiful in Antholz, and very fast. In the mens race, there were 60 men within 2 minutes of each other- any mistakes and you could lose 10 spots easily.

After my first loop I came in for prone and missed 1. I wasn't expecting it as it felt like a good shot, and my coach Richard after the race said it was a very close split. Lame! My 2nd loop went well until I fell- it was a silly fall on the S-turn downhill, but I have a nice bruise on my knee. I came in for standing and missed 2- too bad! 3 misses/10 and I placed 94th. It was disappointing as I was not feeling awful, I was pushing hard, and did not miss a ludicrous amount of targets.

That is when I made the decision to fly home to Canmore to have a 3 week break from racing and to just train. It was a tough decision as I was scheduled to be flying to Otepaa, Estonia for Cross-country FIS U23 World Championships. I hated pulling out of a race, but as I am sick now and am not in my best condition, I think it was wise. Good luck to everyone racing there!

I am now in Canmore until Feb18th and then will fly back to Europe to race at European Championships! Thanks to Devonian Properties who once again came to my aid and made it possible for me to come home. You are rockin it!

Take care, have fun and smile! Oh, and I just posted a bunch of pics http://picasaweb.google.com/smurphme12/Europe20102011?feat=directlink

Sarah xx

Monday, January 17, 2011

Rainy (but then sunny) Ruhpolding

We arrived on Sunday to our nice little farmhouse apartment just outside of Ruhpolding in a town called Brand. There were about five houses in the area, but it was great. When we arrived, there was snow and fog. The fog had followed us from Oberhof and we were not pleased. The next day for training, we woke up to rain. Bahhh- We were again not so pleased. Richard arrived on Tuesday and it was fabulous to see him again- he brought a little bit of sunshine to miserable Ruhpolding when he arrived ;)

Next year the World Championships are in Ruhpolding, and in preparation for this, they changed the course completely. We now ski backwards to what it used to be, and have some new deathly downhills to battle, as well as some gnarly uphills. Training on Wednesday was 'sketch'tacular- with the rain and then freezing in the night, the downhills were tricky. I think I did the downhill 10 or more times to practise, and still shuddered in the night thinking of the next day.

Thursday = Race day = Womens 15km Individual. Four times shooting- 5 times down the three sketchballs hills. I think I sharted myself 47 times in the race, with many near falls myself, and 4 people eating it infront of me, no wonder I missed 6/20. My heartrate was up and down like the springy-yodelling toys they sell here. Oh, and another thing, it was absolutely pouring down with rain. I have never raced, nor witnessed a race, in that type of torrential downpour. My boots were still wet 3 days late even after being under a heater, and after wringing everything out once, was able to wring it all out one more time. It was exciting though. I enjoyed it- my skiing felt good, but with 6 misses, it was a bit of a doozy.

The next day the sun came and out and Bruce and Richard and I went for a fabulous ski, or should I say adventure, up by 3 lakes. With all the rain, the rivers and creeks had flooded and half the ski trails were washed out. We took our skis off six or so times to cross flooded creeks and rivers. It was exciting and a nice ski in the end!

Saturday was the womens 7.5km sprint. I was feeling good, and although woke up to rain, it was not raining during the competition. Yahoo! I think everyone was excited for this race as we only had to do the "wholly crap, Im going to die" hills three times. I went out as starter 73 and hit 5 prone. Yes- no penalty loops! I went out feeling good, and coming in for standing was excited and confident. Well, I missed 2- Shade! (German for 'Too bad!') Two times around the 150m penalty loop and then we were off to finish. I felt good and hit 8/10 so was pleased with this race- but it did not show in the results. I was 83rd in the end, 5 minutes behind. I need to step it up a bit, I think.

Yesterday the sunshine came out and we didn't know what to do with ourselves we were so excited. We ended up going to the indoor sauna. I think we were confused and forgot that sunshines are warm.

Today we are off to Antholz, Italy. Next race Thursday.

xxx Much love, Sarah

Monday, January 10, 2011

World Cup 4 = Oberhof

Oberhof was not fantastic. What a negative sentence to begin with, but it is factual. We were greeted with Germany's lovliest: wind, rain, and fog. Training, let me tell you, was hilarious on the first day. Here is how it went: Bruce, who is here from NZ for the next 3 World Cups as Richards support and man on course, has never been to a true biathlon race, and he had never looked through a scope. Unfortunately Richard could not attend these races so Thursday, two days before the race, was supposed to be our instruction day where I taught him how to zero. It is really not too difficult to look through a scope...or so I thought! The fog was so thick, that all the coaches were lined up alongside the athletes shooting mats trying to see the targets, to no avail. That day was definitely not the day to learn how to zero.

Friday, official training, was the same. It was very tricky to see the target, and training was a slight disaster. So, that was also not the day for Bruce to learn.

The next day was race day. 4:40pm zero, and a 6:11pm start for me; a late one! The fog had cleared and it was not raining too badly. Well, Bruce tried his hardest! He did rather well, but in the end, I must thank Walter Pichler from the British team who double checked my target and gave Bruce some helpful pointers. It was rather hilarious.

OH, and the race. of course- well, It was not spectacular. I missed 2 in prone, and 2 in standing. 6/10- not grande. I also felt quite tired and flat on my skis. Here is hoping it picks up! Positives: I LOVE the crowd and vibe of Oberhof- I really enjoyed the energy of the race!

We are now in, you would not believe it, foggy Ruhpolding! It is rarely like this here but the Dementor-like-fog has followed us down! Dang!

Much Love, Sarah

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Differences

Christmas and New Years in blue sky, crisp snow, cheesy, chocolaty Switzerland was absolutely fantastic. Just what was needed- Staying with Severine and Nicolas and baby Lily, whom I personally think should be up for International couple/family of the year, was amazing. The ski touring was great, as well as the cross-country skiing. There was no shooting for me this holidays as there was no range to shoot on, but I am sure my rifle was happy for the break as well ;)
 We went on some amazing missions!

 We ate way too much food! But it was amazing!
video

The next day we packed up and drove to Oberwald and had yet another beautiful cross-country ski session! It was -21 in the morning, so we delayed our ski, and went at a lovely -12 instead. The best part of the day, I must say, was taking the car transport-train through the Furka tunnel! Yahoo- it was fantastic! We stayed a night in Zurich with the one and only Katie Calder, New Zealand Olympian for Cross-country skiing, and my partner in womens double luge- Olympic gold medalists- Once its a sport I's sure ;) and we are now in Oberhof Germany.

The land of bratwursts and beer is windy and rainy and foggy and blowing like a bagpiper going crazy. It was interesting training today- the fog was so thick that the coaches were lined up on the shooting range beside the shooting mats trying to see the targets- with no luck. Hitting 5 was a great achievement, and the one time I did it I received a nice applause from some coaches- Success!

My thoughts and love also goes out to Kelly McBroom- Downhill skier extraordinaire! She broke her leg skiing and is in the Salzburg hospital with 2 more surgeries to go. SENDING LOTS OF LOVE TO HER!!!

2 days until race day! Yahoo! SMILE EVERYONE!

NORMA ammunition