As the rest of the Summer can attest, the cooler temperatures of Autumn have arrived. Still, one of the more pleasant times of the year. Cool, crisp mornings, but warming through the day. The sun does depart far too soon each day, diving behind the mountains a bit earlier each day. Another sign of Autumn’s arrival is the first fresh dusting of snow on the surrounding peaks. They do make the mountains just that little more majestic with a fresh layer of white. I always think that a white-capped mountain looks taller, more epic the challenge to conquer its summit.
A few days after a returned from the snows of New Zealand, I went to Camrose, Alberta to co-host a camp over the September long weekend. The focus was on shooting basics and some running, striding instruction as prep for the Fall. I enjoyed switching roles, becoming the coach, working with the group of biathletes and the cross-country side of the club as well. It was great to see the overall improvement in everyone’s shooting from the first session on Saturday to Monday morning. I think a few shooters found a drill or two that is not their favourite but learned the value of those drills — working specifically on sight picture, trigger control and breathing. Then we wrapped up with a few hard-fought games. Though we had a range of abilities within the group, it was exciting to see everyone in the thick of competition. With different winners for each game we played. Introduced and hopefully hooked a few new young biathletes-to-be, maybe even a parent or two got hooked! It was fun to share some of my experience with the Camrose Ski Club.
The last week or so has been a mix of recovery from the New Zealand camp and preparation for the upcoming Mammoth camp. In less than a week, I will head to California for the final major training camp of the year before the competition season starts. Before I left for Mammoth, I ran my first race of the local First49 series. A fun local trail running race series. The course was set earlier that afternoon, at just over six kilometres. It might have been the toughest trail course you could put together at the Nordic centre. Going to the lowest area of the Canmore Nordic Centre before following the steepest, and most direct route to almost the highest point of the Nordic centre. I now know I need to race a lot more before I feel comfortable in those kinds of races. It hurt without a doubt, but I really enjoyed the evening! A typical Canmore local event; very chill but very competitive, and then beers.
A little easier for the final few days at home before heading south. It will be just over a week after I return from Mammoth that Frozen Thunder returns to the CNC. Winter is fast approaching!