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!