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Weather creates trouble in Maine

February 7, 2011
By JULIA BAYLY, Special to the Enterprise

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - Weather was the big factor in the final day of racing for Team USA at the International Biathlon Union World Cup in northern Maine.

More than six inches of new snow and wind made for challenging skiing and shooting during the men's and women's pursuit race Sunday, with Lake Placid's Lowell Bailey posting a 16th-place finish in 38:26.6 and teammate Haley Johnson of Lake Placid coming in 38th with a time of 39:57.0 over 10 kilometers.

"The conditions were quite challenging today so you just have to throw everything out the window when it comes to technique and just try to glide somehow," Bailey said following Sunday's 12.5 km race. "I made a big mistake thinking too much about the wind instead of focusing on hitting targets (and) I know myself well enough to know that I get into trouble if I spend too much time on the shooting range and that's exactly what I did."

Bailey shot clean in his first round shooting prone and missed one target on the second round. In his first round of standing he missed three targets but came back to shoot clean on his final round.

"Sometimes you just have to go for it and that's what I did in the last shooting stage," he said. "So I was quite happy that it worked out perfectly there."

Alexis Boeuf of France won the pursuit, finishing in 36:02.4 with two penalties.

In the women's pursuit, Johnson was perfect from the prone position shooting clean in two rounds but slipped over the next two rounds, missing two targets in round three and three in the final stage of shooting.

While the wind was a factor, Johnson said it could have been worse.

"We were actually pretty lucky that we just had that kind of wind today," she said. "Presque Isle is a windy range."

Johnson said the new snow definitely made for a tough course, but added it should make for good conditions in the upcoming World Cup in Fort Kent, Maine, this week.

"I'm looking forward to racing in Fort Kent now," she said. "It will be better there."

On Saturday, Johnson was a member of Team USA's mixed relay team which came in seventh place.

World Cup competition begins Thursday in Fort Kent and runs through Sunday.



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