Former biathlete, current coach….all round nordic enthusiast!

An elite athlete competing in the sport of biathlon: nordic ski racing combined with marksmanship

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Minnesota...The final stretch of 2011 racing

We arrived in Minnesota two days ago after a quick trip from Bozeman via Denver. My trip was uneventful until the few hours we spent in the Mall of America while waiting for a coach and teammate who arrived later in the evening.

That place is stressful! Maybe it's because I've been living in Fort Kent and it's so quiet and laid back up there? I don't know....but I do know that I was overwhelmed in there. I didn't buy a single item to take home with me. My sole purchase was a small bag of popcorn to munch on while I perched on the edge of a bench on the top floor people watching over a balcony. Everything about that place is huge, even the suspended Christmas ornaments - giant round shiny balls about 6 feet across suspended from seemingly clear ropes on the second and third floors. If you haven't been there or heard of the Mall of America, let me give you an idea: It has three floors, containing the largest gross area for a mall in the United States, at 4,200,000 sq ft. You could fit 7 (yes, SEVEN) Yankee Stadiums in there. It has three levels housing around 520 stores and kiosks. A fourth floor on the east side houses a 14-screen movie theatre, restaurants, and a bowling alley, and underneath the whole thing is an underground aquarium. The center of the building is open through the four floors and contains Nickelodeon Universe, a theme park complete with a bamboo log ride and roller coaster. Somewhere on what I think was the second level I also discovered a mini golf course. Surprisingly enough, the whole building is mainly unheated. The entrances have heat between sets of doors and skylights above provide the remainder of warmth needed for the entire space. So....there you have it. An entirely overwhelming experience for someone who's been hiding away in Northern Maine. 

Now I'm in Grand Rapids getting ready for the IBU trials races that start Saturday. The snowmaking loop here is small still but promises to get bigger soon. Today: shooting in the rain and snow that's falling on the brown landscape outside. I was spoiled in Montana by beautiful weather. Time for some toughness training! 

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