The Twin Biathletes' RV Diaries - Racing in Oberhof, Germany!
RV Tour- Racing in Oberhof Germany! January 28, 2011
Tracy & Lanny Barnes are 2006 & 2010 United States Olympians in the sport of Biathlon, and they have been chronicling their training and traveling adventures in Germany.
From Tracy & Lanny Barnes, USA Biathletes
Monday the 24th of January marked a part of our racing season that will be our most adventurous. For the next three weeks we will be training and racing and traveling around Germany in an RV. There will be three of us women from the U.S. who will be staying in this RV while racing some of the best Germans at their most coveted winter sport - biathlon. Now traveling in an RV for winter sport has been done before. Bode Miller boasts an impressive 28 foot traveling mansion around the World Cup circuit during the winter. Our RV won’t be so extravagant. Our RV is 18 feet long with 3 women, 3 large ski bags, 3 large rifle cases, and 3 large duffels full of ski clothes. It has taken us several days to unpack and organize everything so that we can move around freely and be comfortable. There is a bed above the cab and a bunk in the back of the RV. It comes complete with a shower, a toilet and a stove. We don’t typically travel Europe in such style, but when you are trying to cut costs, combining your rental car and your hotel room is the easiest way to do that.
The first week of our trip will take us to the Thuringer Forest of Germany. These forests are known for their beautiful dark snow covered forests. The town and biathlon venue of Oberhof is known to house close to 30,000 spectators during a biathlon world cup. While racing here you can’t hear yourself breathe, or think for that matter because the atmosphere is so loud and so amped. The fans here are unlike anywhere else. If we have a race in the evening, the fans are here by 8:00 that morning already full of beer to keep them warm for the day. The stadium here is huge and is outdoors. These fans tough it out in below zero temperatures and strong winds on concrete seating to cheer on their favorite countries. This is the one venue that every biathlete wants to race at and every biathlon fan should come see.
The night of the 24th we rolled up into Oberhof in our 6.4 meter chantey and parked outside of the venue. We were all really exhausted from the jet lag and went right to bed. Several hours later we were all shivering under our blankets thinking that this was going to be a long trip if the heat in this thing wasn’t working very well. Lanny was the first brave soul to get up and look to see what the problem was with the propane heating system. We all then warily got out of bed and read over the manual to see what the problem was. After trying a lot of this and a little bit of that we figured out that “duh” the pilot light had gone out in the boiler and therefore no heat and a really cold living area. So, with the boiler running we were back to bed and were much warmer and happier.
We’ve now had two days of really good training and our races start this weekend. We are really looking forward to the adventures that await us while winter traveling in a shack on wheels. We’ll update you as to how the races go and any crazy incidents that will unfold as I’m sure there will be many.
Photo courtesy Tracy & Lanny Barnes
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