Sunday, August 18, 2013

15 days to go...

Time is disappearing as we quickly approach the start of the World Championships. I have now been based back at the NOC for 2 weeks and paddling almost everyday. The decision to come back again so early has worked really well. Everyday more and more athletes are arriving from across the world which means the line ups are getting bigger and the way in which we can train has had to change. Having spent four weeks now at the NOC at varying water levels I have already been able to get in some quality training and have had the time to work out the feature and really develop my moves. It is going to be difficult for the athletes arriving in future weeks who will be arriving to a very busy hole.

Chilling with Sydney and Cheryl (CAN)

I am now in the position where I am able to work on putting together links and sequences and will soon be putting together my competition routine. This weekend my coach Den Newton (Sweetwater Coaching) will be arriving to help me future out the finer details and really help me tidy everything up. Having Den here is a critical part of my training and preparation and I can't wait until he arrives.

Dialling in the basics in my new 2014 Rock Star

With so many paddlers already out here I have begun to really notice how high the standard is this year, across all disciplines. I have seen my competitors throw a whole array of great moves and impressive rides. Moves that used to be being thrown by only a few ladies are now being thrown by almost all the athletes and even the hardest of moves and combinations are now being worked on by several of the top athletes. This standard rise has not shocked me, as I knew it would be happening, but it has excited me that it has happened so soon and across a world wide depth of paddlers and not just with a handful or few. It is encouraging to see all my competitors and friends paddling so well and I am using this step forward to help motivate me to train harder and smarter. Its going to be important to be able to paddle even better than before in order to stay at the top of the game.

Nina Csonkova (SVK)

Courtney Kerin (NZ)

Katya Kulkova (RUS)

Risa Shimoda (USA)

With training everyday comes injures and aches and pains so I have been really trying to work on getting into a routine of good stretching, strength conditioning exercises, boating and resting to help me stay in one piece and help aid my recovery been sessions. With the help of local massage therapist and chiropractor I have been able to give my body the best chance of staying fit and healthy and being able to cope with the paddling and intensity as I train.

Loving life on the water

Last week I took advantage of an active rest, alternative activity, day to head over to the Hiwassee river and check out the Leslie squirt boating spot and train for next weekends Mystery World Championships. Road tripping with Motoko and Alabama we spent the day in the beautiful Hiwassee valley with several local squirt boaters. The Leslie is an incredible squirt spot. A 30 minute hike down a small track brings you to this subtle squeeze amid a number of large eddies. Guarded by a large overhanging rock on the river right bank the seem requires a precise chop to drop the boat down the first few feet into the power realm but then allows a number of different rides and lines. All of which are super smooth.

Road Tripping with Motoko and Alabama

The Leslie

Within no time I had figured out the chop, forgot about the gnarly rock and begun to enjoy the tranquil underwater rides. Once again a lack of breath hold ability meant that I had to hit the up button for air most rides. But with some guidance and coaching and real focus and thought I soon began to push the 15 second ride barrier and eventually for only the second time, yet, I broke the 20 second marker with a new personal best, longest ride yet, a 24 second ride.

24 second ride from 36 seconds onwards

Mystery Champion Trophies

Reaching this level in my mystery squirt boat is a mile stone in my boating career. It is my goal to be able to challenge the mammoth ride times accomplished by the top guys. In order to do this I need to improve my lung capacity but more importantly be at one with water and learn how to stay clam whilst deep below the river. This was one of the first times I managed to go towards achieving this. I look forward to working on this and hopefully achieving many more 20 second + rides.

Next weekends adventure

After the days distraction at the Leslie it was straight back to the NOC to train in freestyle once again. Using a video camera to record and then analysis sessions I am definitely making big progress with my moves and am trying to work towards putting together some high scoring routines. Heres a video EJ shot last week of me in training and a Meet the Athlete write up by the event organisers.

Link to Article :

Off the water I have had some fun non boating adventures including a trip to Waynesville and Asheville, a visit as well as speech at the Bryson City Rotary Club lunch, a great night in Stecoah watching the Jim Little Trio, a big dinner party up at the house, plus two visits by 'Dynamite', the Tribbles neighbourhood bear. One was a relatively peaceful day time visit and the next was a night time bird feeder smashing trip. It was pretty amazing to have the chance to see and experience this beautiful yet powerful animal. We will be happy for him not to come quite so close again though.

Mountain Life

Dynamite aka Tucker

Dynamite jumps of my bedroom balcony
and heads back into the Mountains

Homemade Ice Cream

Left over scene after Dynamites second visit

Guess who came to visit

Back to training

Thanks to Jez and Green River Photography for the incrediable photos