‘Tis the Season to Race

November 28 was the official start to my 2009-10 competitive season.  The week leading up to this opening weekend had above normal temperatures which hindered the snow making at the Canmore Nordic Centre.  The organizers somehow came up with a race course the night before the race, and pulled off a fantastic first weekend of racing.  Saturday I raced in the Junior Men’s category in a 10km Biathlon Sprint.  It was an incredible feeling to finally be able to let it all out in a race situation and against some of the best able-bodied biathletes in Canada. I really struggled with my shooting missing 5 shots out of 10 (oh yeah really bad), but bad shooting was the story of the weekend for everyone it seemed.  I finished 7th that day, a result I’m extremely proud of, and hoped to improve in Sunday’s race.

Sunday was a Pursuit, so based on the finishing order of the Sprint we started the Pursuit race.  So immediately after you start you know where you are, you pass someone; you have just moved up a placing.  Skiing in the Pursuit race was awesome, technically it was solid, I made some strong tactical decisions and on the snow had a great race.  Shooting, seemed determined to be my enemy.  I shot clean in my first bout, missed one in the second, missed two in my third and in the final bout missed three shots.  I’m really glad there wasn’t any more shooting with that pattern.  Unfortunately I lost a placing and finished in 8th.  Again, I look at that result and I’m very pleased with it.

With the beginning of December upon us, the weather decided it would cooperate and dove below freezing on Saturday.  Since then I don’t think the snow cannons have been turned off for even a minute.  This was a good thing because this weekend, the first in December, Canmore would play host to two sets of races.  With one cross country and one biathlon, there was a need to make a lot of snow so that the races would not conflict with each other.

They were successful!  At 11 on Saturday morning (December 5) Canmore Nordic Centre had two races going at the same time.  I was sticking to my basic instincts and was racing the biathlon race.   Same as the weekend before Saturday was a Sprint day, and I was in the Junior Men’s 10km race.  I skied well but was missing some of the racing “snap” in my legs, and struggled a little to find speed.  I was also having difficulties with my rifle for the past few days but it seemed to be repaired just before the race.  The first bout I missed one shot while in the second bout I missed three, and that put me out of the running.  I finished 10th, a little disappointing but considering the shooting and lack of snap, I wasn’t going to get too upset about it.

Sunday the 6th, the plan is to switch gears and race the distance cross country event.  But there is a tiny issue that may develop that being a coolish ‘high’ for Sunday of -25 for race time (and that has no wind chill yet either!)  We will have to wait till the morning to find out what temperature it actually turns out to be and after that whether we race.

I’m hoping some of this cold weather will head east and bring some snow just in time for Christmas.  All the best and until the next time!

Mark


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