Durban Race Report

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Apologies for this belated report. Things got a bit hectic, with Coaching Clinics in East London first thing Monday after the race, and then a few more in Port Elizabeth! The vibe in East London is amazing. The guys and gals there just want to learn about paddling, and how they can improve! So positive!

OK, the race. Basically I had a great battle with Nikki Mocke most of the way. I picked quite a shallow line, and I was gunning it, enjoying the ever-increasing runs that where being generated by the improving wind conditions. Nikki started to follow my line, and I managed to open a nice gap on her. Then she went deep. I think that was  great move on her part as I seemed to hit a lot of current head on! I managed to keep in the game for a while longer, but in the last few km’s, she got ahead, and I just couldn’t seem to get going. I was catching some fantastic runs, but think that the current was maybe just too strong. What a great race though, nice and tactical.

At this point in the year, with the amount of training I have done, I am pretty stoked with my fitness levels. There is still a whole year of racing ahead, and I am going to build into it this time around!

Gameplan Media

Next up is EP marathon Champs this coming weekend, and then SA Marathon Champs in Plett on the 12/13 June. July is looking quiet, a nice time to put some solid training in, as August is looking pretty exciting, maybe a US trip, and then Portugal for 2 races!

I have my new Nelo ski and Vanquish 3 K1. WOW! What amazing boats. Have been putting some time into the ski, and am loving the comfort of it. I can get a full rotation in, so my back is loving me! Even the Chiro agrees 🙂 I will post some photo’s soon!

Also loving my New balance kit and shoes. New sponsors rock!

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Durban World Cup Press Release (see www.gameplanmedia.co.za)

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Michèle vs Michelle duel headlines women’s Dunlop Surfski World Cup

Durban – The tussle for the women’s title in the Dunlop Surfski World Cup Durban next weekend will see two classy South African paddlers who share tantalizingly similar first names square up for what promises to be an epic tussle.

Amanzimtoti based Michelle Eder was in rampant form during the summer Varsity College Marine Surfski Series, and has started the winter Discovery Sunglass Hut series in equally dominant fashion. Slight in stature, the 24 year old has developed a reputation as a tenacious competitor who is very capable in demanding surf conditions.

Plettenberg Bay product Michèle Eray is six years Eder’s senior, and since her successful sprinting career took her to Olympic final glory in Beijing, she has travelled the world, setting the benchmark for female surfski excellence as she won virtually every single ski race she entered.

Twenty-something Eray won the Dunlop Surfski World Cup last year, reaching the finish at Westbrook beach outside Tongaat a full six minutes ahead of second placed Eder.

However Eray’s challenge at the EuroChallenge in Spain last weekend was stymied by a persistent flu virus that dogged her during the race, which was won by compatriot Nikki Mocke. At times her heart rates was topping 170, forcing the gutsy Plett star to paddler well within herself.

Whether Eray will have shaken off the flu and it’s after effects in time to peak for the Durban decider will add an air of intrigue to the women’s race, particularly as the typical Autumn conditions at this time of year are more likely to offer flat seas rather than significant downwind swells enjoyed over the last two years.

“To be able to win in a downwind as well as flat is a good measure of an all-round paddler,” said Eray. “Durban usually offers good downwind as we have had for the last few years, but we will have to see what the earlier race date offers us on the day.”

“I was recently in Durban, and managed to do the race course with local legend Mark Lewin, so that was a great help,” said Eray. “After getting back from Spain I will  have two final weeks of race preparation.”

“For South African paddlers it is a great opportunity to race with the world’s best surf ski paddlers,” Eray added. “Not many sports allow that. For example, in sprint and marathon canoeing, only two people per country are allowed to race. In surfski racing the everyday paddler can line up with the top paddlers in the world.”

Eder knows the KwaZulu-Natal coastal conditions very well, and is leaning her training towards a tougher grind than the race has enjoyed in the past two years.

DUC to Winklespruit is actually 36km which is a massive distance and without some decent training it could end up being a long haul,” said Eder. “I am trying to do a bit of distance after recently finishing the Lifesaving season with more sprint related training.”

“I mostly end up doing one longer paddle a week and shorter sessions of about 45min on the dam in the evenings,” she added.

The Dunlop Surfski World Cup Durban takes place on Sunday 16 May over a distance on 32 kilometres. The final race course will be decided by the prevailing weather. More information can be found at www.surfski.co.za

Eurochallenge…

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New Nelo Ski

I love Spain! The siesta in the afternoon, the relaxed attitude of the people, the long daylight hours in summer.

I was lucky enough to stay in an apartment right on the beachfront, and very close to the Club Nautico, which was race HQ. My folks joined me on this trip, and it was great to have them with me.

Unfortunately I caught a head cold just before leaving SA, which progressed to flu while I was in Spain. Anti-biotics were in order, but the timing was off, and the race came on probably my worst day. After a frantic start, with lots of chaos around the turning can, the pace settled down to a manageable level. I sat back, and let Nikki pull, waiting for my high heart rate to come down. Eevn though our pace was pretty slow, it never dipped below 176bpm, which is a normal herart rate for me, if I were paddling hard, but at cruising speed, that is a bit scary. After about 10-12km, I tried pulling on my own, and it shot up to 186bpm, which is getting close to my max, and I wasn’t even going hard. Tough decision, as I had flown all the way from SA, but I decided to pull back and just ride out the rest of the race. Is this maturity? I hope so as I just celebrated my 31st birthday yesterday:) Well done to Nikki for the win.

The photo above is of my new ski, made by the incredible guys at Nelo in Portugal. Wow, this boat is fast. Pity I didn’t do it justice.

Check out http://www.nelo.pt for more info on this boat and all their other products (namely the best K1 in the world, the Vanquish 3). So stoked to be using their products now, and my new ski and K1 have just left Portugal and will be arriving in Durban tomorrow. Hoping to shake off this bug so that I can get back into training.

Well done to Dawid for winning the guy’s race, and to Shaun Rice for his 2nd place, this guy is so talented!

Next up is the Durban World up, however it is much earlier this year, so I really hope that the wind still blows for us!

My Folks

Durban World Cup

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Been a while since my last post. Crazy times at the moment. Moved entire contents of my house, wow I can collect a lot of stuff! Then I was off to Durban for the SA Sprint Champs. Wierd to be there as a coach and not an athlete! I am racing the Eurochallenge in Spain on 2 May, and have a really good friend’s wedding next weekend, so the only time I had to put in some distance was last week, in Durban. Staying with Barry, Ant and Andy at the legendary Peace Cottage helped matters, as the beach was right at my doorstep, and La Mercy, my training ground from last year’s Durban stint, only 5 minutes away.

Got a really solid week of training in, even managed to do the Durban World Cup Race Course (well that’s if the wind blows NE on Race Day). My puppy Splash made the trip too, albeit stressful having a 12 week old in the car for 11.5 hours! Thanks to the guys for putting up with us for the week.

I raced SA’s with Bridgitte in the K2, and we won the 500m, 5000m, and were pipped into 2nd in the 200m. Good fun, but I was pretty broken from all the distance of that week!

Greg and Ryan Louw, the EP guys I coach, came 2nd in the K2 200m, earning themselve a spot in the National Team! Great stuff!

A press release for the Durban World Cup has gone out. See below for the link.

http://www.gameplanmedia.co.za/sswc/sswc1001.html