Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winter Games

Well, the 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games have come and gone. What a great two weeks! This was New Zealands second winter games, and it was fantastic. Being the largest gathering of winter sports outside the Olympics, it is a great event to have here, and even better to be a part of it!

The 10km Classic race was one of the first competitions of the winter games. Now, let me tell you I am  not a classic master, but I do enjoy it, and as there were no other Kiwi women in, I decided to go for it. Not much competition, you know, only the 2010 Olympics gold medalist in the cross-country 30km. Nothing to worry about really. So naturally, I put my goal as to be in front by 2 minutes...Not. My goal was not to be last. There were 6 women, with 3 from Korea, one from Japan, myself, and Justyna Kowalczyk. It was a gorgeous day and I felt surprisingly good on my skis.

I ended up in 4th place, which I was smitten with, and spent the rest of the morning watching the glorious men in spandex do their thing. There were two Kiwi boys (Andy Pohl and Nils Koons) in the race, along with both the American and Canadian national team men (Just a couple World Champs and Olympic medalists). It was a great race and the boys did great.

The next day was the Sprint race and I thought it would be a good idea to do that one as well. The shortest race I ever compete in with biathlon is 7.5km, so the 1km loop was a bit of a wake-up call for my poor muscles. It was a bit of a miserable day compared to the classic day, with blizzardy type conditions, but it was still great once you got out there. Justyna Kowalczyk was once again racing, along with a couple Russian cross-country skiers, with one of them also having an Olympic medal.
Racing in the qualifier
 Since there were 9 women, 8 moved on to the semifinals. I qualified 6th, so in the semifinals I was partnered up with Justyna and another Russian women. It was great. I had fun, and I tried my hardest, but unfortunately I did not have my gold medal legs on today. It was still great to be out racing with some pretty fast chicks.

That's me in the back!
The next race was on Tuesday. I was excited for this one as it was the 5km skate, which is a bit more to my liking. Well, on the morning of the race it was awful weather and the wind was howling like madness. The organizers had to make a decision and decided to cancel the race. And that was it for the cross-country portion of the winter games! It was a great time and I am looking forward for the next ones in 2013 where we are REALLY looking forward to hopefully have biathlon in there!

Smile! :)


Sunday, August 7, 2011

Training camps galore!

Well, we biked the Heafy track, we biked the Queen Charlotte track, we kayaked the Abel Tasmin, we ran through Nelson, we explored Kaitiritiri, caught up with old friends in Nelson, and managed to fit in a rugby game to boot! What a great training camp. It was an amazing time and after this adventure I was excited to get back to school.

Term 6! Last Term of my Adventure Tourism Management diploma! 5 new classes and a very busy term ahead, it seemed like a great idea to take 2 weeks off of school for an International Biathlon Union Development camp. New Zealand was very lucky this year to have the international camp take place at the Snow Farm, 45 minutes from my home. And with 6 new targets and mats, it was going to be the real deal. Ubaldo Prucker, an enthusiastic Italian, came to run the camp and help with the development of the sport in NZ. Us 7 Kiwis, along with 4 Australians, trained together in the morning with shooting and biathlon practice, with ski technique in the afternoon. The SHPG (snow farm) Lodge outdid themselves once again with great accommodation, and Flying Trestles exceeded expectations in the food department! Thanks guys!

On the last day we had a 10km biathlon race. There were about 30 competitors! Nils Koons (Ben, his brother, went to the Olympics for X-country skiing) was involved in the camp and raced as well. It was some tough competition. I hit 17/20 with 40 second penalties, and Nils hit 12/20. The results came out, and with a 5 second difference....Nild in 1st, and I was in 2nd! ahhh so close! But it was a great day and we all had an amazing time. Thanks to the IBU for support biathlon in NZ and helping us develop, also to Ubaldo Prucker, and all the parent volunteers! Without you biathlon in NZ would not be where it is now!!! You guys rock!

After a great recovery week, I thought it would be a great idea to compete in the Peak 2 Peak, a multisport race I have competed in for the last 4 years. I died! It was so difficult, with a strong Southerly wind (which is cold in NZ!) on the kayak causing us to have to pull-out early, and a nice strong headwind for the 9km run and bike up Coronet Peak! It was tough! I palced 7th in the open women category with a time of 3 hours a 12 minutes, 15 minutes slower than last year. I blame it on the conditions! But it was so fun and I think everyone enjoyed themselves!

Now I am back in class, and the Winter Games are coming up this weekend with 4 cross-country races, and the Winter triathlon! Woohoo, should be a party!

Hope everyone is happy and healthy and loving life!

xx Sarah :)

NORMA ammunition