The Christmas break was nice but now it is time to get back to work. The US Juniors are preparing for Jr. World Champs in Alberta, the World Cup team was racing in Oberhof, Germany and the Europa Cup team just finished a couple of races in Altenberg Germany. This time around I was on the Europa Cup team. We arrived on the fifth and had to adapt to the time change. I still have difficulty falling asleep before 12 at night.
First race was a 20km individual. Good shooing is essential on an Individual race and I still did not have it for that particular day. The course was in my favor: long climbs and nothing technical on the way down. I missed one shot in my fist stage, followed by two in the next standing stage. When I came into my second prone stage the wind picked up and, in Retrospect, I took to many clicks and payed for it with three more misses. I wasn't able to put together a good last standing stage and suffered two more penalties for a total of eight minutes added on to my final time. On the plus side, ski speed felt on par. I was only 2:30 out from the one of the faster skiers in the world in a 50+ min race.
After only 24 hours of rest the sprint competition was underway. I attacked the uphills on all three loops. No one could hang with me on the steep section, but I payed for it on the flat stretches. I did my best to take only good shots during prone. I was on pace for a clean stage but missed my last shot. A little disappointed but not flustered, I headed to penalty loop. Standing was a blur from first shot to the last. Don't get me wrong, the focus was there, but I still had to double check to make sure I only had one miss before leaving the shooting mat.
So two misses. 80% isn't great but it is solid for me. I picked it up the last loop and snagged the 16th fasted third loop time. I ended up 45th on the result list. It was a good race for me personally and something to build off of for the next races.
The upcoming races are in good old Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. This will my third year in a row racing on that course. The weather has been a little warm in comparison to the County and especially to the races in Alaska from what I hear. So that about sums up the first week of racing of 2009.