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

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

Monday, November 25, 2013

Sweet Redemption.

Since we're here in Canmore for so long, I am now the proud owner of a Canmore Nordic Centre season's pass! Oh, and I've been renamed KatErina! 

This past weekend we had our first official races of the winter biathlon season. Yes, I did jump into a race the previous weekend but it was a trials race for the Canadians and I wasn't planning on doing it until I arrived at the venue that morning. Thus I don't count it as a real race! Both race this weekend were Sprint races (two shootings, 3 ski laps totaling 7.5km for me) and I hit both ends of the success spectrum with my results. 

Saturday's race went horribly on the range. Probably the worst sprint race I've had in two years. I missed four targets in prone and another three in standing for a whopping total of seven misses. That means I also got to ski seven penalty loops, adding over a kilometer of extra skiing to my race. I finished 5th in the results and was less than psyched with the experience as a whole. I did ski faster than I had in the Canadian time trial but all my efforts on that front were completely thwarted by my poor shooting. 

Sunday I went into the race with much higher expectations of myself. I had talked over Saturday's shooting performance with my coach and had plans for how to remedy it. Plus I also know that I can shoot better….in three of my previous four time trials I had one or fewer misses so my goal for Sunday's race was no more than one miss. I focused on not changing anything…still approaching the range confidently and quickly, having a fast time to my first shot and then shooting with a normal (one breath between shots) cadence. And it worked! I hit ALL my targets and finished second. The woman who beat me, Emma Lunder, also cleaned and has been on snow a lot longer than me at this point. She lives here in Canmore so she's been skiing since the middle of October. Not an excuse, but I was happy to be competitive with her through so much of the race. It was only in the last loop that she passed me. 

Raleigh (L) shooting and Maddie, who is pretty excited to be here in Canmore. 

Me out on the course somewhere...

Casey (L) in the leaders bib and Raleigh skiing out of the stadium area.

The guys on my team also had a successful weekend. Casey took first on Saturday and second on Sunday, making him the overall NorAm Cup points leader at this point. Russell, Raleigh, and Omar also landed podium positions with Russ taking first on Sunday, Raleigh taking third on Saturday, and Omar taking third on Saturday in the Paralympic division. I'd say it was a successful first race weekend for the MWSC biathlon team! 

Omar (L) and Russell both skiing hard. 

After the race Sunday Omar met up with another Para athlete who is from Japan. Keiichi is missing his left hand (Omar is missing his right arm) so Omar gave him his right glove since he has no use for it! 

Goofing around before the awards ceremony on Sunday. 

Medals and chocolates (given out here in Canmore for clean shooting stages)!

Women's podium on Sunday. 

Laughing because my teammates were chanting my name….Thank you Omar for starting that and thoroughly embarrassing me! 

Day off today and then back to the grind with training tomorrow. We have another NorAm Cup weekend here in Canmore next weekend and then a few more days before we head east to Minnesota on the 7th of December. Keep checking back for pictures…and stories. This place is pretty awesome! 

Thursday, November 21, 2013


One of my favorite books when I was little was "A Pocket for Corduroy". It's about a bear who discovers that his overalls don't have a pocket and then his adventures in trying to get one. It has NOTHING to do with snow. Funny that years later I still connect freshly groomed corduroy to this book despite the fact that my initial connection was the corduroy on the alpine trails at Gunstock. 

Needless to say, this morning's workout started out on perfect corduroy with clear skies at a whopping -15C (about 5F). I skied and shot for about 2 hours on my fuzzy classic skis (I prefer "fuzzy" but they are actually called Skintec) which provide pretty bomb-proof kick in conditions like we have here.  Now, with an afternoon for recovery before a busy weekend, I've been sipping tea, coloring (see photos later in blog), contemplating finishing a knitting project, and talking on Skype with Seth. Seth is on his way to Bangor for a flight this way tomorrow! Our group grows by 4 tomorrow and we'll be a packed house of 9 people for the next ten days. Good thing our rental house has 3,000 square feet of breathing room. Oh, I mention we're expecting 4 more for Thanksgiving? This year I'm thankful for our dishwasher and shared cooking responsibilities (among other things of course)! 

The cross country stadium and nordic centre here in Canmore. They're still making snow with a vengeance but have slowed down a bit with pushing it out. We're hoping for some new terrain either during or just after the weekend….fingers are crossed! 

Having started out as a cross country skier I still find myself drawn toward classic skiing on a cold, crisp morning like we had today. The kick is so easy and you can just glide along and relax whereas with skating it's a lot more work when the snow's so squeaky and slow.  I do love skating but sometimes I think my teammates are a little more die-hard when it comes to skating all the time because we're biathletes. I guess maybe there's a little cross-country skier still hiding in me somewhere…. 

A few days ago Casey and I came across these awesome Alberta Park Service coloring posters in the lodge at the Canmore Nordic Centre…I took one home and actually finished coloring it today. Stay tuned for a photo of the final version. 

