Hugh Pritchard, Biathlete

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Hugh Pritchard
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January 2003
19January

Sprint biathlon today. Stuck my stock back together and tried it today: it seems to work, but my shooting was pretty modest. Missed 2 and 1, disappointing. Skiing much better than Friday, but still not great - I have not really skated on snow since last April. Simon was well back, but apparently someone beat me: will have to wait for the results tonight...

Last night I was overcome by a need to ski, and took my classic skis out at 10pm to ski up to the top of the valley under the full moon: sensational.

Friday 17 January, Serre Chevalier

Biathlon relay, and probably my worst ever biathlon result.

I noticed a couple of days ago a crack in my rifle stock, but as it was too narrow to glue I ignored it. Well, as I was zeroing before the race, I flung the rifle on my back as usual and it fell apart... I replaced the stock with that of one of the team's less important members, but even after moving the handstop 6" I could still not hit much. I skied 1 penalty loop prone and standing: a disgraceful result. And I felt weak and slow in the skiing.

15 January

15km classic, and a really super race.

We were worried about the warm weather forecast, but it was clear and cold overnight, so I tried a Toko dark blue stick-wax as it works on snow temperature, which is less variable than air temperature. I had great stick and adequate glide (also a worry as the first mile or so of each of the two loops is more or less flat). I was running scared, having been beaten on Monday, and was getting pretty tired by the time I got to the top; a rest down to 'Herringbone Hill' then up as if rocket-propelled: bags of power, and no problem with grip. The second loop even better, but worried about lack of power double-poling, so really pushing up the hills to compensate: as one should anyway.

I finished nearly 2' ahead of Simon (who was 3' ahead of 3rd), despite having been almost knocked down by a tourist within 200yds of the start: very satisfying, and probably my best classic race ever. A shame not to have done it at the nationals.

 

13 January, Serre Chevalier

Did the first leg of the 4x10km cross-country relay: my first classic race for two years, and a modest story. With only two days of acclimatisation to the 1500m altitude, it was going to be hard. But I wasn't expecting a shadow to sit behind me clipping my skis, only to overtake me and leave me standing in the last kilometre, revealing himself as Simon Heard, a new name having spent the summer training in New Zealand. Normally I am a strong finisher, and a strong double-poler, so that was a surprise.

Serre Chevalier holds so many memories for me: I first skied here 10 years ago exactly, and have been back for the same races every year since except Olympiec year. A real nostalgia trip.