Chuck & Doug's Blog - Feb 16

Race Day #3 - Pursuit

Race day and the usual morning routine - up at 5 AM with the boys, breakfast, pick-up the guns from the lockup unit and it was off to Martock on the bus.....or at least for some of us.  The second morning bus was 35 minutes late and this resulted in the Men's start being delayed by 40 minutes and the Women's by 30 minutes later in the day.

Joseph and Brandon had a 12.5 km race today, completing five loops that were 2.5 km in length and shooting PPSS.  Any misses resulted in another lap around the penalty loop again today.  Conditions in the morning were temps of -12 C, sunny skies and a steady breeze from the northwest. 

The start for the race was very interesting and used a new format that Biathlon Canada implemented following the Olympics.  Based on the final standings from yesterday's Sprint, the biathletes were all lined up in one of four start lanes.  Each biathlete then started in 5 second intervals of one another, with the idea being that you are "pursuing" the athlete who finished just ahead of you yesterday.  All 39 competitors were out on the course within 3 minutes on one another.  On the range, biathletes were assigned shooting lanes by an official, basically moving from Lane 1 to Lane 24 and back again.

Joseph and Brandon each had a strong start to thier race.  Joseph hit 9 of 10 in the prone position, while Brandon cleaned all 10!  In the standing, Joseph hit 6 targets and ended up finishing in 16th place overall today and 15 of 20 targets.  Brandon hit 4 of 10 standing and finished in 37th position with 14 of 20 targets.  There were 39 competitors in the field with one biathlete being disqualified for apparently receiving coaching while within the zone of silence at the range.  It was another Alberta sweep of the three medals in the Pursuit.

Joseph had a very strong racing going and was in 9th position after the third lap of the race.  Unfortunately, he missed 3 of his 5 targets in his final standing and several competitors got by him while he was doing his penalty loops.  Joseph finished 1.7 seconds behind the athlete ahead of him in what was a sprint to the finish.  Things were also a bit complicated as he was directed to the wrong lane by an official when he came in to shoot...I believe the official mistakenly thought he was on his first shoot standing when it was in face his second.  Joseph was on the mat and in the process of taking his gun off when the error was realized and he was sent farther down the range to another lane.  We considered lodging a protest but in the end decided against could have resulted in a time credit that would have moved him up into 15th place overall at best.

In the afternoon for the Women's race, conditions were much more favorable.  Temperatures climbed to slightly above zero with sunny skies and very little if any wind.  I think we are all going to come home with a tan from the neckline up and the racoon look from having to wear sunglasses!

Gaylen and Charlene had a 10 km race that followed the exact same format as the boys earlier in the day.  They had to complete 5 laps of the 2.0 km loop and shoot 4 times.  Gaylen started the race wearing Bid 28 and Charlene with Bid 39.  The girls' race was recorded by CTV who were on site for the afternoon competition.

Gaylen had another consistent race and performance.  She missed 1 on each of her first two prones and 5 in total on her standing. Gaylen moved up one position in the standings, finishing in 27th position after hitting 13 of 20 targets in the Pursuit.  She had a very steady race on her skis and finished up looking strong as she crossed the finish line.

Charlene also had a great start to her afternoon, missing only 1 of her first two prones as well.   She then missed 3 in each of her two standing shoots, finishing the day with 12 of 20 targets hit and in 37th position.  During her third loop, Charlene's back began to tighten up again and she almost decided to not finish her race.  After her final shoot, however, she carried on and was able to finish the race.  Her back was so sore that she could not bend over to take off her skis; a helpful first aid attendant came to her rescue.  We were all proud to see Charlene finish and not DNF her race this afternoon!  It was a Quebec sweep of the medals in the Women's Pursuit today.

One thing that has stood out in the race results is the consistency of the results over each of the three days for our NWT biathletes.  They have all put their very best into each race as shown by the almost exact same finish in each of the Individual, Sprint and Pursuit races.  As Gail, Paul and Doug will attest, it has been wonderful to coach and cheer on our Team NWT biathletes so far!

After the bus ride back into Halifax, it was off to the coach's meeting to prepare for the Relay on Friday. There will be 9 official teams with the Yukon/NWT making up the 10th and unofficial team.  Based on the results from the Sprint, Joseph will start with his 7.5 km portion of the race, followed by Brandon and then the Yukon athlete finishing up the boys race.  In the 6.0 km Women's Relay, the two Yukon women biathletes will ski the first two legs and Gaylen will anchor the team.   The weatherman is calling for sleet in the morning and rain in the afternoon with temperatures climbing to +6 C!  Should be interesting!

This evening, the kids checked out some of the quarterfinal hockey taking place and then headed to the CWG dance.  Tomorrow will be a day to rest-up, watch some more of the other venues and to tour the downtown Halifax area.  We are heading out for a team dinner tomorrow night (buy one lobster and get the second one free at one of the waterfront restaurants) before crashing early in anticipation of our final race of the Games.

It was another great day for NWT Biathlon at the CWG 2011!   Check out today's pictures in the Photo Gallery.