Biathlon at Snow Mountain Ranch, Granby CO

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The Colorado mass start biathlon race at Snow Mountain Ranch this past weekend was epic! I wasn’t expecting to be in the fight having not been on skis since last season, plus my bib was lucky number 13… So I went out Saturday night around 11pm with my headlamp for a few laps and was quickly feeling a little more confident. With access to the great facilities at SMR Nordic Center, I was able to hook up a solid wax job on my skis thanks to all the coaching from Andy Wilkins over the years. Our Colorado National Guard team worked together right before the race to get everyone’s rifles zeroed, which is a critical task before any biathlon. This was especially important for me since I haven’t touched my Anschutz .22 since March, and it showed during the race! After our pre race meeting from Elizabeth Pike, I grabbed my gear and headed to the starting line. With the great weather and amazing Colorado scenery I was truly in the zone, especially having teammates and family there to cheer me on. We started the 15k trek in a strong pace line led by Brian Woodard until we arrived at the range for our first round of prone shooting. Brian cleaned his first set of 5 targets, Dave Cleveland missed one, and I missed two. I quickly found myself behind and knew that I would have to ski hard to make up ground. I pushed the pace and once again we all three arrived at the range for our second round of shooting. Brian only missed one shot, and I botched two again. Now I have been known to bounce back while shooting standing, but that wasn’t the case today. I hit three and wasn’t too upset about it, until I noticed that Dave cleaned his targets while I was still in the penalty loop. I once again found myself in third with only two laps to go. However, I was able to close the gap again and found myself shooting next to Brian for a third time. This race was starting to give me flashbacks from Spartan NJ and Spartan Worlds this past year with Cody Moat and I battling it out. And much like then with the spear throw, it’s a lot more difficult when you have to do it right next to someone. However, I thought to myself that I could win this race right here with a solid round of shooting since Brian had only hit two total targets and I had already matched that with my first two shots. Well that didn’t happen. I rushed my shots and missed the rest. Dave hit four targets, and just like that we were once again neck and neck. This race was going to end with a fight to the finish. I was stressed since Brian has crazy downhill and turning skills and I just can keep up, so I decided to tail him as best I could and make up ground on my strong suits, the flats and hills. We hit the last major climb and I pushed as hard as I could to pass, putting on what I thought was a solid gap. I let up for one second to see where he was, but didn’t have to look back because Brian was passing to my left. I had almost nothing left, and he went by. I dug deep and countered back one last time, knowing I had to put at least 10 seconds between Brian and I before we hit the last technical section. I pushed hard around the last tight downhill turn and nearly lost it, but held on to take the win by 14 seconds. I would hope every race this season is just as exciting, but this will be my only biathlon race due to my military schedule. Thanks to the Colorado National Guard and Marc Reyer for top of the line gear @Rossignol @Alpina @Anschutz @MtBora. I truly appreciate my sponsors for allowing me to keep pushing my limits and for helping with a fast recovery. ‪#‎ascentprotein‬ ‪#‎hyperwear‬ ‪#‎2xu‬ ‪#‎tailwindnutrition‬

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