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 :)

NORMA ammunition