No snow, no problem

Jason Malloy
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Three young P.E.I. athletes are training early in the mornings year-round in their effort to make the province's Canada Games biathlon team

It's 7 a.m. on a mid-summer day and a trio of young athletes is working to perfect their craft.

Elmwood twin brothers Lucas and Andre Boudreau and Caitlin Campbell, of Central Bedeque, are all hoping to make Prince Edward Island's biathlon team for the Canada Games in February in Prince George, B.C. They are working year-round to be ready for competition, including some early morning starts to improve their shooting at the Brookvale range.

"That's what you have to do," Andre said Tuesday, noting commitment is key to success in the winter sport.

"We don't have the time a lot of times in the afternoons because we're all working," Campbell added.

Lucas said all three of the 17-year-old athletes have jobs in order to help pay to compete in the sport they love.

The trio, along with coach Judy Hale and a support team, is in Jericho, Vt., for this weekend's North American Biathlon Roller Ski Championship.

"It will be the first actual roller ski competition any of us will go to," Andre said.

The event is the same as a biathlon except there's no snow, so the skis are replaced with roller skis.

Campbell said they have practiced quite a bit with the roller skis in preparation for the event. The athletes have been able to use the cart paths at a New Glasgow golf course at 6 a.m. before golfers arrive to work on technique before the championship.

"It mimics really well the trails and terrain that we're going to see," Lucas said. "On the road you don't get . . . all the quick turns."

The roller skiing is only one component of the athletes' off-season training.

"We shoot three times a week, we have strength training twice a week and we do a lot of training on our own," Campbell said.

The work in the range isn't just shooting targets. The athletes run to get their heart rates up, as they would be in competition. They come into the range prepare their rifles and steady themselves in order to hit the targets.

The work is paying off as all three have improved over their personal bests from last year.

The athletes will train Friday with the official races on Saturday and Sunday.

Organizations: Canada Games

Geographic location: Central Bedeque, Prince Edward Island, Prince George Jericho, Vt. New Glasgow

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