Tuesday, January 26, 2010

France: Day 6 - Official biathlon training and opening ceremonies

Today was official traiining for the biathlon race tomorrow. Robert and I skied the course in the morning and tried out as many of the rifles as we could. There are 10 Eko rifles in all set up at the range. Rifles 1 and 2 weren't working I guess, but they are supposed to be tomorrow. On official training days, we're supposed to try all the guns to find out if there are any quirks to certain ones that we should know about. On race day, the official fills the lanes starting with 1, so we don't get the choiice, but it's still good to know what kind of gun you're shooting.

It was cold in Bessans this morning, -18, but I thught that, compared to the Ottawa -18, this was a walk in the park. The only thing was that the snow was really slow, so even going easy meant you were working hard. The course seems really nice though, mostly all gentle or short uphills and no crazy downhills. Tomorrow the B-category athletes (blind) start at noon, so by that time, the snow should warm up a bit, and it's been snowing all evening, so that should speed things up as well.

This evening was the Opening Ceremonies. Only two people from the "A" team showed up, but most of our crew was there. It was really neat and fun. First they had a parade, in which only Andrea, me, Robbi and Brian participated from our team we're not really sure why. Mary would have none of this monkey business and so she joined us as we were walking by. Everyone was led in by children from the area dressed in traditional costume. This is us after we walked in.

That was followed by some welcoming speeches. Then, after the World Cup was declared open, they said they were going to light the flame. This was done by having a whole bunch of alpine skiers come down the mountain with torches. It was really cool even though all I could see were some lights moving down the mountain. Here they are standing in the street afterwards. They skied right into the street!

Then, they announced that they had "une autre surpris" for us, and next thing we knew, there were fireworks lighting up the night sky! It was like Canada Day in the winter. What an effort for such a small place! At the end they had some traditional dances of the region performed by some adults and some little kids. Of course, our Mary went out to dance along with them! They ended up sweeping Andrea along as well, and there she is wearing my new media jacket. Haha try and find her!

It was a fun evening, and I was very glad I went even though I've got a bit of a sore throat today and am trying everything to make sure it doesn't develop into a cold. This is Andrea, Mary and me on our way back from the festivities. My camera battery was just about dead, so I think that's why things are a little blurry.

Oh don't worry, I will charge it tonight. I know how much everyone loves my pictures :).

Good night from Bessans.

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