Biathlon Alberta 2010 Euro Tour
Report #6, by David Poffenroth (Feb. 24)
Bonjour, I don’t even know where to begin. They say that time flies when you’re having fun. It seems that the days have been rolled together in to one long captivating/ awesome day, so many new things and ways of life, the word I got from Evan was “epicness” that seemed to say it all.
I guess that the first up date is that we have moved to another house. The place we are in now was a barn to begin with, now it is this really cool rustic looking house. The area where we sleep is like a tree house, Will and myself share a bed that, in the girls opinion, was made for a princess, the only not so princess thing about the bed is that Roddy is sleeping on the roof of the bed. Will and I thought that we might strand Roddy up there by taking down the ladder. The other two rooms are split into the boy’s room, which also doubles as a hangout, and the girl’s room.
The course we are racing on is really nice, the trails are all nicely groomed, and scenery is beautiful, woods as far as the eye can see. (Just a hint of sarcasm in that one) We had our first ski on the course today, the temperature was at a balmy -20 C, and I had the opportunity to become completely lost and was not able to make it back to the range for 30 minutes. After that type of work out who needs coats.
Jacq made a good point on the roads that we had to traverse on our way to the destination, “ It is amazing how we get on the big highways and go halfway across France and then go off on one of those really narrow back roads and go no where”. This could be attributed to the fact that we really had no clue as to where we were. Roddy has a particular talent in getting in our workout in the most appealing ways. In the last three days the team has had to push our diesel vehicle out of snow drifts five or six times. There is a reason that the car rental outlets in France insist on chains in every vehicle. We all know how to use them now!
For the entire team thanks for giving us this opportunity in France.
Report #5, by Tarah Cieslak (Feb. 19)
Today it was time to leave our home in La Rivoire. After six amazing days with Jacques and Hanne, we’re on our way to “L’auberge de Jeunesse”. So we packed the vans full, and the boys ate some more of their raclette block that smelled like rotting bodies.
The drive consisted of long winding roads, techno beats, Roddy giving out trust points, and driving through places with silly names such as “Ouchy”.
Once we finally arrived in Pontarlier, we drove around looking for the hostel while also discovering that there are lots of good stores for shopping... Yesss! We go skiing at the new site in Arçon, the range is nice, and you can see the whole ski trail from it too!
The hostel is nice, the food and screaming kids not so much. There are actually so many kids here, and they are so loud, and so hyper, and excited, and Lauren and I are currently trying to sleep, but there are about five screams every 15 seconds and a stampede of kids run by screaming as well. We have come to the conclusion that we are secretly living in an orphanage.
So other than the orphanage part, France is beautiful, the people are nice, and the food is great. Hopefully the races this weekend go well, and hopefully Canada gets some more medals in the Olympics!
Ps. Je veux dire merci beaucoup a Andy, Roddy, Jacq, et mon équipe ici pour cette voyage magnifique!
Report #4, by Marni Stokoe (Feb. 17)
Europe is more amazing then I ever expected, and so far this trip has been quite the learning experience. It all started in a cute little restaurant in Plans d’Hotonnes, where we ate most of our meals. We had a wonderful lunch as a team and then an hour and a half later…BOOM! Stomach ache. I thought the reason for the pain had something to do with the fact that I was doing my biology homework. Little did I know it was actually food poisoning. I had the “its not going to happen to me” attitude coming into this trip and I’m guessing that why I was so shocked when I actually got really sick. Getting that sick put a massive road block in all my plans, and I when it happened I had a really tough time getting back on my feet and moving forward. Friday I was basically stuck in quarantine all day by myself and was excited when I ate a piece of bread the size of my i-pod…great accomplishment eh? For some reason I completely believed that I would be able to race on Saturday after eating nothing but bread and weak sport drink. When I asked about waxing my race skis, Roddy informed me of my worst nightmare…I wasn’t allowed to race. The fact that I could not race started a giant snowball of depression. Never in my life have I ever felt like that…EVER! I couldn’t seem to do anything that would make me happy or take my mind off the reality. In my young mind all I could focus on was the fact that I spent all this money to travel to France to RACE! I didn’t realize that getting sick happens and that I could learn a lot from it in order to make future trips to other countries easier. I have to thank Jacq for tell me about “the four A’s”, Accept, Assess, Adjust, and Always move on. After she gave me that advice I was able to get over the fact I was sick and try to learn something from it. On Saturday at the race I was allowed to watch my teammates. I felt like a puppy in a dog park that was tied to a fence while it sat there and watched all the other dogs run around and have fun. On Sunday once again I was not healthy enough to race, but this time I stayed at the house and just recovered and gained some of my energy back. Today is Tuesday and I finally feel like a healthy human being again. I was able to finally get back on my skis and start training again. J
We are currently staying at a youth hostel near Arcon. When we arrived there was about 40 young children running around…ALL on sugar highs. After dinner the team decided that the place has the feeling of an orphanage. Supper consisted of cheese, sliced meat and potatoes. Yep. That was it.
