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GRP Biathlon Summer Recap

4.Sep.2018 by Hallie Grossman

By Raleigh Goessling

It has been a busy summer for the GRP biathlon team. Three people joined the team, preparations for the season where undertaken in earnest, and athletes put their summer form to the test at the US Summer National Championships.

New Additions

Jake Brown is originally from Saint Paul, Minnesota where he grew up skiing for Minnehaha High School and the Loppet Nordic Racing team. He went on to ski for both St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, and Northern Michigan University. The highlight of his collegiate career was an All-American finish in the 10k freestyle at 2016 NCAA’s. After graduation, Brown began competing in the sport of biathlon. He raced on the 2017-2018 IBU Cup Team and is currently a member of the USBA Senior Men’s Development Team. Jake has a BA in Biology and credits towards a MA in Exercise Science.

 

Kelsey Dickinson is a native of Washington State and spent her early years in Winthrop, WA racing for the Methow Valley Ski Education Foundation. She took post-grad years with Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation and Maine Winter Sports Center before attending college at St. Scholastica. She graduated this spring with a dual major in Philosophy and Natural Sciences. Dickinson qualified for NCAA’s three years while skiing at Scholastica, finishing 25th in the 15k freestyle in 2017. She has also competed many times at World Junior Championships for biathlon and on the IBU Cup

 

Raleigh Goessling is also a Minnesota native, growing up in Esko, MN. He raced for Minnesota Biathlon and then the Maine Winter Sports Center as a biathlete before attending University of New Hampshire (UNH). As a junior biathlete, he represented the US at World Junior Championships five times and was a member of the Junior European Championship team. While at UNH, Goessling qualified for NCAA’s twice and had four top 5 finishes in EISA races. His biathlon career highlights include five US Biathlon National Championship titles and a 2nd place in the sprint at 2017 IBU Cup Trials in Mt. Itasca.

 

June/July

With the full team at the Outdoor Center, summer training began in earnest. The cross country, biathlon and U23 summer athletes trained together throughout the summer, taking advantage of the strong training group in Craftsbury. Summer shooting training focuses on accuracy, range procedure and the first phase of shooting and skiing training. The biathlete’s ski training closely mirrors that of the cross-country team.

Early season OD roll/run in the Jay Peak area

Long run on the Long Trail

Early season uphill running time trial. All the girls in blue!

Boys after the Loon Mountain Race

Bounding intervals

Late August brought about the Race to the Top of Vermont. Another sort of racing fun!

Jericho

The highlight of the summer, for the biathlon team, is the annual US Summer National Championships. This year, the event was held in Jericho, Vermont on August 11th and 12th. The competitions are used as part of US Biathlon’s selection process for European Racing.

Summer Nationals kicked off on August 11th with a sprint race. In the Senior Women’s event, Susan Dunklee was the top GRP finisher placing 2nd. She was joined on the podium by Kelsey Dickinson in 3rd. Emily Dreissigacker placed 5th with only one standing miss. She was followed by Clare Egan in 7th, Hallie Grossman in 9th, and Kaitlynn Miller in 10th. In the Senior Men’s race, Jake Brown finished 8th with Raleigh Goessling close behind in 9th. Akeo Maifield-Carucci placed 11th and Alex Howe finished 14th, despite two broken rollerskis.

On Sunday, the biathletes competed in the mass start race. Susan moved up a step on the podium winning the race with 85% shooting. She was joined on the podium by Clare who placed 3rd also shooting 85%. Clare was followed by Kelsey in 4th, Emily in 8th, and Hallie in 11th. In the men’s mass start, Alex had a strong race making his way onto the podium in 3rd. He was followed by Raleigh in 8th, Jake in 9th, and Akeo in 14th.

Kelsey

Emily

Hallie

Susan

Jake

Alex

After these races, the US Women’s National Biathlon Team visited Craftsbury for a weeklong training camp. The GRP women’s team participated in the camp.

For now, the GRP Biathlon Team is back in Craftsbury, preparing for the fall.

 

Fall Preview

In early September the team will travel to Lake Placid, New York to train with the US Biathlon National Team over the course of a 12-day camp.

October will see the team head to Heber City, Utah for a 3-week training camp. The highlight of this camp will be the final round of rollerski selection races, which will determine which athletes will travel to Europe to compete on the IBU Cup and World Cup for the first period of winter competition.

In addition to training, GRP biathletes are involved in planning and promoting the Outdoor Center’s Fall Festival, which will feature (among MANY other events) a mass start running and mountain bike biathlon race on October 6th. Also, on offer at this event is a novice race, which gives people with no biathlon experience an opportunity to try out the sport. Learn more about this event here.

For more frequent updates on the GRP Biathlon team, please follow the team on Instagram and Facebook.

Oberhof: A German Biathlon Mecca

2.Oct.2017 by Hallie Grossman

After wrapping up German Nationals in Arber, we headed to Oberhof for the thing that every winter sports athlete looks forward to: snow! None of us had ever been to Oberhof, so we weren’t sure what to expect. As we neared Oberhof, an Eastern European feel descended upon us. After eating dinner, we clearly decided that we had left “pasta eating Germany” and entered “potato eating Germany.”

