Today's sprint was for many of us a learning curve.
Anna Kubek was the only American youth women athlete to qualify for Sunday's pursuit. Aleksandra Z. was faced with the challenge of the added penalty time of a missed penalty loop and I myself went from having a race of my life, a strong skiing keeping me in the top half of the field with a clean prone shooting, to range trouble in standing.
On the range the mats are slippery here, so this entire week with practice I have been working with the odd mats to try and create a way to stand on them with out slipping. Granted this only seems to work when you are not racing, and have the time to pay attention to such small details. After missing four standing I still gave it my best effort to make the top 60 racers.
In the sport of Biathlon only the top 60 racers advanced to the pursuit race on Sunday. On the last lap up the large uphill fellow World Cup biathlete Susan Dunklee came over to cheer us on and she got us up that last 30meters of that steep hill form hell. On the last approach to the finish/range area our wax techs Marki and Travis were incredible in the way they just seemed to give me the motivation to just keep churning the snow in those last few critical seconds before the finish. They later told me, and I am quite proud of myself that I had one of the best techniques for the third loop and finishing lap out there. A little sunshine for the day. As when I came over the line I was 52nd, only to find out a few moments later that I had been bummed down from making the pursuit to missing it my 25 seconds and 5 positions.
Devastating but a learning curve for the range. Afterwards I was able to talk to the Salomon rep and I now am the proud owner of another pair of race ready Salomon skate skis! But then the boys went. Sean D. Americas best Youth Man. proved to the world today that he surly is. He came across the line today with second place in a firm position and he held it. hitting almost all of his targets today, it was beyond amazing and just wonderful to have an American, especially my friend on the top of the podium.