While many athletes from the Twin Cities area are using the range at Elk River periodically, at this point we have been unable to organize weekly coached practices. I do anticipate I will be down once every couple of weeks, and we will hopefully have a camp there in June along with 4 summer races scheduled there. We will send notices and invitations out as those get closer to fruition.
As to everyone across the state, if you plan to lease a rifle from MN Biathlon this year—and I have talked to most of those folks recently, you do need to be a MN Biathlon member even if you belong to one of the subsidiary clubs.
Thanks for your interest in Biathlon! Bill Meyer, Coach
Here in MN we have kind of a reputation for producing good shooters compared to the rest of the US in biathlon. Now that said, each of us can improve our shooting…each of us!!
Without accuracy during base shooting, you will have difficulty hitting targets during combo training with a heartrate and lactates elevated, and even more so when fatigued in a race.
So herein, I want to concentrate on accuracy only for a moment. And of all the things involved in accuracy like a smooth trigger squeeze of the final trigger stage, and staying relaxed with a good rifle fit, natural point of aim etc, I want to concentrate on “sight alignment”.
With the mandatory open sights required for biathlon by the rules, there has to be two sights—front and rear, unlike a glass optical rifle scope. These, along with the eye getting light back through the sights from the target, all need to be aligned perfectly with the flight of the bullet. But at least three problems exist: 1] the eye can only focus on one plane at a time—call it close, nearby or distant; 2] the eye needs to be steady on the rifle – not moving around in either the prone or standing position and 3] the sights and the eye need to be perfectly aligned immediately when shooting instinctively or fast. Enter the adjustable stock with an adjustable ‘’cheekpiece”.
The rear sight aperture opening should be about 2” from your eyeball so there is a white ring around the front sight barrel in both positions, prone and standing. That ring is shown in the attached diagram.
To properly put your head on the stock, you should first move sideways onto the cheekpiece until it hits your teeth –then down onto the cheekbone. But not with excessive pressure sideways or down..just enough to lock your face onto the rifle. Once you have done that, your sight alignment should look like the attached diagram. Best is to do it looking at a white background with no target to divert your attention. Focus on the front sight as that is where your focus should be when shooting, not moving back and forth. That sight should be crisp and clear—the rear sight will be a bit fuzzy.
Now do that with your eyes closed, open the eyes and see if that white ring around the front sight barrel is perfect. Do it several times. If you have to push or lift your head to get alignment, you will never shoot a tight group!! Your eye will pick up and correct your head for a very minor misalignment, but any more than that and it will ignore it—or you will loosen your head position to get it.
So start making minor adjustments to the cheekpiece until that white ring looks perfect. Perfect! Now check it in standing. It helps if the cheekpiece is aligned with the rifle—not at an angle to that line as your head position between the two positions will vary a little fore/aft so when you adjust the cheekpiece, keep it lined up.
Then when you get into prone position and put your head onto the stock—you will be ready immediately to shift your hips around that forward elbow and get your “sight picture” … to get your rifle aligned onto the target. In standing, you do that by more rifle adjustment of the butthook or forestock riser for vertical alignment and by slightly rotating your feet around the heel for horizontal alignment. It is not advised to rotate your feet completely into an “open” or “closed” position. Keep your toes lined up with the target.
Now is your chance to compete head to head with other biathletes from Canada and the US. See the note below from Danika Frisbie, with USBA, for the “virtual” summer biathlon competition August 3 to 9. Lets show what the Midwest has in numbers of biathletes and what we can do. All age groups and abilities encouraged to participate. Sign up and instructions are below in Danika’s emial. The competition consists of a 3K run on a track and the American shooting test.
Lets have some fun with this!
Please pass this note along to others that may be interested.
Mark Torresani USBA Midwest Coordinator
Virtual North American Biathlon Summer Nationals 2020
Coaches and athletes,
Here is an opportunity for you to compete from your home training grounds at a national level.
While it’s not the same as Jericho, we hope this alternative competition format will give athletes in all stages of development a chance to challenge themselves against peers across the U.S. and Canada while head-to-head opportunities remain limited.
To compete, you should be an active athlete or coach member of U.S. Biathlon or Biathlon Canada.
Let’s do this! Best regards, Danika & U.S. Biathlon Staff
The competition is to achieve the fastest overall combined time from a 3000m running time trial and an American test executed to completion. A 15 second time penalty will be added to the overall time for each missed target in the American test.
3000m time trial + American test (P,S,P,S) + 0:15 seconds per penalty = total competition time
This format allows us to best mimic elements of biathlon competition with standardized, repeatable components that can be completed from any track or range in the county.
U15 athletes will follow a shorter format. All other competition categories will use the format above. The competition categories are: U15, U17, U19 (Youth), Junior, Senior, Open Masters, Grand Masters. See competition rules for details and competition category guidelines.
Plan sessions between August 3-9th to complete your competition segments.
Compete! Get a coach, training partner, or friend to time an American test for you, and head to the track to complete a 3000m time trial. The tests do not need to be completed on the same day.
Submit your run time and your American test results by August 9th at 4:00pm EDT using the online entry form sent to you.
Results and awards will be announced on August 10th, and the traditional Jericho race socks will be mailed to all North American competitors!
Details on competition format, categories, and instructions are provided below. Please do your best to follow the competition rules! Though we cannot guarantee standard conditions were met for every competition entry, we trust that everyone entering this event will participate in the spirit of a fair and honest competition. Do your best!
Other ways to celebrate biathlon
All competitors will receive a pair of race socks from “the summer nationals that never was” thanks to the generous spirit of Ethan Allen Biathlon Club.
Design the socks for this year’s competition in our sock design contest! Submit your designs to Danika Frisbie at firstname.lastname@example.org by August 1, 2020 using the template attached to this guide. Socks are produced by Save our Soles knitting in Colorado.
Share photos of you and/or your teammates competing! Use the hashtags #usbiathlon, #biathloncanada, and #jericho2020.
Due to the construction taking place at Elk River’s Woodland Trail system, we are planning on modifying the race from our normal routine. Please see the attached trail map. The only loop available is too long for an early season four shooting stage race, so we are planning a Sprint with two shooting stages.
I am anticipating an invitation to come out shortly, but please put this event on your calendar for next week!!
7.8km 3 loops, 2 shooting stages, PS. 30 second flat penalty, no loops.
Younger/novice race categories may have a shorter race depending on coach/athlete decision.
Registration @ 4:30 PM Please have your paperwork filled out beforehand. Zero @ 5:00 PM Race Start @ 5:45 PM Time-trial start, 30 second interval. $10 / racer Cash or check made out to Minnesota Biathlon.