Cook picking up steam on World Cup tour

In her second season on the World Cup circuit, Saranac Lake biathlete Annelies Cook has been heating up of late.

Last Thursday, Cook recorded her second career-best World Cup result in as many weeks with an 18th-place finish in the 7.5-kilometer sprint event in Antholz-Anterselva, Italy.

Cook’s performance came on the heels of a 26th-place finish in the 7.5k sprint in Ruhpolding, Germany, the previous week.

Earlier this week, the Enterprise caught up with Cook via email to ask her about her season.

ADE: You seem to be improving on a week to week basis. Why do you think that is?

AC: These past few weeks have been super fun and exciting for me and I feel strong skiing. Mostly, I think I am in good shape this year, not that I haven’t been in past years, but it’s like my body has gone up another level finally. I had a good training year, and maybe some of the training from past years is starting to catch up a bit. I think that now I have had some races under my belt, I am just getting more and more into race shape with each competition.

When you get some momentum from a really good performance it starts to build up. My confidence in what I can do and handle is getting higher and higher, so that is probably why I have had some nice improvements and they all seem to be happening right now.

But it has been slowly building from the beginning of the season, where I could already see an improvement in my fitness from last year. Also, I finally had some better shooting races, so when that happens you can see better where you end up with good skiing.

ADE: Are you doing anything different?

AC: I wouldn’t say that I am doing anything drastically different, it’s just that my general level is higher. I think keeping things simple has worked really well.

I am trying to keep it all in perspective and remember that biathlon is one of the most changeable sports and that even the best in the world can have a bad day and end up in the 60s and 70s.

So I will enjoy how things are going right now and hope the momentum will last. It is nice to feel like I can trust my skiing shape and realize that even if I have a bad day it doesn’t mean too much.

My focus is just to keep trying to have good performances, where I try to ski as hard as I can and be smart in tactical situations and continue to work on making shooting more predictable and consistent.

ADE: Tell us more about waving to your parents at the starting line? How long have you been doing that? (Editor’s note: Cook mentioned waving to her parents in a quote in a press release about her race last week.)

AC: I don’t usually wave to my parents at the start line, because I don’t usually get TV time. When you are bib 5 though, there isn’t anything else to put on TV yet, so they show all the early starters.

Sometimes I laugh because my parents still get up early to watch every race, or they are at work and have computers going with live data and the live footage so everything stops or comes to a standstill when things are going well. It’s pretty cool to know that they still love to watch so much and I always feel a little better about it when they actually get to see me.

ADE: What is up next for you?

AC: We are done with the second trimester of racing and now have a couple of weeks to recover and train some more before World Championships in Nova Maesto, Czech. Our team is staying in Italy for a camp that starts next week.

Until then, I am flying to the Netherlands to visit my family, which will be a great change of scenery and pace.