This morning was awesome. Breakfast was cardboard flakes and stale bread. Emma even resorted to stealing more stale bread from the other orphans when they weren’t looking. Jack ended up saving us with eggs and fruit! Other than that this place is pretty sweet.
Report #3, by Emma Lodge (Feb. 15)
Today was, for many of us, our first international race. The course was difficult, as was the shooting, but everyone put together a solid race. Here's how my race went, in poetic verse.
I wake up early and go for a run,
past the cows, the geese, i'm ready for fun.
Breakfast ready, huge, large and delicious,
fresh bread, cereal, its all so nutritious.
We're at the range now, zero begins,
three lanes, nine athletes, let's see those grins.
Wow, these girls sure look fast,
let's all aim high, "please, not last!"
In the start pen, I've got my rifle and skis,
oh look, there's Stuart, he's such a tease.
the starter says "Allez!", what does that mean?
Go? I see, time to ski like a machine.
It's the first lap, I start to sweat,
Gotta keep going, the race ain't over yet.
Up the hills, down the hills, this course is rough,
that's all okay, I'm built Canmore tough.
Into the range, the wind is blowing,
two right, one down, these targets I'm owning.
Now with only one lap to ski,
I'm back on the course faster than William can say "Oh Gee!"
The boys are on course now as well,
it's kind of scary, they ski faster than hell!
I see Macx go ripping past,
He's number fifty, forty-nine has been surpassed.
Standing shooting is not really my thing,
only twice do I hear that bing-cling.
But the thing that really struck me as strange,
was the man fixing targets-down range!
This is it, my last lap,
don't want to start the pursuit from way back!
I see the finish drawing near,
Around the corner, that's Marni's cheer.
Across the line, I'm all done
it wasn't easy, but it sure was fun!
That's international race number one in the bag,
one step closer to waving our flag.
Report #2, by Evan Armstrong (Feb. 15)
Day 1: Oh man where to start, where to start? How about I start at the beginning? when I got up in the morning. Never have I gotten out of bed so fast. After a quick good bye to my parents they were off to work leaving me to wait in anticipation for my ride to get there to take me to the airport to begin are journey across the pond to a brave new world. France.
Once at the airport we waited in line to get are boarding passes which was actually really short which was a surprise. Lufthansa is an airline that rivals Westjet in its service. I had to pay for an extra bag so once the lady had checked me in she took me over down the hall to help me through the process of paying for it. After this was the oversized baggage line. That line took forever with a short stern looking lady at the end to scrutinize everything. We where so glad when the rifles passed through without a hitch.
Once on the plane everyone was filled with excitement! It was a massive plane with business, first and eco class seating. We all found our seats. I ended up sitting beside Macx but it was Roddy, Emma, Macx and I all in a row. Some people where lucky and where able to fall asleep for most of the trip. Some of us though had no such luck since it was only like 2 in the afternoon. As the flight went by we watched movies and traded seats moving all around. We were served “steak” for dinner and some eggs for breakfast (I have never had dinner and breakfast on the same flight before. It was a long flight.)
