Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sweden and back, with a few stops in between

Well! A lot has happened since my last blog and it hasn't even been a month.

First start number of the season
Being back in Ostersund after many years away was a great treat, and I was really looking forward to the races. Unfortunately right before the races I had some bad back problems, so was going to the chiropractor that week to try and sort things out. It seems as though I am not so stable even after a summer of core strength and all I can do about it is a lot of now I travel around like an old woman with a physio ball and acupuncture mat. It's nice and not inconvenient at all ;)

Team extreme- Bossman Bitnes and me
The first race was the 15 km Individual. The race started off well- 1 mistake in Prone...and then went downhill from there, and not in the skiing sense- 2 mistakes in standing, then 3 mistakes in the next prone and then...disaster. Have you all heard of cross-firing? Well, this is when you are, say on shooting lane 27, and you shoot on lane 26. This is exactly what I did, which means that although I hit 3 targets, I had 5 misses. What a catastrophe! 11 mistakes out of 20. Okay Sarah, how could it get any worse than that right???  Well I was wrong.

The next race was the 7.5 km sprint and this is usually my kind of race. I was really excited to get out there and have a good on- aaaaand then I came in for the shooting. Prone for me is usually easy and I can just hit the targets with my eyes closed. But no, not this time, because I missed 4 targets out of 5. WHAT! 4 penalty loops- what a bummer. After 600 meters extra and a massive right leg from going around in the same direction, I headed out for my second 2.5 km loop. It was lovely, until I started shooting standing. 5 misses....out of 5! How is this even possible. If someone, with no eyes and no hands decided after 73 years that they wanted to start biathlon, they would hit more targets than me. Something had to be wrong with my rifle because this is not normal.

and something was wrong with my rifle. It was old...27 years old to be exact, and in barrel years this is approximately 359 years old. It had probably over 100, 000 bullets through it and was not a happy camper. Anschutz told me it was warped and not shooting straight anymore. The reason why we did not see this before the season was because it still shot fine in the warm weather- but as soon as it got cold, it was kaputskid.

I was really disappointed that my shooting was so poor because of a malfunction, but I bought a new sprint barrel from Anschutz the day before my next competition in Hochfilzen, Austria and trained that day looking forward for better shooting the next day. It was really strange with the new sprint barrel as it is a lot lighter than my old one, so I really had to get used to it. In the sprint race the next day I started and felt amazing. Slovenia had waxed probably the best skis I have ever skied on, it felt more like they were skiing and I was just along for the ride. Such an amazing feeling. I came in for my first prone and hit all five- That is more like it! Heading straight out onto the track and poking my tongue out at the silly penalty loop was maybe not the best idea because what was to follow was another total catastrophe- 5 misses standing. Out of 5... How is this even possible? The feeling was maybe that the barrel was so light and I was missing high but I cannot blame it on anything more than myself. What a shame after feeling so good on skis.

So then I came back to Switzerland for a quick break from the World Cup atmosphere and got some great skiing in in the mountains. Absolutely beautiful here in Engadin valley. On Tuesday I jumped on the night train and 12 hours later I was in Bled, Slovenia. Man, the night train is so cool! You can just get on, go to sleep in a real bed, then they bring you tea in the morning and you're at your destination. Much better than driving your own my opinion.

So then I was in beautiful Bled, Slovenia and it was wonderful. I love Slovenia so much- the people, the scenery, and the ski tracks are just amazing. Training the next day was perfect blue skies and hard tracks and everyone was feeling great. The next day was another 7.5 km sprint and once again, I was feeling good on my skis. Slovenia really did an amazing job making them for me- thanks guys! I came in for prone and missed 2...ahh dang...2 times around the P-loop. After another 2.5 km loop with a German athlete, Sachenbacher, I came in for standing and missed 2 as well. Well, you know what? better than 5 misses standing, so I'll take that. Although I still missed 4, which is 4 too many, I felt good on my skis and would have qualified for the pursuit had I shot better. This is a positive thought and so I go into the next year positive that things will turn around for the better.

