March 18, 2014

Onward to Oslo

One last week...this season has flown by!  At this point in the season, everyone is tired and homesick.  There's been a lot of up and down for me, but I've still got fight left!  Pokljuka was a great weekend with two top-40 results.  Finland was tough, though, with challenging conditions and some rough shooting.  These last two weeks have been fun, hard, frustrating and exciting.  But it's been perfect and I've been enjoying every minute of my last biathlon adventure.  I know Oslo will provide the perfect ending to a wonderful career!

Pokljuka never disappoints. Bled is the best place to stay!
 So, off we go for the final push!
The start of the end!

March 9, 2014


After much consideration, I've decided that this will be my last season of professional racing.

I love biathlon and am excited to stay involved in the sport through coaching and development.  I know there will be times when I will miss competing, but I am excited to start this new phase of my life!

I want to thank everyone who has supported me along my journey to two Olympics, three World Championship teams, and many World Cup starts.  I appreciate your support and kind words that helped motivate me for the last 7 years.  It has been an adventure I will never forget and one I know I am so lucky to have had the chance to take.  Thank you all for sharing it with me!

That said, there are still two more weekends of World Cup racing this year, and I will race as hard as ever!  Keep tabs on my final races via Facebook, Twitter and right here on my blog.

All the best,
Photo credit: Guy Rhodes, USA Today

March 7, 2014

Sochi Rewind

Better late than never, right?  Here's a photo look-back on the last couple weeks (end of the Olympics, a quick trip to Venice, and training in Inzell, Germany before heading to Pokljuka, Slovenia for World Cup #7).

Racing in the 15km Individual. Sochi was nothing if not beautiful! (photo: Randy Wilber)

My parents and me watching way too many Olympic events on TV at the USA House.
Checking out the scene at Olympic Park!
Flowers in Olympic Park...beautiful!
The Olympic Rings overlooking the Black Sea.
We went to the Coastal Village for Closing Ceremonies...and they had BIKES!
USA Biathlon Women ready for Closing Ceremonies.
I don't know that I'll be back all that soon, but it sure was fun!
Onward to Venice where Carneval was picking up steam!
Spring had also arrived in Italy, meaning lots of fresh produce at the market!
Carneval means Venice is full of costumed people and mask shops.  What better way to celebrate Mardi Gras together?
Now I'm back in race mode here in Pokljuka, Slovenia.  It's beautiful and Spring-like down in Bled...even the flowers are blooming!  But two more weeks of World Cup racing after this mean I can't quite shift into Spring mode myself.  I scored my first World Cup points of the year yesterday in the Sprint, so I'm looking forward to ending the year on a high note over the next couple weeks!

February 13, 2014

Sochi update

The running track around a (partially) frozen pond behind our chalet.
Individual race tomorrow!  I'm looking forward to another chance after feeling good skiing in the pursuit but having a rough first shooting stage.  I've been pretty relaxed racing here, and I think my prior Olympic experience is helping me be more calm about these races.  The beautiful weather and having my family around of course hasn't been hurting, either.  It's been a great Games so far, and there's still more than a week to go!

In case all the snow melts in this warm weather, we're prepared for swimming races.
My family meets the Olympic mascot in the Endurance Village!
Goodnight from Sochi!

February 8, 2014

Let the Games Begin...

The Laura Biathlon Stadium is ready for action!
Opening Ceremonies were last night, and though we weren't able to go we got in the spirit anyway!

Stylish in our Ralph Lauren gear!
Watching the Opening Ceremonies with XC ladies...there in spirit (and in dress)!
Tomorrow is my first race of the 2014 Olympics.  The women's Sprint goes off at 6:30pm local time, 9:30am EST.  I'm bib #74 and psyched to get racing started!  Let the Games begin!

Ski testing at sunset.  This place is BEAUTIFUL!
USA ladies are ready to rock tomorrow. Thanks everyone who helped us along the way, especially the Women's Sports Foundation for the Travel and Training Fund grant that helped us make our Sochi dreams a reality...together as a TEAM!

