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Photoshop Travels – 2014 Sochi Olympics

A few months ago, I realized what my purpose was in life. I was to become an Olympian.

It all started around Thanksgiving 2013. I was hunting in Hollis, OK… Getting there was an uphill battle, the first of many winter storms set to hit the Great Plains had just passed, and it left something I hadn’t ever encountered in Hollis before… Snow.

Luckily, growing up in Denver, I actually had a pair of skis laying around the house, and on pure instinct, I decided to take them along. I figured I could spend a day skiing the Quartz Mountains. Maybe take in a cross-wheat field journey or two… I did not expect what I encountered.

Being the serious hunter I am, I was up hours before daybreak, having a little breakfast and strategizing with my cousin about which stand we’d hit first. Taking into account the little accumulation that had stuck in town, we figured we’d stay within a mile or two of the main road that runs along side our land.

Upon reaching our planned destination, we realized we weren’t prepared for what lay ahead of us. Instinctively, I grabbed my skis, and we started packing in. It didn’t take long until the need for our mountain gear was obvious. We were traversing some serious terrain in some wildly deep snow…  Completely strange for the Southwest corner of Oklahoma.

Being the good cousin I am, I let my cousin have the left ski while I kept the right. Him being the forward thinking older cousin, he busted out the duct tape. Off we went to brave the conditions in search of our meat.

It actually wasn’t until day three, my cousin decided to sleep in since conditions were so poor. I honestly thought he was nursing a hip injury due to favoring the left ski for the past few days, but I decided to push forward and go it alone.

I discovered, hunting those conditions were much easier with both skis… and that is when I realized what it is I should be doing. You see, the Winter Olympics feature a unique sport which combines two of my favorite pastimes. Skiing and guns. It was all so clear.

I was to become a 2014 Sochi Biathlon Olympian.

Knowing how hard these athletes and competitors train, I didn’t want to set my goals too high. Silver would be perfectly acceptable for me. I shared my idea with Critter, and being the awesome guy he is, he offered to help me train.

Knowing the cold weather sport would put my body through the ringer, I planned ahead. We started building up my calories, ensuring I wouldn’t burn through my energy reserves when I needed them most in the 60 degree Russian weather. It was a strictly planned out diet of fried chicken and 2-for-1 taquitos. But it wasn’t all health food… I had to switch to light beer… But I wanted that sliver medal more than anything.

Luckily, as the other winter storms hit Lawton, I was able to train harder… Critter often pulled me through the streets behind the Z94 van. We were ready to bring the pain to Sochi… and I did just that on the day of our event.

I was so nervous, standing patiently… waiting on the race to start. Skis nice and tight, heels loose to really put on a performance… My trusty Wilson AR-15 loaded to the hilt, p-mags in the lower back tactical pack… I was ready… and then the flag dropped. We were off.

As I skied my heart out around that insanely huge course, I realized… This race was taking forever! The competition was so stiff, I barely had time to update my status and post selfies to Instagram. These guys were out for blood.

While I didn’t manage to win that silver medal, I was able to win the hearts and minds of those already rooting for me. I truly had, the time of my life.

KelsoBiathlon
Richard Heathcote – Getty Images

 

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