Deja Vermont

Remember how I used to post stuff about Ted’s ski races and our adventures around them?  And then I stopped posting.  But it’s not because Ted stopped skiing.  It was just that after hitting the same small towns two or three times there really stopped being more new adventures to seek out.  You can only snowshoe over the grave of Maria von Trapp so many times.  Oh, I could have posted his results.  But I got lazy.  There it is– it’s out.  I WAS LAZY.

Well, I’m still lazy, but now I have a Mac, so it’s a lot easier to get stuff off my camera and onto my computer.  So, Ted’s mom: WE’RE BACK.

Specifically, we are back where it all began: Jericho, Vermont, where Ted did his very first real biathlon race.  We were so green in those days that we looked like we had just stepped out of Emerald City; it’s amazing Ted didn’t shoot himself in the foot or break his skis in half.  But now we’re such old Vermont hands that we have a favorite restaurant (Belted Cow, Tuesday rib night) and even I, who can never quite remember what street the grocery store 5 blocks from my house is on, can drive around without a map. There is quite the air of Groundhog Day around this trip; for instance, when the Thrifty van dropped us off at their lot in Boston and Ted went inside to get the car, I glanced into the office next to where I was standing to look for my old friend Matt Damon.

I'm Hanging Matt Damon

Hey, Matt!  This woman has been working in this office at Thrifty for the past three years, and gazing upon her signed picture of Matt Damon is just one of those things that is part of every Jericho trip.  There may come a day when I land in that parking lot and Matt isn’t there to greet me. I will shed a tear.  But internally, because it’s always very cold and I wouldn’t want my face to freeze.

We also returned to the Handy Suites of Essex, with their insanely chlorinated pool and friendly office dog.  Even got the same room as last year.  Luckily over the course of the year someone had provided the kitchen with a pizza pan, a huge improvement over the pan lid we used to toast sandwiches under the broiler last year.

But on to the good stuff: Ted in spandex!

Although it’s early in the season this set of races had been designated as the North American Championships.  But then it got undesignated, because, like California, Vermont has had no snow.  With uncertain conditions they downgraded it into Just A Race.  But since it was meant to be a championship there are still lots of Canadians here, and hearing people call out to each other in French on the course makes me feel tres internationale.  Anyhoot, today there was a sprint (three loops, 2 shooting rounds), tomorrow is a pursuit (5 loops, 4 shooting, start in order of sprint finish), and Sunday is Ted’s favorite: the mass start, where everyone starts at the same time and all must fight for primacy amid a slashing fury of poles and skis.  Doesn’t that sound dramatic?  It’s also the most fun for spectators because the finish isn’t based on time, like the other two– whoever crosses the finish line first wins, so it’s easier to get a sense of who’s winning.

Here is Ted looking very dynamic today:

Ted charges the hill

Grrrrr, tiger!  Here he is shooting:

Ted Takes A Shot

Worth noting here that there was an absolutely insaaaaaaaane wind blowing during the race.  Seriously, I could barely stay on my feet.  That obviously makes shooting tough, especially standing.  But did that slow down my Teddy?  No, it did not.  He shot 3 for 5, which was fantastic given the conditions and one of the best standing results of the day.  How badly were people shooting?

Round and Round

There in the distance is the penalty loop, which people have to ski once around for each shot that they miss.  And boy were there people skiing around that thing.  I’ve never seen such traffic on a penalty loop before– there are 11 people visible in this picture, and I wasn’t able to get the whole thing in.  I think they were probably skiing on bare ground by the end of the race.

Ted came in third, which was a very solid result, especially since the bad snow in California meant that this was only his fourth or fifth time on snow for the year.  And he didn’t lose to a blind guy.

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