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Author Archive

Movin’ to the County…

26.Apr.2011 by Lauren Jacobs

For those who have not already heard, I will be heading up to “The County” soon to start a job with Maine Winter Sports Center. I’ll be living in Presque Isle but working all over Aroostook County with MWSC’s Healthy Hometowns program. One comment I’ve been getting frequently is, “Oh great! And you’ll be closer to home, right?” Well, no, actually. Craftsbury is a little under 4 hours west of where my dad lives, and Presque Isle is a little over 4 hours north. Maine is a big state. But it’s great to be home!

My two years in Craftsbury were amazing: great people, great place, and great experiences. Even though I’m excited about the adventures to come, I was sad to say goodbye. I’ll miss the people the most, of course. But I’ll also miss the view from Elinor’s kitchen windows, watching the morning mist rise off of the headwaters of the Black River. I’ll miss pre-dinner rows in the double with Chelsea. I’ll miss spring crust skiing on the corn fields off Sam’s. I’ll miss adventure runs around Mansfield and Jay. I’ll miss Pepa feeding us donuts and popsicles during OD rollerskis. There are a many more things I’ll miss, but we’ll leave it at that for now.

Here is a very random photographic retrospective (in no particular order) from the last two years:

Chelsea and I on a jaunt around Jay.

Chelsea and I on a jaunt around Jay.

Quick Quiz: Who is this?

Quick Quiz: Who is this?

Mmmm...pizza.

Mmmm...pizza.

Susan playing beanbag biathlon with the littlest skiers on Kids Day.

Susan playing beanbag biathlon with the littlest skiers on Kids Day.

Magdelana Neuner fans came (with their special jackets) for the Fort Kent World Cup.

Magdalena Neuner fans came out in force (with their special jackets) for the Fort Kent World Cup.

Probably the most beautiful location for a dryland training camp: Tahoe.

Probably the most beautiful location for a dryland training camp: Tahoe.

The Craftsbury boys at the 2011 BKL Fest.

The Craftsbury boys at the 2011 BKL Fest.

Spring skiing on Murphy's field.

Spring skiing on Murphy's field.

Oh yeah, I'll miss the rope swing for sure!

Oh yeah, I'll miss the rope swing for sure!

Sunset over the stadium in Finland.

Sunset over the stadium in Finland.

Thanksgiving dinner in West Yellowstone '09.

Thanksgiving dinner in West Yellowstone '09.

Very cold biathlon race in Jericho.

Very cold biathlon race in Jericho.

Last practice with the BKLers.

Last practice with the BKLers.

Photos from the Fort Kent World Cups!

12.Feb.2011 by Lauren Jacobs

I’m up in Fort Kent, Maine right now soaking up the World Cup atmosphere. A ton of work has gone into putting on these biathlon World Cups in Presque Isle last weekend and in Fort Kent this weekend. It’s very cool to see how excited everyone is and the County is going all-out to put on a good show. Last night there was a two hour long parade that went from Clair, NB, over the international bridge and then through downtown Fort Kent. It’s still unclear to me whether every float had to stop at Customs…

Anyways, what I’m really here for is to see the biathlon action. Here are some photos from the last couple days. I meant to take some during today’s pursuit but I got too excited cheering and watching the range carefully. Tomorrow’s mass start should be even more exciting!

That's me on the big screen during Wednesday's "TV Test Race." Check out the name they gave me...

That's me on the big screen during Wednesday's "TV Test Race." Check out the name they gave me...

Here you can see all the different angles from all the different cameras along the course. Even when we only forerun the cameras follow us along. It really makes you want to ski with good technique.

Here you can see all the different angles from all the different cameras along the course. Even when we only forerun the cameras follow us along. It really makes you want to ski with good technique.

This guy, dressed up like a trapper, has been at all the events. He's carrying an Acadian flag and I noticed at least one French biathlete look at him funny, trying to figure out why he was carrying what looked to be a French flag.

This guy, dressed up like a trapper, has been at all the events. He's carrying an Acadian flag and I noticed at least one French biathlete look at him funny, trying to figure out why he was carrying what looked to be a French flag.

A view of the range and part of the stadium. There are a TON of volunteers and here you can see the range workers marching out before the start.

A view of the range and part of the stadium. There are a TON of volunteers and here you can see the range workers marching out before the start.

This one's for Pepa. A Bulgarian athlete following a Swede into the stadium.

This one's for Pepa. A Bulgarian athlete following a Swede into the stadium.

Sara Studebaker racing to 17th place (with clean shooting!)

Sara Studebaker racing to 17th place (with clean shooting!)

A look back

6.Feb.2011 by Lauren Jacobs

Yesterday I went out on the course at Trapp’s to take photos of our guys racing in the 10 km skate and I realized that I still had photos on my camera from Nationals that had not yet made it on to my computer. Whoops! So here is a brief visual journey through a few, as yet un-blogged about events from the last month.

Hannah in a skate sprint heat on the last day of Nationals. She ended up 10th!

Hannah in a skate sprint heat on the last day of Nationals. She ended up 10th!