I am now in Switzerland enjoying some great skiing in the beautiful mountains, with a little trip to Ridnaun, Italy tomorrow to do an Italian cup. It will be nice to get the body moving for 2 more races before Christmas.

Speaking of Christmas, I hope everyone has a Very, Merry one and a Happy Happy Happy New Year!

xxx Sarah :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Back on track- Ostersund, Sweden


Racing summer Deutschmeisterschaft in Oberhof
With my sis in Venice
Summer in Switzerland was amazing. I went on a lovely trip to London to ensure I was not illegal in Europe, had a great 11 day recovery week in Egypt (+45!), I visited my sister in Venice, and I of course, trained...a lot. The summer training was great-  a lot of passes climbed by foot, bike and rollerski, and a lot of smiles and laughs and wonderful times I don't think I will ever forget. I really feel lucky to have had such an amazing summer and if the season goes poorly, I know I enjoyed every minute of my preparation for it, and no matter what happens it was worthwhile.

Training is always hilarious. With a Norwegian coach, 3 Swissies, 1 Norwegian athlete and a kiwi athlete, we never really know what language we are speaking. It is a mixture of norwegian, swiss german, high german, english, romantsch, and probably chinese but we don't even realize it. Fortunately, we had no fatalities this summer, so I would say all in all it was a booming success. 

First ski in Engiadine
Mamma and Pappa Murphy came and visited me in St. Moritz for 4 days which was just great for me mentally as I had not seen them for over 6 months. It is amazing how a hug from a parent makes everything in life so much better. We explored Engiadine valley for 4 days together and then had a hilarious 'Murphy group mission' to Zurich in a little dinky-toy car with all of their baggage, plus my ski bag, rifle, and 4000 other bags. It was a comedy show.

Training on Stelvio glacier
Now, I will admit coming to the airport the next day I was a little frightened. I may or may not have had a rifle in Switzerland without the proper papers, and when the SAS staff told me to go to the zoll to get my rifle checked, my whole body may have been trembling slightly...but the man was lovely and when I showed him my Canadian rifle permit he seemed pleased enough. Then I ran away as fast as possible and boarded my plane to Ostersund, Sweden. I will also mention I am still able to buy Youth tickets on SAS flights so that was a nice ego booster.

I arrived in Sweden and was picked up by a great friend who I had not seen in 4 years. It is amazing how nothing changes with some people- You can be apart for so long, and then as soon as you come back together it is like you just saw them the day before.

Mum and Dad visiting Switzerland :)
After a great week training in Ostersund with my coach Vegard Bitnes...Yes, you heard me right, I have a coach! He is here with me until November 27th and I will say it is such a treat having someone consistent to zero me and be at trainings. Anyways, on Wednesday November 21st we drove from Ostersund to Idre, Sweden and prepared for the first IBU cup. It was exciting to be so close to racing again and to get that blood pumping again. I was remembering 4 years ago when I was last in Idre, my very first biathlon race for New Zealand, and I flew off the track and was carried back on my some burly men. This time, I did not fly off the track but the sketchy corner is still there and there were some amazing tumbles.

As the races were preparation races, I am not too concerned about my results, but let's just say the skiing was great but the shooting was a small disaster.  Just getting all those misses off my chest so that I have no misses for the World Cup races :) What a plan!

I am now back in Ostersund, which is in full World Cup swing! Very exciting to be back here. The first race for me is the Womens individual on Thursday, December 29th. You can watch it live on!

Lot's of love,


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

More Switzerland, and season schedule :)

I am alive and well! Switzerland has been treating me just dandy with all this high-altitude fresh mountain air, jolly yodelers and cow-bell gloriousness. Training is split between the three biathlon ranges we have here: one in Pontresina in the horse field (where a typical day starts with shooing the horses into another field and then having to run through them for combo training), one range in St. Moritz (Where we dodge well-dress Italians, Lamborghini's, and dog's richer than us), and the one in S-chanf on the military base (where we rollerski around cannons and tanks being set-up). It really is combination training.

