After my travel nightmare getting home from Madison, I wasn’t very excited for the travel portion of my Estonian adventure. And sure enough, it was another series of fiascos! Luckily my luggage made it to Burlington the day before I had to leave. But my flight from Burlington also got cancelled the same day. I ended up driving with my mom to Newark to make my flight to Stockholm. I only barely made it onto the flight with the help of a very nice Continental guy who hot rushed my bags and put me through the employee security line. Then I missed my connection to Tallinn, and also discovered that my bags had only been checked to Stockholm. It took a solid 3 hours to convince Estonian Air to check my rifle, but I finally got put on standby for an afternoon flight to Tallinn. During my 6 hours in Stockholm, I got to watch the end of the Olympic Nordic combined race on TV, with Billy Demong and Johnny Spillane going 1-2. I was pumped! It was by far the high point of my 30+ hour traveling experience!
I finally made it to Tallinn though, and met up with most of the rest of the U.S. team to get a ride to Otepää, where we would be racing. We moved into our funny little hotel, which we would be sharing with the Russian team! No one seems to speak much English, and Estonian is pretty crazy—a lot like Finnish, and not a lot like anything else! Now the fun part of the adventure had begun!
Now that I’ve been here for two days, I’m finally feeling a bit less jet-lagged and a bit more settled in. Today was our first day skiing and shooting with all of the other teams there, and it was pretty crazy! It made me realize that I’ve never been to a real competitive biathlon race, because I’ve only ever raced in the U.S. It was exciting and scary to see all those other girls from other countries, and I felt a overly official in my Adidas U.S. biathlon stuff. I was a bit too excited and shaky whenever I came in to shoot, and missed lots of targets. I’m going to have to work on that! The first race is Tuesday, so I have tomorrow to try to calm myself down out there. I’ve never really been nervous for biathlon races before, so I’m going to have to try to get back to that laid-back place and just enjoy the experience!
I’ll try to post again in the next few days with some pictures, though the internet might be too slow for uploading them.