US Biathlon in Europe #16

Good Morning again-

Yesterday I said I would write again in a couple of days—I lied :). More news trickled in and two more races have come and gone..

Biathlon is a sport with a lot of fairly delicate, and very complicated equipment. The following email and pictures from Amanda Kautzer is indicative of the problems that can occur at any instant and which the athletes need to overcome without much help!

“Bill,
I had some issues yesterday. After my first shooting someone cut me off going into the penalty lap and I went down in a slush pile and broke a pole. I skied the penalties and the first climb, and half the big climb with only one pole. Then on my last lap my harness broke. The screw you unscrew when taking the harness off for travel came off, and I lost that and the oval-ish piece that slides on the rail. Do you have any extras? I qualified for Swedish nationals and hopefully will go so will need to get that fixed ASAP. I am using Cam’s harness today since he is not racing. I would have done a LOT better in the race, possibly top 30-35 had I not had that major equipment malfunction. I skied over a K with my rifle in my hands, and even out sprinted someone in the finishing stretch with one pole and holding my rifle.”

As you may recall from reading yesterday’s report, Amanda moved from starting 59th, 4:43 behind the Sprint winner, up to where she finished in 42nd only 6:16 behind the winner of the Pursuit after 7.5km and 4 shooting stages. Lot of struggling to get to the finish line!! Many would have dropped!!

Coaches can hand off another pole, of some length or another—as soon as the athlete reaches a coach on the course; the coach can pass ammo or parts to a range official who can then give them to an athlete—or the athlete can grab the team spare rifle on the range [which might or might not fit them] …but once they leave the range they need to ski with their broken rifle until they reach the range again or the finish line.

So in the Youth relays this am, in the Men’s 3 x 7.5 Vasek Cervenka, MN had a good scramble leg, using 2 extra rounds in prone and 1 in standing to tag off to Jake Pearson, WY +0:28 sec back. As you can see in the attached, things deteriorated for the US then and as we finished with Alex Kilby, AK, in 18th place [of 23 teams] 8:06 back of winner Norway who used a total of 6 extra rounds, no penalty loops and finished in 55:05. While there have been 30 some National teams in the races—some countries do not have enough athletes at the Worlds to form a full relay team.

In the Women’s 3 x 6km, Chloe Levins,VT scrambled, used 4 xtra rounds and tagged off to Amanda Kautzer, MN, in 14th place, 1:40 back. Amanda cleaned prone with no extra rounds, used 2 xtra in standing, and tagged off Grace Gilliland, AK, in 8th place 1:50 behind the leaders!! Grace struggled in the range, had a penalty loop after 3 extras in prone, used 2 xtras in standing and finished in 13th, 4:56 back of winner Russia who also had one penalty, 7 total extra rounds, and finished in 59:43.

Tomorrow the World Championships conclude with the Junior Relays, starting at 4:00 and 7:00 for Men and Women respectively.

Bill Meyer

US Biathlon in Europe

Good Morning All,

Since my last report, there have been 6 more races at YJrWCh’s. Junior Men and Junior Women Sprint, and the four classes in the Pursuit for those who were in the top 60 of the Sprint races.

The level of racing at the top of the fields is incredible. Only a small notch below the World Cups and about the same as the Senior IBU Cup level. For example—in the Junior Men’s Sprint race, the winner, Igor Malinovskii shot clean while skiing the 10 km race at a 2:20 per km pace..and of course carrying his rifle as all the athletes both Youth and Juniors do in Worlds. Today in the Pursuit—he again won, with 4 penalties, and again skied the whole 12.5km plus 4 x 150 meters at the same 2:20 per km pace. And that includes slowing down in his range approach 4 times, where they need to slow down before shooting, and accelerating back up to speed after shooting. Today he was only the 10th fastest on the course, the 2nd place Norwegian, Pettersen was faster by about a minute or about 5 sec per km faster on skis, so around a 2:15 per km. And ski conditions have not been real fast. In the shooting range [separate times pulled out from the overall] Malinovskii shot in 45 sec the first prone 56th fastest; 25 sec 2nd prone 1st in time, 26 sec 1st standing 7th fastest, and 28 sec in 2nd standing 21st fastest. He shot 0,1,2,1. That is from laying down his poles to picking them back up at the end of the 5 shots.

Basically the US athletes have to support themselves, including the cost of travel to camps, regional events, Trials races and all training costs. They also need to buy their own equipment. A very few get some help from USBA for specific race series, but that only covers part of their expense. And there is again basically in this country no recognition for success . On the other hand, European athletes and even the Canadians often receive support from the governments of the countries they represent, get free equipment through their clubs, and if they make the international events, their expenses are covered along with a really high level of support. For the cost of one F35 fighter, [$300M] the US could support the all of the US biathlon teams for years.

