• Maddie Phaneuf

Final Rollerski Races

Hey everyone! Rollerski season is almost over, and I can't wait! As you know, I traveled out to Utah mid-October to train and compete in the final set of trial races in hopes of competing over in Europe for the early season. Let me tell you how it went, but first, a shoutout to Old Forge Hardware for supporting me this season. I appreciate it tremendously, as your sponsorship has paid for my plane ticket over to Europe!

My NYSEF teammate Nina and I flew out to Utah a few weeks ago, and met up with our teammate Kelly and our Estonian friend and fellow biathlete, Johanna. We spent the first few days easing into some light training: trail running, rollerskiing, shooting...and tried to get used to the altitude (5,800ft/1,768m). The days were a bit cold in the mornings, but would warm up quickly with the sun by the afternoon. It was beautiful, and perfect training weather!!

Heading out of VT at 5am...

Made it! So did the bags!

Chasing Johanna and Nina!

Unfortunately, I caught a head cold within those first few days. May have to do with the fact I had two hard training weeks leading up to a long travel day, plus the dry air and spending many hours in the airport/plane. I was just focused on fighting this cold quickly and in an efficient way so I could be healthy and strong for the races.

Was it enough? Probably not...

The cold lingered for over a week...which meant I trained about 30min total leading up to the first race! Not ideal! I was trying to stay calm knowing that I could jump in the race ski below race pace, and if I shot well I could have a still have a chance of doing okay. So that's what I did..I kept it conservative on the skis, and shot well in the range to have an okay result. Results can be found here.

Luckily I had a recovery day in between the first Sprint and the Mass Start, and by the time the next race came along I was starting to feel even better health-wise. The rest day consisted of joining the Wild West Shootout competition! Basically a few different shooting drills, turned into a competition amongst other biathletes from all over the country, ranging in all ages. It was super fun!

The day of the Mass Start we had the perfect temperature for the race. It was lingering around 60 degrees, sunny, and hardly any wind. I felt better on the skis, and could keep up with most of the other girls. Unfortunately I shot terribly, and I'm still unsure why. I'm thinking it had to do with the lack of range time with a high heart rate leading up to the races at altitude...but who knows. I ended up shooting 50% in prone and 70% in standing...insert face palm here. Results can be found here.

The start of the Mass Start

Photo by Jeffrey Leopold

Racing in the Mass Start

Photo by Weymuller Photography

The final day of racing was the following day, another Sprint. I went in to it trying to forget the shooting percentages from the previous day, and just give it all I got in order to qualify for the IBU Cup circuit. The skiing felt even better, and the shooting wasn't too bad either! Started out rough, with 2 misses in prone, but I held it together and shot quickly and accurately in standing. Results can be found here.

Cold on the range!

Photo by Jeffrey Leopold

Photo by Jeffrey Leopold

Overall, it wasn't quite the trip I expected. Obviously I would have rather been healthy the whole time in order to train properly and fight for the final World Cup spot, but I adapted to the circumstances and tried my best. I'm very happy to have been named to race at the early season IBU Cups (2-3) and can't wait to be back on the international biathlon circuit! I was looking through old results and I believe the last international competition I competed in was in January of it's been almost 2 years! I'm going into these IBU Cups with no expectations, but to enjoy the racing again and see what happens.

There will be a US team traveling to IBU Cup 1 in Norway, I believe I'm the only athlete not attending, and this was my own decision. I want to save money for later events in the season, have a bit more time to train before the race season begins, and spend some time with my family and friends before a long winter away from home. Nonetheless, I can't wait to get over there and see where all this hard work will put me! Thank you all for believing in me as I challenged myself back into the professional training world, and thank you for continuing to support me on this crazy biathlon journey.

And I will leave you with this...sink laundry! The greatest part of traveling.

Currently listening to: Shark Smile by Big Thief

- MP