Tuesday, 10 February 2015

IBU #6

So Slovakia is pretty nice.

I mean at least the Osrblie area.

And this area hosted the sixth IBU cup of the season, in which I was able to compete in for Canada, among some of my teammates.  It was a Sprint-Pursuit weekend, and Canada fielded a team of 6 athletes, 4 men, and 2 women, primarily made up of the World Junior Team. 

Osrblie range and stadium
Everyone did fairly well, considering three of the men (myself included) were participating at their first international circuit race.

Race course from the hotel window
In the men's category for the Saturday sprint race, I was ranked third Canadian at 56th, 6 seconds behind Aidan Millar in 55th, and Stuart Harden finished 40th as the top Canadian.  Carson Campbell was 61st, just missing out on the pursuit.

Nice range
My race felt fairly good. Not a perfect race, but I shot 8/10 and skied well on the steep, hilly trails.

Brutal snowfall (trust me, it was pretty bad) on the day of the Pursuit
I was super excited and happy with my result in the sprint, as before the race I did not think I would be able to make the pursuit. However, I outperformed my expectations and made my goal of qualifying for the pursuit race on Sunday.

Sarah during the sprint
The women did well in their sprint as well. Sarah Beaudry was 43rd and Erin Youngblut was 51st, both also qualifying for the Sunday race.

Erin killing it on the hill
The Pursuit day went well for the women as well. Sarah made up 15 positions to finish 28th, ad Erin finished 41st.  They were faced with some rough wind and a little bit of snow early on.

Pre-race run through the town
The Men's race however was pretty crazy. Near the end of zero, 20 minutes before the start, the weather turned and it stared to just dump wet, heavy snow everywhere. At one point you couldn't see the end of the range from the firing line. but everything started as planned.

I felt alright skiing, but certainly not amazing, and by the end of the second lap my legs were burning (not literally, don't worry).  Shooting was also fairly good, until the second prone, where the snow and wind started to do that thing where the targets disappear and large amounts of snow, wind, water and other stuff was blowing directly into my shooting eye. That was probably the low point of the race.

But everything finished off well, I managed to shoot clean my last bout standing, which felt good after missing so many.  In the end, I moved up 2 positions, but lost almost 7.5 minutes to the leaders. Probably no my best race, but it was a great experience to be racing people like Lars Birkeland who has raced for a long time on the World Cup circuit.

The other Canadian men had better races than I, both Aidan and Stuart moved up a few positions and seemed to be happy with their races.

So ends my racing experience in Slovakia for now.  I have had a good time and the experience is amazing.  To race for Canada is an honour, and I hope to represent my nation well in the events to come.  Next stop will be Minsk, Belarus for the Junior World Championships, which will also be very interesting and new.  Looking forward to those races!

Hanging out in the Amsterdam airport
I would just like to recognize those who have supported me in my dreams and have donated to help get me where I am right now.  Thanks to:
Clint Cawsey
Graham Low & Family
Erik and Ann
Troy Delfs
Barbara Clemes
Pauline Nadlersmith
The XCBC Ski Club
Nana and Pop
And Mom and Dad for all the support!