At the Open European Championships the Czech team had a trailer with a stone grinder to adjust the grind on the athletes skis for the conditions. The US had a $25 hand structure tool..However, at the YJrW’s the athletes have reported having fast skis with the help of a couple of German wax techs that USBA hires [and most of the athletes pay for]. By that is meant they weren’t dragging…and were probably better than the average.

So while the US athletes struggle to raise funds, find coaches, find good competitions etc, the European teams are striving to advance to the next level where the support and life style is even better. In the US, our athletes ponder whether it is worth the effort to make the next race series and pay out more…A top senior German Woman is likely making 6 or 7 figures from various sources. She has her own waxing crew…and I’m sure she doesn’t pay for her skis….

ok..done venting.

In the Junior Mens’ 10 km Sprint yesterday:
Winner Malinovskii Russia, 0,0 24:32
46th Cody Johnson, ME, 2,1 +3:02
49th Travis Cooper, AK 0,3 + 3:10
80th Cam Christiansen, MN 3,4 + 5:32
82nd, Peter Carroll, CA 2,1 + 5:51

In the Junior Women’s 7.5km Sprint yesterday
Winner Carrara Italy, 0,0 20:58
in 18th Siena Ellingson, MN, 0,1 + 1:39 back
in 65th Nina Armstrongm NY 2,3 + 6:11

In the Pursuit races this morning—only the top 60 from the Sprint races will advance. And they will start with the time back from the Sprint, which is not credited back to them.
Youth Men’s 10km Pursuit
Winner Claude , France, 1,1,0,2 29:22
30th Vasek Cervenka, MN, 1,1,1,2 started in 49th 3:37 back and finished + 3:52

Junior Men’s 12.5km
Winner Malinovskii – Russia, 0,1,2,1 32:39
55th Cody Johnson, ME, 2,1,2,4 started in 46th 3:03 back +7:19
59th Travis Cooper, AK 5,0,1,2 started in 49th 3:11 back +8:46

In the Junior Womens 10 k
Winner Vasnetcova, Russia, 0,0,0,0 31:49
in 41st Siena Ellingson, MN 1,2,1,3 started in 18th 1:38 back + 5:24

In the Youth Women’s 7.5km
Winner Lardschneider, Italy, 0,0,2,2 26:57
in 4th Chloe Levins, USA , VT, 2,0,0,0 started in 11th 1:40 back + 1:55
in 42nd Amanda Kautzer, MN, 1,0,2,1 started in 59th 4:43 back + 6:16
in 53rd Grace Gilliland, AK, 2,3,1,0 started in 55th 4:35 back + 8:32

Next up at the YJrWCh will be the relays with the Youth tomorrow in the Men’s 3 x 7.5 km at 4:00 am CST, the Women’s 3 x 6 km at 6:45. On Tues the Juniors race with the Men’s 4 x 7.5 at 4:00 am and the Women’s 3 x 6 at 7:00. That will conclude the World Championships. These final events will not be televised on Eurovision, but might show up on UTube eventually.

More in a couple of days..
Bill Meyer

US Biathlon in Europe #14

Update #14 – Good Morning All,

Since my last report, the US Youth and Juniors have participate in 4 races at Osrblie, Slovakia. The Juniors raced the Individual format yesterday and the Youth did the Sprint format today. As you might recall, the Individual for the Juniors has a 1 minute add-on penalty for misses and the shooting is PSPS for a total of 20 shots. The Sprint race is PS with a 150 meter penalty loop that typically takes about 25-30 sec to ski per missed shot.

In the Junior Men’s 15 km Individual event, the start was delayed 30 min while they ‘salted’ the course. That typically involves putting on a nitrogen based fertilizer which causes some snow to melt, but takes up heat in the process and thus freezes the remaining snowpack and dries it up a bit. Where it was salted, the athletes reported good skiing.

Cody Johnson., ME, shot well, 0,0,0,2 and finished in 50th place, 5:08 behind the winner, Pettersen of Norway who also missed his last 2 shots, and finished in 40:17. Travis Cooper did not start. Cam Christiansen, MN, had problems in the range, shooting 1,1,2,2 and finishing 8:10 back in 72nd; and Peter Carroll, CA, is just getting over jet lag and while shooting good in prone, was off in the standing, going 0,3,0 1 and finishing 10:36 back in 79th.

In Cam’s case, while his total 4 stage shooting time was ranked  47th—0:57 behind the fastest, he was only 11 sec slower than the winner. The rest of the time back was evenly divided between 4 min of shooting penalty and 4 min of ski time over the 15 km. The Junior fields are really strong on skis!!

In the Women’s 12.5km event, Siena Ellingson, MN, shot 0,1,2,1 and finished in  50th, 7:11 behind the Canadian winner, Bankes, who shot clean and finished in 37:22. Nina Armstrong, NY, also struggled in the range shooting 4,1,2,1 finishing in 65th, 14:15 behind the winner.

