Posted at: 01/14/2014 5:54 PM
Updated at: 01/15/2014 11:18 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
Skiing a hilly cross country course is its own challenge. Add on a shooting sport element, and you get a biathlon race. Kelsey Dickinson says its a totally different mental component.
"Biathlon is a lot more about strategy," Dickinson said. "It's all about how hard you can push it without pushing it too hard, because when you go too hard you're going to miss targets. So it's that fine line between accuracy and your ski speed."
A Washington native, Dickinson came to Duluth to ski with the St. Scholastica team. She kept her shooting skills sharp, and over the holidays qualified for two international competitions.
"It's definitely been something I've been working toward since I was younger," Dickinson said.
She leaves next week for the Open European Championships with Junior Worlds a few weeks later. Dickinson is going to school part time this semester to focus on her training.
"We'll do different intensity workouts, different amounts of what we call base training, which is long skis to build aerobic fitness," Dickinson said. "Then you sneak in times where you're racing to up intensity and sharpen things up for the races."
A newcomer to this level of racing, Dickinson isn't setting specific goals, but says she's excited for the experience.
"People have been telling me it's a whole different ball game over there. Different competition, different stress levels," she said. "My ski speed is pretty competitive. As long as I can keep my shooting together like I did at trials, things should go well in those races."
Biathlon may be an individual sport, but Dickinson insists community support is part of what got her this far.
"I've come a long way to get here and ski with the college team. It's nice to have such a great community here in Duluth," she said.