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Summer Biathlon World Championships 2008, France

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  • The first three parts of my six-part photo series, taken at the Summer Biathlon World Championships 2008 at Haute Maurienne (France) is online now. Part 1 is a special feature comprising beautiful landscapes I've found along the way. Parts 2 + 3 cover the sprint competitions on September 26, with special focus on the Russian athletes.

    Haute Maurienne, Part 1 of 6: Landscapes
    Haute Maurienne, Part 2 of 6: Sprint (women)
    Haute Maurienne, Part 3 of 6: Sprint (men)

    The remaining three parts, covering the pursuit and mixed relay competitions, will follow in the course of this week. (It's not easy processing hundreds of photos, while doing a full-time job as well.)
  • Another huge photo series, comprising 309 pictures, has just gone online:

    Haute Maurienne, Part 4 of 6: Pursuit (women)

    I guess this is my favorite part of the six-pack, because it contains lots of close-up portraits of the Russian biathlon women, taken after the competitions. I particularly like this nice portrait of Nadezhda Chastina:

    http://www.svetlana-sleptsova.com/gallery/00006/sbs-0004312b.jpg
  • Okay, I've got them pictures all finished! It's a lucky coincidence that today is a holiday in Germany, so I had plenty of time to process the photos.

    This is the complete compilation, partitioned into six sections:

    Haute Maurienne, Part 1 of 6: Landscapes
    Haute Maurienne, Part 2 of 6: Sprint (women)
    Haute Maurienne, Part 3 of 6: Sprint (men)
    Haute Maurienne, Part 4 of 6: Pursuit (women)
    Haute Maurienne, Part 5 of 6: Pursuit (men)
    Haute Maurienne, Part 6 of 6: Relay (mixed)

    One of my overall favorites is this picture, showing the block of the Russian team along the course, supporting their team mates on the last laps:

    http://www.svetlana-sleptsova.com/gallery/00006/sbs-0004585b.jpg

    On the right of the front row, you can see Ekaterina Yurlova, who I like very much because she's such a friendly person and always smiles at people.

    To sum it up, it was an exciting event to me - and I really appreciate the effort the athletes, coaches, and other staff members have put into the competitions, even though the audience was pretty small, especially during the women's competitions. Well, they started at about 9 o'clock in the morning, and it really was damn cold in the valley of Bessans...... Actually, the days were mostly sunny, however, the sun wouldn't appear behind the big mountains before noon. And as soon as the sun came out, a fierce cold wind would start blowing.

    Another funny thing was that the community of Haute Maurienne obviously didn't expect any spectators. Most appartments were inhabited by the ahtletes and their staff, and those that were not, apperently weren't much interested in renting their appartments to visitors. That's why I was sleeping at Susa, which is the first small town in Italy after crossing the French-Italian border. (By the way - the photos in the "Landscapes" section are taken during my mountain trips between Susa and Haute Maurienne.)

    Same thing with restaurants: The only one that was opened (pizzeria "Le Paradis") was reserved for athletes and staff only. Moreover, the only supermarket was closed most of the time, and when it happend to be open, it was almost like a shop after the war - mostly empty shelves. The next supermarket that had most of the things for everyday life was in Lanslevillard - about 10km from Bessans, reachable by a road creeping in serpentines across the mountains. (Some biathletes were using this road for jogging and skiroll climbing.) And this supermarket was open from 9:00 till 12:30, so one had to hurry to get there after the competitions.

    What a strange experience....... after all, those were World Championships! :shock:

    But anyway, everybody seems to have survived, and those few biathlon fans who were there really had a lot of fun!
  • Did you know that GPS navigation systems can seriously harm your health? Consider this French mountain road, which climbs up the wall in a steep and narrow zigzag:

    http://www.svetlana-sleptsova.com/gallery/00005/sbs-0003739b.jpg

    This is how my navigator displays it:

    http://www.svetlana-sleptsova.com/gallery/00005/sbs-0003728b.jpg

    Quite impressing, isn't it? But note that the navigator advises me in the green upper bar to drive "Geradeaus auf N6", which means "Straight ahead on N6"............ :shock:

    Fortunately, I was wise enough not to do so. ;)
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