I went for a run in Ridnaun on the morning before the last trials race, and it was sunny and sparkly out and found this beautiful barn. I knew that my first three trials races had gone well, and that my last race probably didn't even matter, but I was psyched for another opportunity to try to have a good race. So many things have to come together in Biathlon for a good race to happen--you have to ski well, which is incredibly complicated in and of itself, and then you have to shoot well in every shooting stage as well. Sometimes it feels like a quest for an elusive holy grail--that race in which you not only hit all of your targets, but you ski you best as well. So every race is an opportunity to achieve that elusive goal. My other sub-goal for the day was to get a top-10 ski time. If I could combine that with good shooting, I knew a podium was in reach. But alas, it was not to be. I felt great skiing, and had only one miss in prone, but then in standing I fell apart and missed my last three shots--what a frustrating feeling! But I went hard all the way to the finish and met my goal of a top-10 ski time, getting 9th! So at least one piece of the puzzle went well! And trials was over!! Slowly, it started to sink into my brain that I was going to the Olympics. Yippeee!!! This is me being happy that I am going to Sochi!
And now I am in another beautiful Northern Italian valley--Antholz! There is a world cup going on here right now, and then we stay here for the next two weeks to train. Below is the view from just outside out hotel here. Antholz was the very first world cup that I went to (just last year!), and its just such a beautiful place, with such a fun crowd atmosphere--I think it will always feel magical to me!
But of course the rollercoaster goes up but then it must come down again. I've come down with a cold. After spending all morning yesterday being indecisive about whether I should race in the afternoon despite having a cold (spoiler alert--I shouldn't have!), I decided to race anyways. I felt OK but not great skiing the first loop, but then near the end of it I fell and when I stood up I could tell that my rifle was broken. Sure enough, when I came in to shoot, I found that the stock of my rifle was totally broken in two, and I wasn't going to be able to shoot with it. So I raised my hand and yelled "spare!" and an official brought over our team spare rifle. Which I then realized had never been zeroed for me. So I didn't adjust the sights at all, and decided to just shoot, and sure enough I missed all 5 targets. I decided that this was a message from the biathlon gods--I was simply not meant to race today. There was no point racing when I was sick if I already had 5 penalty loops and was using the spare rifle. So I stopped. I think its the first time I've ever not finished a biathlon race.
But on the upside my Craftsbury teammate Susan was 4th, which is totally amazing, and I even got to cheer her across the finish line, so that was good to have something positive in the day!