Once landing in Frankfurt we got off the plane and meandered down to more security so that we would be able to catch are connecting flight that would take us to Geneva the boys where the first to reach security. The line took a while but we thought that the girls and Roddy where behind us. The security guards pinged Stuart, the Poffenroths and I. For things such as a pencil that was placed weird and fruit bars though Stuart did have a live round in his bag. This took awhile and still thinking that the girls where behind us we just walked to the plane to find a frantic Roddy waiting yelling for us to run or we would miss the plane. That was eventful.
So just about landing in Geneva we looked out the window seeing an epic view of the mountains surrounded by beautiful white clouds. It was stunning. After we landed it was a short painless trip through baggage claim. They know how to do it here. After this we went and got the vans, then waited for Lauren's flight to get in.
The drive from Geneva to Annecy was very hard since we were all dying to sleep but Roddy would not allow that. We got to Annecy and went down town and where told to walk around to kill some time. Man France is sweet!!! The food is epic and the buildings are fantastic. It’s like something out of the movies. After our zombie trip to France and with Roddy wired on coffee we began are drive to where we were staying. This consisted of driving up a crazy windy road and heaven forbid that there would be guard rails of any kind or that that the road would be wider than the width of 2 of the smallest cars ever made.
After a lot of pushing the vans we were able to get them into the parking lot. We got are first look at the place we were staying. Three stories and backed onto some ski trails. Now the houses dotted the mountain side, we are still at a loss as to how people got to their houses half the time. Most of the houses had some kind of barn that housed animals either under it or beside it. We shared our house with several other groups of people. We were surprised when each room had a TV and there was wireless internet. We strained to stay awake until we were finally allowed to sleep. The girls had the top floor and the boys had several rooms on the bottom floor. We all crawled into bed and passed out. Morning came way too early.
Day 2: Getting out of bed was painful at 7:15. The boys all meandered up stairs still half asleep. Once sitting at the table we realized that the girls were missing. Andrew and I walked up stairs and banged on the door of their room getting several very good curses and shrieks as they woke up.
After a lovely breakfast of cereal and several types of bread with a wide selection of jam and milk that defiantly did not come out of a carton we prepared to go for a quick ski. We got all are ski gear and headed down the road to a bus stop. We were going to take the bus to the ski area. We all jumped on the bus with are skis and poles thinking that we would be the only ones. We were not by any means the only ones. There were several people on the bus with downhill skis (no one here really seems to snowboard). Once at the ski are we went for a short ski on some very beautiful trails. After this we went back to the house and relax and tried to recover from the jet lag that was hitting us hard. We were then supposed to go for a afternoon run but Macx, Marni, Andrew, Stuart and I decided to go snow shoeing instead for there where snow shoes that we could use at the house. It was awesome. We got up high enough and there was enough powder that we could do back flips of a little edge into the powder below. We then had a lovely supper that was prepared by the people who owned the house. It was very good and the French love there bread so it comes with every meal. We then had sometime to ourselves for the night before we all headed off to bed for we were all desperate for sleep.
Report #1, by Macx Davies (Feb. 10)
This morning we woke up to snow, very wet snow. We shot for the first time since we got here. The range was in a valley about 300m across and behind the range was a 100m cliff jutting upwards. It was an amazing place for a range. After our ski it was still snowing and we had to get back up the hill to our accommodations. After a short lunch we jumped into our vans and tried to drive them out of the parking lots. We spent ten minutes pushing one of them out. Once out of the parking lot we headed to Annecy.
After we found a place to park our relatively long vans we strolled through the old town, were there are many churches and even more stores. Unfortunately it was still snowing and we got very wet if we stayed outside for too long. But it is still a magnificent town and the lake that it’s on is clear water with a sandy bottom, a.k.a. BEAUTIFUL!!!!
Once the team was back together we all went to see a humongous church that over looked Annecy, on top of a very large hill. Which made the church seem even bigger then it was. As suppertime approached we went to a restaurant in the “vielle ville” (old town) and had a cultural appetizer of frog legs, followed by a delightful meal of our choice. Finally we got back to the “Gite” (Our hotel) and to end yet another spectacular day in the French Alps.
P.S. It was still snowing.