• Maddie Phaneuf

I can't feel my face (when I'm racing)

I've been in Minnesota for almost a week now and haven't seen temperatures above 10 degrees in a long while! Let's just say, I have become an expert on layers and racing when it's cold. So, if you need any tips, feel free to hit me up with any questions! Also, whoever invented toe warmers, I thank you.

The travel day from Canmore was quite eventful. Our original itinerary was Calgary --> Chicago --> Duluth...but we got an email a day before our departure saying our flight to Duluth was canceled. Therefore, we changed our itinerary to Calgary --> Denver --> Minneapolis. Unfortunately we missed our flight out of Denver due to delays in Calgary...and the only flight I could get on was to go through Chicago (eye roll), where there was a massive snow storm happening. This wouldn't be good.

This is what I look like when I travel, trust will NOT get sick with this on your face! (But you may get a few funny looks)

I ended up boarding my flight out of Chicago and proceeded to sit on the plane for about 4 hours before we finally left for Minneapolis. The plane had to get defrosted, then we made it out near the runway, but since we sat there for too long we had to go back to the gate to get re-defrosted...then we finally were about to depart when a plane that was landing blew out it's tires! (WHAT?!) So then we had to wait for them to clear the runway before we could take off...and somehow we did FINALLY fly! Everyone on the plane was pretty tired and frustrated with the airline...but I'm just happy we actually left Chicago!

I was so happy and thankful that a few of my teammates and Coach Erik waited around for me in Minneapolis. Bonus points, all of my bags arrived. We then had a 3 hour drive up to Grand Rapids, and got to our hotel around 1:30 in the morning. To say the least, it was a LONG travel day! (We had left Canmore at 2 in the morning the previous day).

From Canmore, skiing at Lake Louise

Besides the long traveling, I managed to stay healthy and spent the beginning of this week preparing for the IBU Cup Trials. These races decide who will be named to the January IBU Cups held over in Europe. Originally there would have been four races in a span of five days...but due to the extremely cold weather, we had to change it to only three races. So far we have two of the races over with, so I'll talk about how those went for me!

The first race was a 7.5 km Sprint, it was about zero degrees Fahrenheit at race time and to be honest, I wasn't looking forward to taking all of my warm layers off for the race. After I grudgingly took off my puffy coat and started the race, it wasn't all that bad. I could feel my fingers and toes, so that's a win in my books! Overall my skiing felt good, but I could feel my legs getting tired by the last loop. The course here is tough, lots of short steep uphills with not a lot of recovery time. I ended up hitting all of my prone targets, and then having one miss in my standing stage. I was happy with this shooting result and I found myself winning the race by about 35 seconds. It was a great way to start the trials! Full results can be found here.

The next race was the following day, a 12.5 km Mass Start. We were welcomed with warmer temperatures, around nine degrees at race time...what a heat wave! Mass Starts are one of the most fun formats of racing, because you're skiing in a pack and there's much more pressure on the shooting range. This added pressure also makes it a bit more stressful. I like to think I can handle pressure well, and just went into the race with confidence. The skiing felt about the same as the previous day, and the shooting was even better! I ended up hitting all of my first time ever shooting clean in a four stage race!! I was SO HAPPY leaving the range, I couldn't stop smiling for the whole last loop! With this shooting percentage and fast skiing, I found myself in first again. What a great way to start the season. Full results can be found here.

After shooting clean!!

Now we play the waiting game. The race that was scheduled for tomorrow is canceled due to cold weather and high winds. Our next scheduled race is for Monday, another 7.5 km Sprint. The weather looks warmer then, with a high of 25! So it looks like we'll be good to go by then. The race will take place in the morning and then I'm flying home that afternoon, so I won't be able to update you all on the results as soon...but stay tuned for another blog update later next week with results and the naming of the IBU Cup Team!

I'd also like to thank you all who have helped me reach these races! This trip was not cheap, and everybody who has donated (even a little bit) has helped me pay for my flight, baggage fees, and food. Special thanks to my sponsors Mountainman, Giant, Blizzard, Helmer's Fuel, DiOrio's Supermarket, Adirondack Homes & Real Estate, Ozzie's Coffee, Water Safari, and Adirondack Accents! And huge thank you to my equipment sponsors Rossignol, One Way Sport USA, HWK USA, FinnSisu, and Old Forge Fitness! Check out their websites through my sponsors tab.

Currently listening to: September by Earth, Wind & Fire

- MP