Zina Kocher

3 x Olympian World Cup Medallist

Week2 Recap!

"Do everything with a mind that lets go. Do not expect praise or reward." -Ajahn Chah

I just stumbled upon that quote and it sunk in. In the strange world of sport, we are constantly in search of perfection, satisfaction in our achievements, praise externally, as well as praise within ourselves. It's not easy to just let go of what was, whether it was success or failure. In biathlon, one slight wrong movement anywhere in the body, a slight gust of wind, even a thought can send a bullet astray... just by a few millimetres and it's a miss. And in that moment where something slipped and you missed, your mind remembers, you leave the range into the penalty loop analyzing the heck out of that miss. But it's time to let go, it's already over... time to ski fast. Back to the mantra of moment by moment. 

Another week has flown by to become a thing of the past. A short recount...

After Ostersund World Cup, I was sent to the IBU cup (aka B-level World Cup) in Ridnaun, Italy. As I mentioned in my last blog I had to qualify to continue on the World Cup, which was a top 20. Although close in the Sprint with a 9/10, placing 27th, that day it was not enough. I forgot how much fun Pursuits are, the following day and had a good time in the tight mix moving up a number of positions after prone. But the excitement got the better of me in standing. Thus off to Italy it was, for the IBU cup, in the lovely sunny village of Ridnaun. It was real rough, I ate pizza 4x last week. (Did I mention the cappuccino's & tiramisu?...) 

Races there were a blast on a hilarious track resembling a race car track...so many twists, turns and sketchy downhills. There's no snow in central Europe right now so all the race courses are man made snow, which means fast, hard packed and potentially icy corners. This course seemed like a piece of pie at first but that was a wrong assumption. Serious leg and lung burner. I witnessed some knobbly knees, yard sales and somersaults into the ditches but fortunately, I was not a victim to the snow snakes. With some top ski times, I finished 19th in the Sprint with 8/10, and moved up to 10th in the Pursuit. (Although this is the B cup, it is still attended by a large number of competitors & countries - 103 women & over 140 men competitors this week!) 

Sarah Beaudry made sure to keep the Canadian maple leaf spirit alive with cheek tattoos for us in the mixed relay... 

The village of Ridnaun, at the end of this dolomite valley is known for its 5 star spa hotel, The Schneeburg, strangely situated on the edge of the ski trails and biathlon range. Although this year we did not stay here, I have in the past, and can assure you it is worth a visit to the spa, a labyrinth of varying saunas. But beware if you are shy, this is the sudtirol and nudity is not just recommended, it's enforced! You may even get a good insight to the spa patrons standing before the very clear big glass windows overlooking the ski trails...

On Sunday evening we took in the Christmas market in Vipiteno. With its cobblestone streets, white Christmas lights decorating the old tower, lining the streets and spruce trees, it had a magical feel. As we listened to a local um pa pa band, drank gluhwein, tasted local cheeses, speck and deer salami, and purveyed the stalls for gifts to bring home we ended the week in high spirits! 

Oh and then we ate pizza again before crossing into the border to Austria...impossible to tire of a good Italian pizza! Now in the alpine hamlet of Obertilliach at the 3rd IBU cup, we begin the final week to the trimester...

Though this is not where I had envisioned myself racing, there is no sense in dwelling. Letting go to a new focus, a new opportunity, a new day... 


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