Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Nowhere like Norway

Leaving Russia was hilarious. The mornings breakfast was all of last nights dinner, and no breakfast food = yum, deep friend salmon steaks and spaghetti. We got onto a random bus and were taken to the airport at 7:45am. All our rifles and ski bags were to hopefully meet us in Oslo. We pretty much just threw our bags on a truck and hoped. The airport was pretty simple- huge lineup and bag taging. No seats given, just a free for all. It was a good flight, and all the bags arrived when we arrived. Oh, except my ski bag was taken to Holmenkollen, where I was not going. But they delivered it to my accommodation and everything was cheery.

A nice helicopter on the tarmac

We skied every day, and on Thursday Uiloq and I went to Holmenkollen to watch the mens and womens pursuit. We had a great skate ski before the races, visiting a great wooden church in the middle of nowhere, and then we had managed to get VIP tickets so we had a gourmet lunch in the VIP area, and watched the races. It was a fabulous.

On the Friday, the family and I drove to the middle of somewhere in Norway and spent two nights at the family cabin. It was absolutely incredible; amazing trails, gorgeous weather, great company. Couldn't ask for anything better!

The two nights flew by, and before I knew it we were back in Holmenkollen, watching the mass start races. It was a really great day and we arrived back home at 6:30pm, just in time to pack and get the kids to bed. We then woke up at 3:30am and drove to the airport where I was dropped off, and jumped on a plane to Calgary, Canada! I am now in Canmore, at home with my parents and dog, and am off again for more adventures on Monday the 28th!

Thanks again for all the support this season. You lot are fantastic!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

From Russia, with Love part 2

That was not how I planned to end my season. 50% shooting. 10/20. Oh goodness it hurts to even write it. It was a windy day, but I wont blame the wind. I think it was mostly me. I came in for my first prone and missed 3. The wind switched directions while shooting and I was completely off- I should have noticed though. I then came in for standing and missed 4. All me. I was feeling really good on my skis, and after my 7th miss just decided to enjoy the bloody race and get it over and done with.

I came in for my second prone and missed 2. Alright, 9 misses already- thats cool. Now I just wanted to enjoy the scenery. Lalala- oh look at the army men. Last standing- 1 miss. That's nice to finish with. I felt great on all the up hills and just enjoyed the skiing part of the race.

So...We are looking at the glass half full. Did I miss 10, or did I hit 10? I say I hit 10- so there's another positive. I ended up 88th, but three other girls missed 10- so it was not just me!

Now what? Well, I am off to Oslo. Why? Because I was hoping to be qualified for Oslo and be racing there. Unfortunately I am not, and will just be having a small vacation there instead. It sucks, but maybe I'll buy something cool like a onepiece, jumpin (www.onepiece.no). I fly to Canada on March 21st to see the family for a week, and then driving out to Vancouver Island with my sister to see some other family. April 3rd (haven't booked yet but am planning too!) is when I fly to New Zealand and start school on the 18th. Yahoo- What a month I have ahead of me!

Have fun everyone. Let's just say this season was a 'catastrophe'. I am excited for the future and to start trainingas long as I find a coach, and some sponsorship. Ahhhhhhhh-----Just keep your chin up, and all will be fine ;)

From Russia, with Love

Russia is wonderful. Really, actually, 100% serious, I truly love it. We are staying at Hotel Olympic, which was built in September specifically for the Chess Olympics. We are the 2nd group to stay here, so it is pretty new, with very high ceilings and very low light switches. Usual food choices are: fish, creamy coleslaw type salads, oil-soaked meat, potatoes, some sort of rice, and some soup. The oatmeal in the morning tastes like rice pudding, which is odd and delicious at the same time, and the array of miniature cakes at breakfast, lunch and dinner is impressive, even though I’m not the biggest fan of cake.

The venue is fantastic. Great trails, great snow, and the temperatures for the most part have not been deathly cold. The wind though, that’s what will take you down, but when skiing in the trees it’s not a big issue. We arrived 4am Monday morning, so  Tuesday I only went for a short ski to have a look at the racecourse for the sprint. Really nice.  Opening ceremonies was neat, with kids running around with lighted wheel things, and some random winter ballet dance- exciting in a Russian kind-of way.

My first race was the sprint. I was starter 52, which was nice, and felt 100 times better skiing than at European champs in Ridnaun.  I came in for prone and hit 5- yahoo! Feeling good I skied straight passed PL (penalty loop) and went out for my 2nd loop. Coming in to standing I was thinking of relaxing and just shooting like I do in training. Obviously standing shooting and I have not resolved any of our issues and are still in the middle of a divorce, as I missed 3. Completely frustrated I left the range to hang out with the PL for a while. Wholly man alive- 3 penalty loops is a killer. I went out on my last loop feeling slightly more fatigued than before, and finished my first 2011 World Champs race in 85th.

Today is the individual starting at 17:15. I am bib 61. It is an awful windstorm outside right now, with violently blowing snow. Perfect conditions for an exciting race, if it keeps up.

Party hard everyone!

Xx Sarah

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ridnaun to Russia

Who needs pursuits anyways? That, I think, is an excellent question. I sure don't need them- especially when I miss 2 in both prones and am forced out of the race. Not the best and I am thoroughly disappointed with this race. I am severely hoping things will pluck up!

The next day a whole new adventure began. At 6am, petr and myself, and the four Aussies booked it to Munich. It was a lovely drive, and when we got to the little town of Haar, I was dumped on the sidewalk and left to wander the streets aimlessly. What I was actually trying to do was find the train station to catch the train from Haar to Munich East train station, and then the U5 train to 'Max-something' station, and then find my way on foot to the Russian embassy. It was fantastic! Has anybody seen 'Trains, planes and automobiles'? Great movie, and I think it explains everything. 

I arrived at the Russian embassy and told that man whose boss: me! He tried to make me wait and I had had enough of the Russian waiting policy where it is whoever is pushiest is next, so I told him "no, I have a flight, I need it NOW!" (hand gestures and everything- I tried the Russian scowl but mayb have just looked nauseous).  He gave it to me right away without a fuss- Success! (It wasn't a rude in any way, it was just confident!). 

I then made it back to Max-something station, ate breakfast and lost my mittens and waterbottle, and then hastily followed a little old woman around the train station and she helped me find my correct train. What a lovely lady....maybe she stole my mittens? I made it to the Munich airport, and found Petr in line with about 200 other people to check in for our flight to Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia! We waited, and waited, and then lined up in a new line and waited some more. We then got into the plane, and I think we did some more waiting. Taking off was an exciting change to the waiting, and when we arrived in Russian I heard the wonderful sound of the border-man stamping my passport, and we were in! We then waited for our bags, and then waited on the bus and at 3:30am we arrived to our hotel! Success…don’t worry, just one more wait as they did not have a room for me, but then….bed….oh how glorious! Gold bedding and curtains- High class over here in Siberia! (Over here? Maybe up here..depends where you are currently positioned on the globe).

And now I believe I love Russia. I have not seen a lot, but I have seen an abundance of fur and camo, counted 38 army men just on the 2.5km loop at the stadium, and a very impressive church. Today I will attempt to buy something from the grocery store. I know, pretty crazy, but what can I say; I’m living on the edge!

NORMA ammunition