February 3, 2014

The Final Stretch

In the metaphor that is the Road to Sochi, I'm entering the city limits.  It feels amazing to be here.  So different from Vancouver, yet so much the same!  Some of my first impressions:

-The volunteers are SO helpful.  From helping with luggage to directing us where we need to be, they are always there.  Even just smiling and saying hello, they make the atmosphere fantastic.

-The food is good.  I have to admit, having been to Russia before, I was prepared for some very foreign food.  But the organizing committee has taken their job seriously in welcoming the world, so the dining hall is filled with all kinds of different cuisine.  On top of that, the US Olympic Committee has stocked our chalet with enough peanut butter, cereal, oatmeal, applesauce and fruit leather (among other things) to feed an army.  So if the apocalypse comes at some point during the next three weeks, we'll be all set up here in the Endurance Village!
No going hungry here. Thanks USOC!
-The trails are great, and the venue is beautiful.  While some set-up is still happening, the Olympic atmosphere can be felt in full force.  It's great.

View of the range.  Welcome to the Olympics!!
It hasn't hurt things that the weather was beautiful today and the mountains make for great backdrop to the Laura venue.  I'm looking forward to the next three weeks in the Endurance should be an awesome time!

Also...for any of you who were excited to hear about this from last year:

They've fixed the issue.  Much better!

January 23, 2014

Olympic Journey

What a blur the first part of this Olympic season has been! In short, December didn't go as well as I had hoped, though there were some bright spots in the form of our two 8th place relay finishes!  In the end, I had to go to the final stage of U.S. Olympic Trials at the IBU Cup in Ridnaun, Italy just after Christmas.  Here's a quick run-down...
Over Christmas I had the chance to ski at my home ski area - Bogus Basin in Boise, Idaho. photo: Zachary Hall
First, I have to start by saying that I haven't raced at the IBU Cup since Olympic Trials in 2010.  Four years later, I was nervous trying to make the 2014 team.  There were lots of things for me to remember, like testing my skis without the help of our excellent technicians.  But there was also the comfort of being on a slightly smaller stage, and the chance to have some good, confidence-building results.  There were four races (two weekends of IBU Cups) that were to be part of trials.  The first weekend was two sprint races, and the second an individual and a sprint.  The day before the first race it started snowing, well, dumping really.  The snow continued through the night and into the next day.  All told, we must have received a couple feet of snow, so needless to say, race conditions were crazy.  You could barely see on the downhills, lots of racers fell, and there were even a couple broken rifles.  I was nervous, especially given the challenging conditions, but was proud of myself for sticking to my routine and executing a solid race.  The next day was calm and fast, and I put together a great race, finishing as the top American in 9th place.  It was reassuring to have such a good result and from there the nerves subsided and I was able to focus just on racing like usual.

Racing in Ridnaun.  photo: Detlef Eckert
It wasn't all stress and racing though.  There was a torchlight parade to a mine near the venue where we were able to take a nighttime tour and then enjoyed a small party outside the bar near the mine.  The weather was also beautiful.  While our teammates were dealing with fog and rain and less-than-ideal conditions on the World Cup in Oberhof and Ruhpolding, we enjoyed lots of blue sky and sunshine after that first snowy race.

Torch parade! photo: Hannah Dreissigacker
Beautiful ski in Ridnaun as the sun goes down.
The second and final weekend of racing started off with a tough individual.  I didn't have my best race, not skiing aggressively enough and not shooting as well as I had hoped.  However, I was able to rebound with a solid result in Sunday's sprint and put myself in a comfortable position on the points list.

I'm looking forward to seeing these five rings all over the place again!
I've seen myself on the 2014 Olympic Team almost since leaving Vancouver in 2010.  Getting here, though, hasn't been easy or certain.  I've had my share of ups and downs, but that only makes finally being able to once again say I'm an Olympian (a two-time Olympian!) that much more exciting.  I'm really looking forward to competing in Sochi, and couldn't ask for a better team to share this experience with!

These girls! Two 8th place relay results and all-around awesome teammates...on to Sochi!  photo: Nordic Focus