Cold Training Day in Kontiolahti Video
|08.02.2012, Kontiolahti / IBU Info JK|
|Physio Tape, Masks and Plenty of Clothes|
|Slovenian Coach Uros Velepec said that skiing on Tuesday was nice, “not too cold.” Yet today after skiing around the 2.5K loop for the Biathlonworld course tour video, he commented, “I do not know how the athletes trained today; every part of me is frozen!”
Sun Warms Things Up
That was the typical reaction during both the morning men’s and the afternoon women’s unofficial training sessions. Temperatures dipped to as low as minus 26 overnight but popped up to a balmy minus 18, with a moderate breeze by midday as sun bathed the shooting range and stadium area. Despite the sun, it was not warm. Everyone from athletes to coaches to waxmen to volunteers and the media was dressed for the extreme cold.
It was a day when it was at times hard to see who was hidden behind the physio tape, masks, breath warmers and scarves of every kind and color.
The athletes who were training and servicemen testing skis were the “lucky” ones today. They were moving around and although perspiring heavily, generating some heat. But they had to go into the woods and down towards the lake where several athletes reported that their watches recorded minus 24 Celsius in the shaded forest by the lakeshore. Stopped near the coldest spot on the tracks, Italy’s Lukas Hofer said, “It is really cold. I hope it warms up for the races. On days like this, you need many layers of long sleeves to stay warm.” By the time, most of the athletes had done a few loops and some shooting; the perspiration was turning into icicles on breath warmers and heavy frost on beards.
Coaches altered their training plans today; get in some training and get out of the cold. As Velepec explained, “Our plan called for more than we are doing. You have to adjust in these temperatures.” Velepec is especially careful with Jakov Fak who suffered serious frostbite and came close to losing his trigger finger last season in the mass start at Fort Kent. “Jakov came out warmed up, shot four times zero and went in.”
If the athletes were lucky to be moving around, the coaches as always drew the “bad hand.” It is always hard on the coaches who stand in virtually the same spot on the shooting range for several hours at a time. Staying warm is a priority, which is why several layers of clothes, Gore-tex boots and scarves were the order of the day for them. Even with the warm clothes, it looked as if several were practicing for an aerobics class as they jumped up and down, stomped their feet repeatedly and paced back and forth, not out of nervousness, but to generate a little heat.
As the women’s training wound down, and the sun started slipping below the horizon, the temperature in the stadium was minus 15. Unfortunately, with the high pressure system in place, the thermometer will slide as the sun sets. With more cold days ahead, the biathlon fashion statement will surely be faces covered more bright pink physio tape.