In todays Sprint races the finish place is doubly important as only the top 60 will advance to the Pursuit event on Sunday. Apparently the wind was pretty strong today and affected both prone and standing for most. In prone—a 15 mph side wind will blow the bullet from a center shot to the rim of the prone plate. Usually the wind will not change a lot from zero, but if it does in the hour or hour and a half, the athlete needs to make a sight adjustment at the time of shooting to compensate for the change before he/she shoots. In standing, the wind tends to buffet the shooter, causing difficulty in holding a sight picture through the shot and into follow-through, thus creating a lot of misses even though the standing target is about 2.5 times the diameter of the prone target. [115 mm standing vs 45 mm prone.]

In the Men’s 7.5km event: 

Vasek Cervenka, MN, struggled in the range today, shooting 4,2 finishing in 49th 3:27 behind the winner Claude of France who shot 1,1 and finished in 20:18.3. Vasek will advance to the Pursuit. Alex Kilby, AK, shot 1,2 finishing in 69th, 4:47 back, Jake Pearson, WY, shot 2,3 finishing in 76th, 5:07 back and Eli Nielsen, WA, shot 3,2 finishing in 82nd, 5:18 back.

In the Women’s 6 km event:

Chloe Levins, VT, shot well going 0,1 and finishing in 11th place, 1:40 behind the Italian winner, Lardschnieder who also had 1 miss and finished in 19:48.3. She was followed for the US by Grace Gilliland, AK, who shot 1,3 and finished in 55th, 4:35 back; Amanda Kautzer,MN,  who shot 3,3 and finished in 59th, 4:42 back barely making the cutoff for the Pursuit; and Helen Wilson, AK, who shot 2,2 and finished in 67th, 5:10 behind the winner.

Tomorrow, Saturday, brings the first European TV to these races. They are schedule to stream the 4:00 am Junior Men’s 10km Sprint and presumably the Junior Women’s 7.5km Sprint at 7:00 am. As of this writing, the start lists are not yet posted. Check IBU Data Center in a few hours for a list.

More later,
Bill Meyer

Anschutz 1827 biathlon rifle for sale

Anschutz 1827 biathlon rifle, 8 mags, sling, snow sights, aluminum and soft case. I recently bought it from an ex-olympian thinking I’d have time for a new hobby. Haven’t even fired one round. $3000 plus shipping to FFL.

Alex Boal @ acboal@gmail.com

Springloppet – Sunday, March 12, 2017, Sugar Hills Ski Trails/ Itasca County

2017 Springloppet

Sunday, March 12, 2017, Sugar Hills Ski Trails/ Itasca County

Springloppet: 24k Skate, 12k Skate, 12k Classic

Age groups for Springloppet:         18 years old and under,                                                                                                        Men and Women 19-39,                                                                                                         Masters Men and Women 40+

Schedule:  10:00 AM Registration opens, bib pick-up                                                                     11:00 AM  Start

Entry Fee: Springloppet $ 25.00, 18 years old and under $15.00

Registration: Race day at Sugar Hills.                                                                  Registration form and schedule available at www.skinnyski.com                      Please pre-register by sending the entry form to pcervenkova@hotmail.com,                          

Directions: From South: 169 North 10miles – after Hill City left on 17 – than 2.5miles left on CR 449 up the hill 3miles – Sugar Hills on your left.

From North: 169 South from Grand Rapids 5miles right on 17 – after 2.5 miles left on CR 449 up the hill 3 miles – Sugar Hills on your left.

Contacts: Vlad Cervenka – Race Coordinator, cervenkv@hotmail.com – (218) 999-5046

Biathlon and Springloppet weekend March 11-12. 2017

This will be the last biathlon event of the 2016 2017 season. While it is possible we will be able to pull off a race at Elk River on the 5th of March, currently the trails are totally closed so it would take substantial new snow to allow it to happen.

Mount Itasca still looks really good per pictures on Skinnyski this am.
Bill Meyer, Coach


Minnesota Cup: Biathlon Race & Novice Race

Hosted by Mt.Itasca Nordic Ski Association

Date: Saturday, March 11. 2017

Place: Mt.Itasca, Coleraine

Race Format: Mass Start (PPSS)

MN Cup March 2017

Distance: G, YW, JW, SW, MW: 7.5km

               B, YM, JM, SM, MM: 10km;

Registration: 9:30 AM –   10:00 AM

Zero:           10:00 AM – 10:30 AM

Race Start: 10:45 AM Mass Start

Cost:         $20 (cash or check payable to MINSA)

 

Novice Race (recommended age: 13+)

~ Registration: 9:30 – 11:30am

~ No previous shooting experience necessary!

~ Instruction, Rifles, and Ammo provided.

~ Novice Race will follow the main race.

~ Safety Clinic prior to the Race

~ Start approx. at 12-12:15PM

~ Race Format: Mass Start – 4.5k (3×1.5k), PP + penalty loop

~ Cost: $20 (cash or check payable to MINSA)

 

Awards for Biathlon & Novice Race: after completion of both races.

Questions? Call Vlad or Petra 218-999-5046  or e-mail pcervenkova@hotmail.com