Amazing how fast time flies when you are having fun!
I have to admit that I have been super slack on the blog posting front, and can only put it down to too much water time, and a lot less laptop time 🙂
Since my last post, I got to experience possibly the best Euro-Trip I have ever been on! It started with the World Sprint Championships in Milan, Italy. I was there as Team Leader for Team USA as well as coach for Maggie Hogan. I’m proud to say that Maggie raced a phenomenal K1 1000m to get the bronze medal, and in doing so, became the first podium finish by a US citizen at a Sprint World Championships in 2 decades.
It was my first World Sprint Champs as a non-athlete, and with all the meetings, running around and late nights working, I can honestly say that it is a way better experience as an athlete 🙂
From Milan we flew to Porto for the 2015 Nelo Summer Challenge. As usual, Andre, Marisa and the crew at Nelo put on an event not to miss! Add this one to your calendar folks! (July 8-10th, 2016). Great location (hotel on beach where race finishes), fantastic Portuguese food, and of course, great Nelo service with regards to the boats and setup. I got to play around in the new 560, and I can’t wait for mine to arrive! *(Update, mine has arrived…awesome…blog post to follow)
After the event, Maggie and I hopped in with the guys from Santander, and drove North to one of the best kept secrets in Spain! Johnny, Pablo and all the guys at the Santander club made us feel so welcome that we ended up staying a few days extra! What a beautiful place, with loads of great paddling, surfing and mountain biking!
After renting a tiny little car, we zooted up the coast towards the beautiful San Sebastien, and ended up in Biaritz. Unfortunatly no surf, but a lot of great sightseeing. After a whirlwind tour, we headed to Bourdeux, home to a 400 year old bakery, and of course, wine country! No place for a surfski on the rental, so the lack of training was made up by tasting the local wines and cheese 🙂
From there it was on to a part of Spain I had not seen before, the whole Costa Bravo coastline. It was really beautiful and sunny, and too short a visit, I’ll have to go back! From Barcelona airport, we headed to Budapest and onto Gyor for the 2015 Canoe Marathon World Championships.
Before the event could start, a day trip to Vienna bumped up our tour to 5 countries in 2 weeks. It was not without drama (aka a parking fine and challenges to our navigating skills to try and find the traffic police station!)
Gyor was the venue for my first ever marathon Worlds, way back in 2007 when I won a bronze medal with Nikki Mocke. We had just qualified for the Beijing Olympics and this was the last thing we felt like doing! It ended up being a really great experience (the medal helped!) The course actually flooded away that year, leaving us with no portages and a very sore butt after 25km’s!
2015 was the polar opposite, with probably the lowest water for our event, forcing the bunches to ride almost single file, scraping along the rocks at the river bank.
Despite the whirlwind travel schedule, and lack of proper training build-up, Maggie and I raced to a 4th place (my 4th fourth place at Marathon Worlds now…), the best placing by a USA marathon team.
After the event, it was Budapest by storm. I really love that city!
After a few weeks back in the US, it was time to head across the Pacific to Tahiti, for the 2nd ever ICF SurfSki World Champs. With the lack of available ski’s, the women’s race ended up being held on the Friday, and the men’s on the Saturday.
Having a separate start was great, you could identify/recognize who was in your race, and if you were in the lead, you actually were in the lead 🙂
I had a solid race, and am happy with how I paddled knowing how much I afforded to put into my preparation this season. I knew to hold off a strong flat-water paddler like Teneale Hatton, I would need at least a minute lead after the downwind leg and coming into the final 3km stretch of side wind. I did what I could, but I don’t think I had put enough of a lead in. Getting chased down is never a fun feeling, but it’s a consolation to know that I got caught by the 1000m world record holder!
After a week of living the island life, we caught a plane to Bora Bora, and then a boat to Taha’a, to take part in the 46km crossing that is the Maraamu SurfSki Race. Nothing quite beats an ice cold coconut water after a grueling paddle, and the private island lunch/swimming/chilling-with-your-new-mates experience afterwards was one of my favourite parts of the summer tour! Mosole puts on a truly special event, one I will push hard to get back to! Stoked to be able to reverse the finish order of Worlds the week before, and get a race win at this place of dreams! (my 2nd in this event). Well done to everyone who finished this toughie (but goodie).
Tahiti is such a special place, and it comes through in the awesomeness of the locals! Thanks to Johann for hosting us and looking after us so well! You are such a talented guy and it was great getting to know you.
That pretty much sums up the racing part of 2015.
Thanks to everyone that still supports me in achieving my dreams! I am stoked to be able to travel the globe, spreading the good vibes of open ocean paddling!
See you on the water,