What with the 2012 Summer Olympic games in London just finishing, I've been at a loss as to what to do with my recovery time. For the last two weeks I was getting into a nice rhythm of wake up, watch Olympics while eating breakfast, train, eat lunch while watching Olympics, pretend to nap whilst on the couch watching the Olympics, train, burn dinner as distractedly running out of the kitchen to catch more of the Olympics, and then continue to watch the Olympics until bed time. It has really pumped me up for the coming 2014 Olympics in Sochi, which is really, not so far away.

Especially this little clip:

oh wait, wrong one ;)

I meant this one:

Time has flown by though, and I can feel the winter getting closer and closer. In just 4 months, myself, and many other athletes will be making our way to Sweden for the first set of competitions. Right now my tentative schedule if all goes well, and all qualification are made is as such:

WC 1: Ostersund, Sweden
WC 2: Hochfilzen, Austria
WC 3: Pokljuka, Slovenia

Christmas Break

January WC 4: Oberhof, Germany
WC 5: Ruhpolding, Germany
WC 6: Antholz, Italy

World Championships: Nove Mesto, Czech Republic
WC 7: Oslo, Norway
WC 8: Sochi, Russia
WC 9: Khanty Mansysk, Russia
For more details and exact dates, go to: and then into events :)

Other than that, I hope this finds everyone happy and healthy and loving life!!!

Take care, have fun and smile :) Sarah

Sunday, June 10, 2012


 I hope this finds everyone happy and healthy! I am now living in Switzerland, training with the Swiss women biathletes and coach, Vegard Bitnes. Here is a quick update on how it happened and what is happening now :)

  I arrived home on April 1st, and started work ski patrolling at Lake Louise Ski Resort on April 2nd! However, it was great to get right back into the swing of things and jumping back onto downhill skis was a nice change from cross-country. Waking up at 5:30am and getting home at 7pm also made for long, but fulfilling days. During April and May I was also working on trying to make Switzerland workout somehow. I needed to find a sponsor to make things work out and was ecstatic when 'Washtronics' jumped on board to help me out. A big thanks to Bob Rose from Canmore! I booked my flight five days before moving to a new life in Switzerland- typical Murphy style- Thanks Uncle Frank for helping me out- You rock!

So I arrived into Munich airport at 7:30am on the 23rd of June and was picked up by a great biathlon fan, Eric Bauer. We then proceeded to drive to a random gas station between Ruhpolding and Munich to meet another friend who had my rifle- Thanks Maria! From there we drove to Chur, Switzerland, where I jumped on the train with my rifle, ski bag, duffel bag, backpack and purse...sound familiar? I was having nightmares the whole time of a similar situation I was in years ago to do with trains and bags and disastrous situations....I was determined to make it this time! As the train pulled into Samedan train station, I was ready for action. I am pretty sure I frightened the  heck out of the 5 people on the station platform as I ninja'ed my way out! But I made it out and had all my then the train sat at the station for another 15 minutes- dang, no need to rush. All well, I made it in one piece!

It was great to be greeted at the station by Elisa, my new housemate and training partner. She drove us to S-chanf- my new home town. Our house is around 500 years old, and the village has about 600 people or so. There is a church, a restaurant/hotel, and a small store....and a lot of goats. All the streets are cobble-stone, absolutely beautiful, but a bit tricky on the roller skis ;) I really wonder what Swiss farmers spend on bells- every livestock has a bell! It is incredible...and sounds like Christmas all the time :)

The next day it all started. We went to Italy and had pizza and went for a run, and since then it has been full-on training. Vegard is an amazing coach, and having training partners is a whole new world compared to the last five years of training alone. The plan now is to try and get a visa (woops, maybe should have done that earlier??) and then stay and train here for minimum one year- hopefully up to the next Olympics in 2014. Fingers crossed :)

Thanks to Devonian Properties and Caribou Properties for being here for me through everything, and of course my wonderful parents and family whom I have left once again- I really do love you! And last but not least, all of YOU for your great support during these ridiculous situations I seem to get myself into! THANK YOU!

Take care, have fun and smile! Have a gander at the photos below :)

Sarah :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Thanks Shades on Caribou!!!

What great support from Shades on Caribou! So nice to have them supporting local athlete! You guys ROCK!

NORMA ammunition