Biathlon is popular here. A mini version of the stadium in the tourist info building.

After a rainy day off, where we did some wandering around the town, and eating delicious pastries at a local “backerei,” we were all excited to ski. As the rain poured and the wind whistled around us, we eagerly put on ski clothes, switched from rollerski to snow baskets, scraped our skis and went skiing! The track in the tunnel is a horseshoe shape, with two way traffic. The whole loop took me about eight minutes skiing easy (it probably took the Russians who ripped around the whole time abut five…) but had two short climbs, two longer climbs, and even an icy downhill.  They have a snow making system inside the tunnel, so the snow was clean, plentiful, and awesome.

GRP train in the tunnel.

 

That afternoon, we headed to the range for some (rainy) running combos. It is a 30 point range, as all World Cup venues have, but has massive stadium seating, reminiscent of a football or baseball stadium in the US. It reportedly can hold 11,000 fans.

View of the stadium from a bit of a distance. Definitely doesn’t do the magnitude of it justice.

 

The next afternoon, as the rain continued to fall, we were prepared to spend another session working on our toughness and durability, but were pleasantly surprised when we found out we would be able to shoot in the indoor shooting range. Yup, indoor range. After meandering on a small road above the regular range and ski tunnel for a bit, we got to an 18 point range, with a building next to it, with pavement coming out of either end. We had found the eight point indoor, rollerski ski accessible range. Definitely not something you see every day. It’s perfect for enduring inclement weather.

Dry shooting on a rainy afternoon.

The next day, we were treated to another Oberhof speciality- yet another indoor range! This one was in the ski tunnel! This allowed us to truly practice biathlon in the summer. This range had four points and was situated midway through the tunnel, so it was easily accessible.

Intensity combos all indoors.

We also spent a little bit of time exploring Oberhof’s running/ recreation trail system. I’m always impressed by how many recreational paths many European towns have, as well as how highly trafficked they are.

Oberhof provides a biathlete (or a skier) with all the tools necessary for successful training. Never before have I been to an area with five biathlon ranges (there was a single point somewhere else in town). They even have facilities to accommodate inclement weather, which makes me think the weather often leaves some to be desired (Susan confirmed this).

The biathletes are all now back in the U.S., gearing up for October trials- some training in Craftsbury and others in Lake Placid.

Biathletes take on Germany

12.Sep.2017 by Hallie Grossman

While the skiers are becoming very well acquainted with the Snow Farm landscape, the biathletes stayed in the Northern Hemisphere and are training in various locations around Germany. Some we are familiar with and others are new.

Our first stop was Ruhpolding, where we enjoyed beautiful summery weather for the first few days. Our first order of business upon arrival was picking out a mountain and hiking/ running up it. We then checked out the range and rollerski loop. I thought the loop was awesome, as it featured all very skiable hills, but others deemed it not all that exciting. The coolest thing about the range was the amount of spectators that were in the stands on a random training day- in the middle of the week in the middle of the summer. I continue to be amazed at the popularity of biathlon in Europe.

A happy crew on top of Rauschberg

Didn’t luck out with the sun quite so much on this hike a few days later, but we’re all smiles!

The National Team is here as well, and we have teamed up with them for several training sessions. One particularly memorable one was the L3 rollerski up the Rossfeldstrasse, a sustained climb that took upwards of an hour along the German/ Austrian border. We were greeted by gorgeous mountain views as we neared the top. We could also see the Eagle’s Nest, a refuge of Hitler’s during World War II.

Mike cruising into the mountains

Susan and I cooling down after the long interval

We also did some rainy rollerski combo intervals on the range with the National Team, where it was feeling a bit more wintery. This workout called for breaking out the wool shirts, full race suits, rain pants, and vests.

Shooting time!

One afternoon I heard the sound of clip clopping horse shoes on pavement and polka music outside my hotel room. I went to investigate and turns out it was the annual St. George Day ride and horse parade, where people ride or drive their horses through the streets of Ruhpolding out of town to St. Valentine to be bleesed then parade back in. This tradition of horse owners and farmers asking for God’s blessings of their horses dates back to the 16th century.

Many horses and people decked out in traditional garb.

We wrapped up our time in Ruhpolding with a great hike up the Sontagshorn. In typical GRP biathlon European hiking fashion, it became a two-country-slightly-longer-than-expected adventure, but still really fun!

Really neat waterfall. It rained a lot in the several days before this hike, so the water crossings may have been wetter than usual. Regardless, I waded through the rivers and didn’t try to keep my feet dry.

The view from the top. Snowy mountains in the not-so-distant- distance!

Crossing back into Germany from Austria on the return.

