In Alaska Moose have the right of way….
By: Lanny Barnes
Tracy & I boarded our second flight in Denver, Colorado that would take us to Anchorage, Alaska and yet another adventure in the world of the Twin Biathletes. After our first flight and a flight attendant that threatened every passenger that stepped foot on the plane to be thrown out face first onto the tarmac if they didn’t follow her instructions, we were hoping the next 5 hour flight & flight attendants would be a little less hostile. The male flight attendant on our second flight who resembled John Travolta with a perfectly shaped and colored black & grey goatee that complemented his jet black on bottom, grey on top “not a single hair out of place” dew, was a breath of fresh air for the stale (5 hours worth of recycled air) cabin. He was one of those people whose big goofy grin immediately made you smile or laugh. As soon as we boarded that plane and for the next 5 hours we were presented with jokes, laughs, illegal gambling, and tough history questions. Don’t worry, the illegal gambling was nothing more than collecting a dollar from willing passengers who wrote their seat number a dollar bill and threw it into a pot to be drawn by the flight attendant who insisted he won before drawing another bill and announcing a winner who ended up being a very happy 14 year old who walked away from the flight with $65 extra dollars in vacation spending money. After what seemed like the quickest 5 hour flight we’ve ever taken, the flight attendant left us with a little song… “I love you, you love me…. If you marry one of us you’ll get to fly Alaska for free”….
After settling into our home for the next two weeks which happened to be a short 15 minute bike to the biathlon venue located in Kincade park, we hit the sack. We had 3 simple goals for Alaska- bring our fitness to a new level, help grow biathlon & shooting sports in Alaska, and not get trampled or eaten by a moose or bear. Not quite as simple as it sounds, but ultimately we had to prepare ourselves for two weeks of extreme mind and body bruising intensity training as well as shooting clinics for ages 10-60 & two weeks of alert senses that would hopefully keep us from getting chased or worse by the many moose and bear that roam Alaska’s wild frontier.
The next morning we were up bright and early because Alaska summer are definitely bright and early with only 2-3 hours of dusk per night and daylight for the other 21-22 hours a day. We hit the biathlon roller ski trails and completed our first hard intensity session with our bodies feeling great with the extra O2 present at low altitude. Every morning and afternoon we would be pushing and testing ourselves to get in top physical shape to try and become the best biathlete in the world. Every evening we would put on a clinic for biathletes age 10-60 and all different levels of shooting from having never touched a rifle to having competed in World Jrs. to having extensive military shooting experience. Then every night around 9:30-10:00pm we would hop on our bikes and run the “moose & bear gauntlet”, as the locals called it, back to where we were staying. So far we are just under a week into our journey here in Alaska and have pushed ourselves physically & mentally to a new level, have worked with a bunch a great Alaskans on improving their shooting and physical shape, and we haven’t seen any bears, but are definitely letting the moose have the right of way on the trails…..
We have another week and a half of training with two biathlon races squeezed in with the highlight coming at the end… A Babes with Bullets Shooting Camp. We’ll update you again on our next weeks worth of adventures in a week… Have a great summer!!!!