Sunday, January 26, 2014

(Not) racing, and other adventures in Antholz

You can almost make out where the targets are supposed to be visible through the fog behind us.  
photo: Erik Lewish

In my last blog post, the Antholz world cup was already shaping up to be a dud for me.  I had a cold, and then broke my rifle and stopped the sprint after one lap.  But after that happened, I was psyched to have a few more days of getting better before we had a relay on Sunday.  I really love biathlon relays, and so far this year, they've always been my best races.  My coach Armin got my rifle fixed overnight by his friend and stock-maker Rudi, and my rifle was reinforced and ready to go.

Now it doesn't even look like it was broken!
I was still feeling a bit congested on Sunday, but I didn't care--I was ready to race!  But when I got to the range to zero my rifle, there was quite a scene.  The fog in the range was so thick that the targets were almost imperceptible.  If you can hardly see the target without looking through the peep sights on a biathlon rifle, then you're definitely not going to see it through the sights, since the sights let less light through to your eye and make subtle changes in tone hard to detect.  The coaches had all moved their scopes down right on to the firing line, to get closer in order to attempt to see where our shots were going.  But no one was really shooting anyways--we were just waiting for the fog to clear a bit.  But then suddenly it did clear some, and we could see the targets again and we all zeroed quickly right before the start of the race, and then the races started.  Susan skied a really solid first leg and tagged off to Annelies, who had a great prone shooting and came it to shoot standing in 5th position.  That is an awesome place for our team!  But when she came in to the range, none of the women in front of her were shooting.  The fog had come back in again, at least as thick as before.  One girl made an attempt to shoot at a target, and missed.  No one could see the targets.  And the race was cancelled.  I was going to be skiing the last leg, and had just finished my on-skis warmup and was coming up to the stadium when I heard the news.  And with that, my total dud of an Antholz world cup was complete.

Mom and Dad watching the men's relay.  

I felt especially bad about my lack of racing because my parents had come to Antholz to watch me.  Luckily, there were still races for them to watch, and this is a pretty cool place to come for a little ski vacation anyways.  They were here for a few more days after the racing was over, and the fog finally burned off a bit so we could enjoy some real Sudtirolean sunny weather!

It has been a great week of recovering, training, and spending some time with friends and family.  My parents won't be coming to Sochi, and I'm glad that they came here instead because they got to ski and see me a lot, both things they wouldn't be able to do in Sochi.  Now I have just five more days of training here before we head to US Olympic Team "processing" in Munich, and then on to Sochi from there!

After a foggy, cloudy weekend, the clouds finally lifted and mom, dad and I went for a nice little walk overlooking the dolomites.  

And then the next day there was fog in the valley, but we skied up out of it, to the top of Staller Pass, which is the border with Austria.  It was sunny and beautiful and we got cappuccinos and hot chocolates at the Alm at the top.  

And we found a pizza place that made gluten-free pizza!!  The smoked-salmon and brie pizza was my favorite. 

Susan and I met up with Ida, Pepa, and Liz Guiney for a ski at Platzwiese, high in the Dolomites.  It was a Craftsbury reunion!  They were training in nearby Toblach, before going to Sochi (Ida) and U-23 Champs (Liz).  

Platzwiese is one of my favorites places to ski.  Sun, amazing view of dolomites, perfect trails, friends and family--who could ask for more?

The Craftsbury Elementary 3rd and 4th grade students wrote Ida, Susan and I the nicest cards, and drew us some awesome pictures.  Here we are, standing in the same order as the illustration, with our hats on.
 Its so cool to have so much community enthusiasm and support!!  Thank you Craftsbury Elementary!!

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