Canada=>Lake Placid=>Sweden

Tonight is my last night in Canmore, Alberta, where I have been training for almost three weeks on a 2.5km loop of snow saved from last winter. This was the first time in several years that our team made the trip to “Frozen Thunder”, and I think it was well worth it. Rollerskiing just doesn’t compare to being on snow. When we first arrived, the weather was more wintery, and we even got enough snow at one point to ski to Moraine Lake in Banff National Park, but for the last week it has been balmy- near 50 degrees- meaning t-shirts, sunscreen, and slush.

Temps have been as high as 50F, so the only snow in sight is “Frozen Thunder”! Photo Leif Nordgren

We competed in two races here, and between them I saw a very wide variation in my skiing performance! My shooting stayed fairly consistent- just below my goal for average hit percentage (85%). In the first race, I shot 0,2 (=8/10 hits or 80%) and skied at the very (s)lowest end of my ability through deep, slushy conditions. I was trying hard, but not moving fast at all. That was Wednesday morning, and I blame my empty gas tank on sleeplessness and emotional distress caused by Tuesday night’s shocking US presidential election result. Despite an immense level of distraction, I was proud that I managed to make it through the race with decent shooting. I was not proud, however, to wear my Team USA uniform. That was a first.

On Thursday’s race, I shot 1,2 (=7/10 or 70%) but skied way, way faster. I was actually the fastest woman on my team that day, which has never happened before in any race. Comparing myself to a couple of teammates is not the gold standard, because everyone has bad days (just looks at how I skied on Wednesday!) but this was a dramatic confidence boost that I needed, so I will take it! If you look through the results you will notice that I was 10th both days. The important thing to look at, though, is the number farthest to the right, which is the time back from the winner. For me, that number was over two minutes on Wednesday and just 44 seconds on Thursday, despite having one more miss. You won’t see the breakdown of shooting times, lap times and total ski time, which our coaches formulate into a “race analysis”. That is the only document I bother to look at because that’s what I can learn from. Results from Wednesday. Results from Thursday. I should note that Susan Dunklee’s result on Thursday was mis-recorded and she actually won the race, with just one miss!

With two races and three weeks of training behind me I am ready to GO HOME TO MY APARTMENT AND MY BOYFRIEND. I will be in Lake Placid for 8 days before I turn around and fly to Sweden for World Cup 1. Stay tuned to watch live here. The first World Cup race of the year is only about two weeks away!

View from Yamnuska summit
Joanne and Susan taking in the view from atop Yamnuska
The ascent to Yamnuska
Happy Halloween from US Biathlon Women! That’s Susan, Joanne and me!
Google Translate facilitated this noteworthy interaction between US and Ukrainian biathletes. 
In exchange for letting me borrow this uniform they got a bottle of wine from me, and a lot of crap from their wives, apparently. 
It snowed! The road (wintertime ski trail) to Moraine Lake in Banff National Park
It was nice to take a break from “Frozen Hamster Wheel” and get out into the Canadian Rockies. 
Team Mascot, Ophelia Bailey (daughter of my teammate Lowell and his wife Erika), learns how to adjust her sites for wind from our sports psychologist Sean McCann.