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Blog Canoeing Racing

Liptovsky

We are now in Bratislava after a week in Liptovsky Mikulas, Eastern Slovakia.

We were in Liptovsky for a three day race that doubled as an International Ranking Race and also selection for Slovak, Russian and Polish selection. Understandably, this led to some pretty high quality racing.

Results can be found here

Liptovsky 2011

I was really pleased with parts of my racing but wasn’t able to put it all into a full run. A sure sign that my technique is changing was the number of penalties I got. I think I missed 4 gates and hit 10 in 5 runs and that included one clean run. I have been working hard to become more aggressive with my paddling and these sort of weekends are going to be inevitable but I used to pride my self on my lack of penalties and so the shift in mindset is going to take time.

Bratislava is three hours from Liptovsky and is a city of 500,000 although it seems bigger than that for some reason.

We are in there somewhere!

We are staying in an apartment not far from the Tesco shopping centre in a group of flats that I have to admit always regarded as the “ghetto” when I had been to Bratislava previously, especially as our car was stolen from the Tesco carpark in 2004. It is not the ghetto of course and it teaches me another valuable lesson that the facade is no indication of the person inside. Having said that, we were advised not to leave anything inside the car at night or to leave it too close to the path in case it is vandalised.

On the way to the Police station in 2004 (In the back of the police car)

My shoulder has flared up again. It seems to get worse on the courses with the bigger whitewater, it must be the extra strain. I am going to take some time off the water and wait for it to get better now. It seems like the only way after trying to push through and manage the pain for a few weeks.

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Blog Canoeing Racing

Pau

We have arrived in Pau in the South of France after our first week in Europe was spent in the Catalan town of La Seu D’Urgell (Seu).

We raced Saturday and Sunday in a two part series called the Pyrenees Cup. The course in Seu is quite narrow and very hard going if you are not on the right line and after some really good starts to my runs I felt like I was taking the circuitous route to the finish line. It was physically tough race and a couple of penalties in the Semi-Final put me in 30th place.

This weekend’s race in Pau is the second instalment of the Pyrenees Cup and also acts as the selection for the French Team. Pau is a very different course to Seu. It is a wide and fast river and I am enjoying feeling the speed on the boat.

 

The Pau course

 

Lots of spectators at the 2009 World Cup

I have been having a few niggling problems with my shoulder but hopefully they will improve before the race.

This injury plus some tough paddling lessons has made the trip so far a lot harder than I had imagined. Hopefully with some rest my shoulder will start to improve and from there I just need a few lucky breaks and then anything is possible.

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Blog Canoeing

A new beginning

As Robert C. Gallagher once said, Change is inevitable – except from a vending machine.

I am leaving Penrith in a few days to head to Europe for 7 or so months of paddling, travelling and most of all fun… well definitely the first two and hopefully the third.

I have had an exciting and active year since recovering from shoulder surgery. I have:

  • lost 20kgs
  • become the Vice-President of our Canoe club
  • covered 3000kms in my training
  • lifted over 200 tonnes of weights
  • worked full time
  • become Oceania Champion

Those are the positive things. Life however, as most discover, is not defined by the successful and easy things but by the challenges.

I have rediscovered the hard lesson, that in sport, except for the very few, you do not finish as a ‘winner’.

Over the years the cliché “it does not matter where you finish as long as you do your best” has been the idea that I have been moving towards but this has been a long journey for someone who was so keen on sport probably because of a deep desire to be the best. The challenge for me is in trying reconciling these two feelings that can, in a bitterly ironic way, make things incredibly hard.

When you win, you can end up thinking about all the technical errors you have made and when you come lower in the standings but paddle well, you have that desire that you had won “at all costs”.

As I launch into my travels, I understand that the challenges before me are substantial and many of those are very close to home!

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Blog Canoeing Training

It’s paddling Jim, but not as we know it

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.

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Blog Canoeing Training

Training at the AIS

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.

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Blog General

My vote counts!

Tomorrow is the general election here in Australia and by coinscdence all our family are in marginal seats that will be decisive in who gets to govern.

The Penrith press has been really getting into the swing of things and had this great image in the paper today

I am lucky enough to be heading down to the AIS for a 2 week training camp to focus on regaining my strength. This is going to be a great experience and also I will be able to see my new niece Ivy a lot more (as well as my family). Winner all round.

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Blog Travel

Back in the UK

I am over in the UK for a couple of weeks in order to attend Ben and Heather’s wedding and also to have a bit of a holiday.

So far I have spent a day in Bristol and am currently just North of Salisbury. The wedding is this Saturday and a lot of people are making the trip across which is fantastic.

Today we are heading into Bath for a bit of R & R before the final preparations for the wedding (although I have not been particularly helpful)

Bristol
Bristol
Salisbury Cathederal
Salisbury Cathederal
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Blog Canoeing

Looking Forward

It has been a while since my last website update but I have now started updating my website to better include social media and so I had better start writing a bit more to be inkeeping with this theme!

Since having surgery on my shoulder last year I have had a large focus on things outside of paddling but now that I am starting to get more mobility and strength back into my shoulder I am starting to enjoy my training a lot more.

I am heading over to th UK for the 2nd time this year in July to attend Ben and Heather’s wedding which I am really looking forward to although it is a bit strange not to be going to any racing. I worked out the other day that this is the first time in 10 years that I have not been on one representative team or another so it is a real change!