Saturday, January 07, 2006

Biathlon 10K Sprint Osceola

January 7th turned out to be a sunny day, starting at about 3 degrees and soaring to 25 degrees. Eight peoples worth of ski equipment, biathlon rifles, food piled into the car at 7:45 - 15min behind schedule and raced north to Osceola. I was worried about the snow - in Syracuse there was only a few inches and that didn't look good for racing. Once we got north of Camden, my worries were gone - there must have been at least 2 ft of snow on the ground! Also north of Camden are hilly, bumpy, twisty roads. I'm thinking were late and so I'm pushing it. The result was Isaac got sick and threwup. We got to the ski center and Kathy raced off to get us registered, while Caleb, Joshua and I grabbed rifles and headed to the range to zero. I thought we were going to be late, turned out the range opened just as we got there. Sorry Isaac. It was really perfect weather: sunny, no wind and new snow. Temperature started out at about 3 degrees, but climbed to about 25. Zeroing was strange. I took 10 shots and was low center, brought it up 5 clicks and was still low. Brought it up another 6 clicks and was still low - just below the prone ring. At that point the lines started to form to zero so I gave up my position and popped it up another 4 clicks and hoped things worked okay.

Went back to collect ski equipment and check to see how the rest of the family was doing. I heard this call and saw Isaac out in a field with his snow shoes! He'd asked and received these for Christmas and had been talking about them ever since - so today was the big day! There were tracks all over the field! Grabbed skis and went out to warm up. I was pretty nervious about the skiing today. I had done the Osceola 10K three weeks ago and it wasn't pretty. Skate skiing is still new to me - wasn't looking forward to looking like a clutz. Last year I did the novice division which was 7.5K. Since I can only do that one season, this year I moved to the open division at 10K. Skied around for a while and before I knew it there were Donath's everywhere: David was out taking pictures, Jonathan was out on his new skate skis, Kathy was handing out number bibs to the racers, Karyn was skiing with her backpack and Isaac making snow shoe tracks!

Race time was 11:00 and with number 127, I had 27 minutes to wait with racers going off at 1 minute intervals. Chug some more water, ski around some more, then it was time. Got the count down then off we go! Quickly found out that under the pines, things were pretty icy under the powder - clutz time. This course was actually pretty easy with one big, long hill. Easy compared with Saratoga that has three or four hills of the same size. I took the hill slow, concentrating on technique.

Down rocket run through the woods and out on to the range. I felt like I'd never done this before: not sure where to put my poles, clipped into the cuff in the wrong order, etc. Down in prone position and got the breathing under control. Finally got settled down and squeezed off a shot. Clink, down went the target - I love that sound. Missed the next one, got the next, missed the next and got the next. Three for five - not bad for a zero session that didn't go well.

About half way through the next loop I started to get a terrible pain in my right hip. While coming down rocket run, I couldn't hold the snow plow because of the pain and went flying down. David was at the bottom with the camera - not good. Zoomed past him then wipped out. Back to the range for - gulp - standing. At this point I'm pretty tired so I'm moving around a lot. Hit the first one, hit the second - this is looking good! The range offical yells out, 'Number 127 clear' I say, "please say that again!" Off to the course and by pass the penalty loop.

Last loop my calf muscles are no longer as tight and I'm able to get through the loop in faster than the last loop. Not a bad race overall. I place 10 out of 11 in my group. Shooting went very well and I'm starting to feel better about the technique, but still got a long way to go.

Joshua did very well: 80% shooting and took second place in his age group. He did the 7.5K in 29:27. He's looking better everytime he gets out on the skis.

Next week we do Lake Placide - 10K mass start, sprint format.
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