We've been making some art for the walls here in our rental house - it's a bit stark and white with few furnishings and almost nothing adorning the walls. We bought markers, crayons and a pad of paper a few days after we got here and have quite the collection going at this point…not sure yet if they'll stay here or come to Minnesota with us in December!  (Above (both mine) 10th Mountain on the left and an artistic interpretation of my family's home-farm in NH - I had to leave a few things out).

L: Casey's abstract art. R: My swirly flowers.

L: Raleigh's artistic rendering of the view here in Canmore R: Casey's house in WA. 

Raleigh teaching his computer about his biathlon rifle. Just kidding…he's actually Skyping with the classes he's adopted for the year. The kids are doing a lot of geography lessons with other schools via Skype and their teacher thought they'd like to "visit" Raleigh in Canmore. Way cool. I would have loved lessons like this when I was elementary school. These technology changes are starting to make me feel like a dinosaur when I think back to what we had when I was in 3rd and 4th grade! 

A patriotic hat I'm working on which has often accompanied by my current favorite snack…pomegranate. Now that I've figured out how to (more) efficiently empty one, I can eat them while doing other things instead of sitting there, picking seeds like a monkey, while wearing dark clothes (and sometimes a red bib). 

Yesterday I went for a (VERY COLD) afternoon walk down to the Bow River to take some pictures of the fading afternoon light. I came home with a few shots that really captured the area well...

That color must mean the water is too cold to swim in….

Rocky Mountains. 

I have a picture of this same bridge from the last time I was in Canmore three years ago. I think I like the older picture better for the fact that it had more snow on the railings and the light was better, but I do love the lines that the supports create in this shot. 

Our neighborhood on my way back from the river. They don't really plow completely here…just enough to take the bulk of the snow out of the middle of the road. The rest seems to be up to the residents. The bottom of our road has a speed hump that formed today when the leftover snow got packed by cars driving over it. Oh…did I mention that each house seems to take responsibility for the section of sidewalk in front of their property? You can tell who's not around by the un-shoveled segment in front of their house! 

Home Sweet Temporary Home. 

And the view from those big windows on the font of our place…hard to beat except for the fact that the sun NEVER hits this house in winter. We face north-east so the sun rises, hits those mountains across the valley during the middle of the day, then sinks behind the mountains that form the western edge of the Bow River Valley. I'm sure that huge deck would be nice in summer though….

Time to think about helping with dinner….I think Chef Russell is banging around in the kitchen on his way to some stir-fry (hopefully). 

Oh. I almost forgot….discovered this little gem via USBA on Facebook this afternoon. For those of you who don't have the whole sport figured out yet, watch this video

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Photos and recap of first five days in Canmore….

So far Canmore has been exciting and uneventful at the same time. Exciting because we're on snow and have already raced, and uneventful because we've done nothing but train so far. The skiing is really great for this early in the winter and we've been pretty lucky with the weather. Yesterday we had some stronger wind that made the temperature feel less comfortable than it initially seemed. Today we woke up to -6 F but it warmed up into the low teens by the time we finished our morning training session.

When the sun comes out and it's not freezing (so NOT today) the tracks warm up quickly and get pretty soft. The shot above was taken the second day we were here when temps climbed into the 30s by the end of our morning session. 

Perfect classic tracks

Pushing out more snow just below the biathlon stadium. 

Looking on out onto the biathlon race course north-west toward Banff National Park. 

The biathlon range and stadium…not much snow in the picture but it's snowed a little since so a lot of the brown spots here are looking more whitish now. 

Found a grocery store that has HUGE pomegranates and I figured out how to get them out of the shell faster so I'm in pomegranate heaven now! Soooooo good! 

Raleigh looking a little more bundled during yesterday's morning ski session. 

Making more snow in the biathlon stadium (snow gun just to the left of the hut roof). 

Me during my afternoon easy classic ski yesterday…didn't need the sunglasses by the time it was over but I was sure glad for the music. 

The meadow a little further out on the touring trails….today they rolled a lot of trails that don't have man-made snow on them. I did an easy classic ski and went all the way out to the edge of Canmore Nordic's trail where they split off out to Banff National Park. 

Not many skiers out that way but a whole lot of these guys….deer. 

Pretty mountains. 

Glad to be wearing these now instead of roller skis. By the way Atomic….I LOVE my fuzzy skis! (These classic skis have a fuzzy kick zone on them so I can still shoot standing when I'm classic skiing…normally you can't stand on the mats when your skis have sticky classic wax underfoot)

The buildings at Canmore Nordic Centre with gorgeous mountains right out back...

Group shot from yesterday evening…smiles all the way across. Happy to be here for sure! 

Tomorrow we are joined by Russell and most of us have the day off. Omar, who just got here two days ago, has an "epic" ski on his training plan. We're all interested to hear what that entails. 

Stay tuned for more pictures soon…
Russell is bringing my camera charger so I'll be back in business soon! 

Think SNOW!