February 2011
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Day One of the Empire State Games in the book!

For the first day of racing at the ESGs the competitors had their hands full with both shooting and skiing. Mother Nature decided to see how miserable she could make it for all involved. With about 8 inches on new snow on the ground and some pretty windy conditions the race was delayed from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The common conversation heard amount those present, racers, volunteers and spectators alike, related to the road conditions and road blocks near Lake Placid. When it was time for the zero to begin the snow was blowing hard enough to make it difficult for the shooters to tell where they were hitting their targets. Shortly before the race started it let up enough to zero our local team, Damon Kull and Maddie Phaneuf. After the first lap of the race everyone knew that it was going to be a rough day. As was heard from one athlete, “it was knee deep on all the hills!” Damon and Maddie skiied into the range almost together despite the minute and a half difference in start time. After the first round of shooting they both left the range with two misses, one of the best first rounds they have both had all season. On the second lap the wind picked up and everyone was finding it difficult to shoot. Damon was first in to the range and left with three misses, 50% on the day. Maddie was in shortly after Damon’s arrival and had a rough round missing all five targets. At that point it was a matter of skiing to see where she would finish. By the end of the race close to a foot of new snow had fallen and people were struggling into the finish. When all was said and done both Damon and Maddie had claimed a Silver Medal in their respective classes. All in all a good day for the Polar Bear Biathlon Team.
Day two will be an Individual Relay. This race will be 6 km. for all racers with two shooting stations. Unlike the first day, on each lap the shooters will have three bonus rounds that they can use if necesary to knock down their targets, 8 shots to hit five targets. The course should be soft again tomorrow which means that it will ski like a 10 km race. We will have another report after day two of racing!

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