Tim leading a heat in the skate sprint at Nationals. He qualified 5th!

Tim qualified 5th in the skate sprint at Nationals. Here he is leading a heat up the major climb on the course.

After the last race at Nationals Chelsea, Hannah, and I stayed in Maine for one extra day to volunteer at a Fast and Female event at Gould Academy in Bethel. Fast and Female is an organization that was started by Canadian Olympian Chandra Crawford with the goal of getting girls to stay involved with sports. (Check out Chelsea’s Fasterskier article about it here.) The whole day in Bethel was all about being active, having fun, and getting girls psyched about skiing. It was a great day!

Chelsea leading her group through one of the stations.

Chelsea leading her group through one of the stations.

I led a "bean-bag biathlon" station. If you missed, you had to do push-ups.

I led a "bean-bag biathlon" station. If you missed, you had to do push-ups.

Maybe I've been in Craftsbury too long, but I hadn't heard of zumba until this day. It was...interesting.

Maybe I've been in Craftsbury too long, but I hadn't heard of zumba until this day. It was...interesting.

The whole crew. 130 + girls and 30 + instructors!

The whole crew. 130 + girls and 30 + instructors!

And finally, a shot I grabbed at yesterday’s UVM Carnival / NENSA Eastern Cup race at Trapp’s.

Ben Koons, Pat, and Matt coming into the finish.

Ben Koons, Pat, and Matt coming into the finish.

Bitter Cold Biathlon

25.Jan.2011 by Lauren Jacobs

The range at Jericho played host to another set of biathlon NorAm races this past weekend. I missed the first ones right after Christmas because of a cold, so it was exciting to finally get down to race on what is essentially our home biathlon course. We go down there quite a bit to train with Algis and it’s always fun to race at a venue that you know so well. The forecast for the weekend was bitterly cold and we prepared by basically packing every single article of the warmest ski clothing available. Plus hand warmers, key to keeping your trigger finger warm.

Saturday was a sprint race, which in biathlon means two shooting stages and 7.5 km of skiing for the women. Susan won and Hannah came in 2nd!

Hannah racing to victory in Saturday's race.

Hannah racing on Saturday.

Susan only missed one target on Saturday but neither Hannah or I were particularly happy with our shooting. I went 3-3, meaning I missed 3 targets each in prone and standing. That’s pretty bad for me in prone. I went hard and felt good skiing, though. As I crossed the finish line and tried to catch my breath, Algis was standing there and John Madigan checked my bolt and waited patiently for my bib.

Bent over my poles, I asked Algis, “What happened to prone?” I knew he had been looking through the scope and I thought maybe I hadn’t taken the wind into account.

“What happened to prone? Let me tell you what happened to prone.” Algis is one of the nicest people I know but he couldn’t hide the frustration in his voice. “You didn’t do what you train! You slowed down, became cautious. Your range time was almost a minute. You tried too hard to hit the targets.”

“Was it the wind?” I asked, “I took a click.”

“No, it wasn’t the wind. Your misses were all over the place.” He patted me on the shoulder, releasing me to take off my bib and go get warm.

Whoops. A range time of a minute is a good 20 or more seconds longer than I have in training. After cooling down, changing my clothes, and getting something to eat I went back to chat again with Algis. He talked to me about needing to act with confidence on the range, being sure of every action. Slowing down because it’s a race and you’re afraid of messing up will guarantee that you do mess up.

And that, right there is the big reason I love biathlon. I love the fact – even though it can be agonizingly frustrating – that shooting is so mental and that the smallest of changes will be the difference between missing a target and hitting one. Perhaps it is because most of my personal athletic history was in gymnastics, a sport where the changes required to stay on the beam instead of landing in a heap on the mat are too small for most people to see. Shooting is pretty much exactly the same and I love that you have to pay such close attention to it.

Needless to say, Hannah and I were both looking forward to another chance to improve our shooting the next day. Sunday’s race was delayed by an hour to allow the temperatures to warm up to a balmy 0 degrees. Using overmitts and hand warmers, I managed to keep my trigger finger warm and I went into the range thinking “confidence. confidence. confidence.” Coming into the first prone stage I kept my normal cadence and only missed one! In the middle of my next ski lap Algis ran over to me and told me to take two clicks up, even though I had had four hits they must have been low. Back at the range again I took the correction, dropped into position, and fired off five rounds. Only one miss again, but this time it was the last one, guess I got a little too excited. Still, I was really happy with my prone shooting. (Standing was still rough, I definitely have a lot of work to do there…) Even more importantly than hitting targets, Algis told me later that I decreased my range time in prone by 20 seconds. So Sunday was a good race, and with no frost bite!

I must be finishing here because I dropped my overmitts after the last shooting stage.

Sunday's race set a personal record for the most layers worn in a ski race.

Hannah skiing wicked fast on Sunday.

Hannah skiing wicked fast on Sunday.

My Dad and I after Sunday's race. I actually was trying to smile here but my face was too frozen to make it happen.

My Dad and I after Sunday's race. I actually was trying to smile here but my face was too frozen to make it happen.

Next we head to Lake Placid for one more weekend of NorAms.