Next stop: Arber. We had all been here during the winter within the past few years, but didn’t know what the rollerskiing would be like. The first day we had a nearly deserted roller loop and range and discovered that the paved section was on the mellowest part of the winter courses. Over the few days we were there, we saw the evolution from quiet training facility to bustling venue packed with racers and fans and sponsors for the Deutsche Meisterschaft Biathlon or German Biathlon Rollerski Nationals, which serve as important qualifying races for the Germans and good (hard) competition for foreign racers. We did two races, a sprint and a pursuit. Both the men’s and women’s fields were deep, with lots of speedy and sharpshooting Germany juniors, World Cup and IBU Cup regulars, and foreigners from Switzerland, Finland, the US, and other countries.

Start of the women’s pursuit. Doesn’t really capture the fans, but there were LOTS.

Emily started in front of reigning World Champ (many times over) Laura Dahlmeier in the sprint! (Picture from Alex’s Instagram).

Bodenmais, the town that we stayed in, is known for their glass. We did some touristing and stopped in several glass shops during our down time. Rumor has it this is where they make the crystal globes for World Cup winners.

Mike’s wise owl friend

We are know in Oberhof for the last leg of our trip, skiing on SNOW! More on that later, but here’s a sneak peak.

Mike in the tunnel

 

 

BKL Camp Week

4.Jul.2017 by Hallie Grossman

Last week, Caitlin wrote a post about a typical “week in the life” of a GRP athlete in June. This post is similar, but with a twist: a week in the life during BKL camp (a recovery/ easy week for some of the biathletes and a bigger volume week for the skiers).

Twice every summer, the junior coaches put together two Bill Koch League day camps for kids 8-12 and the GRP gets to help throughout the week. Last week, 18 eager BKL’ers, some part of our regular crew and some from further away, descended on the Center for five days of fun and training.

Monday

Camp begins at 9am sharp, with name games and ice breakers. Kids then broke into two groups, one heading to the local roads for rollerskiing and the others staying at the Center for some agility practice via an obstacle course. Because kids like competition, there was a competition for the “best cheerer” as part of the obstacle course. Throughout the week most workouts and activities ended with a healthy dose of water time. Kids don’t seem to care whether it’s hot or cold- the water’s always fun!

Playing “World Cup.” Apparently it’s, “everyone’s favorite game.”

Tuesday

Descending Elmore

Hike day! The crew headed to Mt. Elmore for some fire tower views and slippery rock scrambling. The morning concluded with swimming and lunching at Lake Elmore, which was unfortunately cut a bit short because of imminent thunderstorms.The afternoon drew out everyone’s hand-foot coordination skills, with a slightly rainy kickball tournament.

Despite BKL camp being in full swing, the GRP athletes were still engaged in training weeks of varying volumes and other work projects. The weekly Tuesday Night Race (this week at Hosmer Point) still went off without a hitch.

Tuesday Night Race dip at Hosmer Point. It’s wonderful to see the community come together on a weekly basis for this event.

Wednesday

Wednesday morning gave kids an opportunity to shred the mountain bike trails. These kids are speedy! While the campers were biking, some of the GRP did a skate speed rollerski workout. In the afternoon, the group was split in two: half canoeing and half doing biathlon.

Amelia showing us how it’s done on the range, while wearing an awesome pink skort.

Though I have not done a lot of biathlon with the BKLers, it is really cool watching them shoot. They are all supportive of each other and offer bits of  encouragement and suggestions. They do a great job parroting coaches’ snippets of advice to their peers (and I’ve noticed the same thing with mountain biking skills), which shows that kids really are listening and taking in what you say.

Wild strawberries make any uphill journey sweeter.

Thursday

Orienteering in the morning (while some of the GRP did rollerski intervals) then in the afternoon, the groups flipflopped, giving everyone the chance to canoe and do biathlon over the two days.

Rain drops didn’t deter anyone from a spirited relay race.

Friday

Adventure race day! Before the race began, I did a 2k on the skierg as part of our testing regime which happens throughout the summer and fall. With the 2k complete by 9am, it was on to the races!

Here’s a smattering of pictures from the adventure race. I won’t go in to much detail because I don’t want to give any of our secrets away! But know that there was a lot of smiles and planning/ plotting and water involved.

“We are a human conveyer belt”

Lava lava everywhere

Alex working on sight alignment with a camper

Cooperation is key here

Then…pizza!

Rope swinging then make-your-own pizza is a BKL camp tradition. Kids get creative with pizzas of all sorts, including crowd favorites of pesto and sausage then some lesser known treasures like simply garlic and olive oil. This year,  many of us learned what “mochi” are and a few campers got really in to making mini pizzas.

Mini pizzas for days

Hungry kids devouring their creations

Smores!

 

The campers wrapped up their week with a lip sync competition, which is pretty hilarious with a group of 8-12 who have some very different opinions on singing and dancing.

Some were in to the signing. And some were not.

Though the camp was done, the training week wasn’t quite over…

Saturday brought an OD rollerski/ run workout with a roll from East Craftsbury to Lake Willoughby then run over Mt. Pisgah for most.

Rollerskis can take you a long way…(Caitlin Patterson’s camera/ Pepa’ picture taking).