• Maddie Phaneuf

World Cup 5 & 6

Sorry for such a delayed blog post, but after Ruhpolding I didn't really have the motivation to write. Sometimes I find it easy to write, and other times I just sit here staring at a blank screen trying to think of what to say. Being in the middle of the race season, where all I'm thinking about is biathlon and racing, the last thing I really want to do is write about biathlon and racing. But, I know that many of you are eager to hear about how I felt being back on the World Cup, so here you go!

Happy to be back on the World Cup

After some great racing in Martell, Italy on the IBU Cup (12th and 10th place finishes) I was bumped up to race World Cup 5 in Ruhpolding, Germany. This was where I had my very first World Cup start two seasons ago. We also spent a few weeks in Ruhpolding for some training this summer, so I'm more comfortable and familiar with the course and range.

Our first race was the Women's 4x6 km Relay, the first relay for us all season! We were all psyched to get to compete against the other women and see where we stood. I was the second leg, after Susan, and was pretty nervous to be tagged off still in the mix of things. I had an okay leg, shooting 0+1, 0+1 (meaning I only used one spare round to hit all of my targets for each stage, in a relay you get 3 extra rounds to hit any misses for each stage). Overall our team had an average day, I believe we finished 17th that day. I think we were all happy to not have been lapped or last, which was more often the case in the two previous seasons. Full results found here.

Our first Women's Relay of the season!

Racing the second leg of the Relay

Photo by Nordic Focus

My next race was the 7.5km Sprint. Thanks to my wax techs, my skis were flying, but unfortunately my body was not feeling the best. I felt like my legs were heavy and not wanting to work with the rest of my body. On top of that, I didn't have my best day on the range, shooting 0,2. The slow skiing and mediocre shooting put me in 94th place...way out of qualifying for the Pursuit (top 60). I was pretty bummed, but tried to just shake it off. Full results here.

Photo by Nordic Focus

Best recovery food...Bretzl and Chocolate Milk!

The racing in Ruhpolding left me feeling slow and off the pace of everyone else competing at the World Cup level. I was looking forward to arriving in Antholz, Italy where there would at least be nice mountains to gaze upon and the warm sun to soak up.

Fresh snow falling before we left Ruhpolding!

The first race at World Cup 6 in Antholz was the 15 km Individual. This is the longest race we ever compete in, 5 loops of 3 km and each shot missed is an extra minute added to your overall time; no penalty loops. I went into this race knowing this could be my race, considering I am confident in my shooting abilities. You don't need to be the fastest skier to do well in an Individual, but you need to hit all of your targets. Unfortunately, that race was not my day. The wind had picked up and I ended up missing way more than I would have liked...7 targets missed, meaning 7 minutes added to my overall time. I found myself in 81st place. I was happy with how I felt on the skis though, so I wasn't too worried about the result, knowing I can shoot better for future Individuals. Full results here.

Panorama of the venue from the start area

Full stands in the stadium

Our final race here was the Women's 4x6 km Relay. I would be anchoring the relay, and my goal for the day was to just stick with the other teams skiing wise and be calm on the range. I was happy to see that my body felt great on the skis and the shooting went really well. I cleaned my prone stage without any spare rounds, and then my standing stage I only used 1 spare round and had one of the fastest overall shooting times. Our team ended up in 13th place by the finish, but we had been in the top 6 for about half of the race! I'm looking forward to more relay opportunities, I think our team has a chance of being up near the top. Full results here.

Joanne, Susan and I decided to watch the Men's 20 km Individual and tailgate, biathlon style! Grilling meat and veggies with some good tunes.

Now the team and I are staying in Antholz, Italy for almost two weeks to train and prepare for the World Championships being held in Hochfilzen, Austria. This will be my very first World Championships, and I'm so excited to race there! This was one of my biggest goals of the season, and I'm hoping my body will be in peak performance by the time the races start. Today is a recovery/off day, so I got to sleep in and hang out this morning. This afternoon a few of us may head down to town and check out the shops.

My favorite spot in Antholz

Obligatory mountain selfie

I'll try to take more photos these next two weeks, because Antholz is seriously one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. The mountains here are absolutely amazing, and the skiing is great. Until then, have a great rest of the month!

Currently listening to: On + Off by Maggie Rogers

- MP