We are in Bourg Saint Maurice, in the French Alps, for a week of training and a race.
As I am writing this I can hear the sound of singing coming from the Military Training Camp which is just next door to our apartment. I cannot vouch for their fighting skills but if there was a “sing off” instead of war these guys would definitely win.
The apartment Kate, Christian and I are staying in is about the size of most peoples’ bathrooms and I have to fold my bed up in the morning so that we can fold out the kitchen table. That is ok though as we are spending most of our time either training or in the Boulangerie trying the various French pastries.
Bourg is a great course, it is one of the steepest Slalom venues in the world with very fast water making it really tough to get on line and then to stay on it. I have missed more gates in 3 days here than I have in my whole trip so far.
Physically everything is going well, my shoulder which had been giving me problems seems to have benefited from the rest I gave it.
Being able to paddle freely has also helped my enjoyment of the trip. I have been able to focus on some of the technical areas that I need to improve on if I am to be competitive.
The race is this weekend and should be a good field and a challenging course. The Aussie Under 23 team are also here along with a number of other countries.
I believe that the Saturday qualification will be on the bottom part of the river with the Finals being held on the more challenging top section.
I have finished my travelling for now after arriving in Augsburg last week, we have settled into our apartment that will be our base for the next few months. It is nice to be able to unpack and start to get in to more of a normal routine.
We have travelled 6,000kms in the last month so it is also nice to be out of the car.
My injury problems are starting to clear up, my shoulder has been responding well to the copious amount of exercises that I have been doing for it but I decided not to race in Merano this weekend as I do not want to push it that hard yet. Christian and Kate are going to be racing along with the Under 23 team. The link to the race website is here.
The water levels here in Augsburg have meant that the main channel, the “Eiskanal” had not been running for a while. The whole of Europe is going through a bit of a drought at the moment and so it was a nice change when it started raining two days ago and there was enough water in the river to turn on the Eiskanal. Hopefully this will continue although there is still excellent training here regardless and I am going to be doing a lot of paddling in the next few months (shoulder permitting) and I might even be able to get some of the moves on this course, which I find particularly challenging due to the narrowness of the course and the variability in the water.
The whitewater has just come back on at the Penrith Course after a two week break for winter and today was my first session on the course since I dislocated my shoulder about 10 months ago.
Unsurprisingly I did not feel fantastic! You forget how physical and specific slalom paddling can be.
I knew I was in for a tough session when I found it hard going walking back up to the top (as the conveyor belt wasn’t working). It was nice to be back out there again and hopefully next time it won’t be quite so hard.
The Canoe Slalom Worlds are on this week and I am looking forward to seeing the Aussies do well.
Still no news on who is going to be running Australia after our election although I was happy to see that David Bradbury scraped home to hold onto Penrith. In the Senate the party I voted for was way out of it but under the strange Australian voting system, my vote then went to the Australian Sex Party which I thought was hilarious.
I have been down at the AIS for the last week working on strength training. The facilities here are absolutely amazing.
The other thing that I find unique and refreshing here is the amount of support that is available to you. I can speak to Strength and Conditioning, physiology and recovery specialists in a morning of training.
It is also inspirational to see all the world class athletes training. You pretend not to care but when you see a “big name” you can’t help but stop and stare!
It is times like these when you wish that the Slalom program could be in Canberra and that we could have this all the time but then I suppose it might not be as special to experience it.
I am here for another week before resuming “normal service” up in Penrith. This will mean being able to get back on the Whitewater which is really what all this training is for.
The Slalom Team will be competing at the Slalom Worlds from the 9-12 September and you can follow their progress here. I am sure there will be some great Aussie results.