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!

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.

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.

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.

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)

Salisbury Cathederal
Salisbury Cathederal

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!