Eurotrip 2012

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My bags are packed again. As much as it is always super to come home, this chilly weather has me super excited to hop on a plane and get going on another Eurotour!

First up is the Crestuma Marathon (click on name for link to race website), part of the ICF Classic Marathon Series, and the venue of my first Marathon K1 Champs back in 2009. I am flying via London, and I am sure the hype of the Olympics will be amazing to feel, even if I am just passing through!

Next up is something that has been on my bucket list for a long time, The Sella in Spain! Or more officially The International Descent of the River Sella . I am super excited, and as a junior Daniel Conradie used to tell me epic stories of the race, the party and the whole vibe of this crazy sounding race! There is a good group of South Africans going, with race winning hopefuls, I will be sure to post more on that so watch this space!

There are a few other races in Spain, and I have secured an international partner, so it’s looking exciting!

Then it’s back to London, to watch my friend and K2 marathon partner Bridgitte Hartley smash up the field in the women’s K1 500m event at the Olympics! 4 years ago we lined up as a very last minute crew for the K2 500m, and made it through to the semi-finals. (I also made the K4 final, and I am sure it’s going to be an emotional experience watching the K4 race in London).

I will then be moving down to Poole, to spend some time with good friends Chloe and Pete, for a 2 week surf ski training camp, before heading off to Porto in Portugal for the Nelo Summer Challenge, and possibly the best event of the year! I won it the last time I raced back in 2010, and had to very sadly sit out last year with my wrist injury. It is also the venue for the inaugural World Surf Ski Champs to be held next year.

I am stoked to be going back for it, and the whole team at Nelo goes out of their way to make this one of the best events in the world!

Here is a cool video off the website (click on logo above to find out more about the race)

Then its home Gerome, in time for Spring!!

Train hard people, and remember, this is not the warm up, you are living the Main Event!!

Mich

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Spain ReCap

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I am sitting in Cape Town International, having just arrived back from Spain, via London. What a trip, and for all the wrong reasons!

Let me start by saying that I am sitting with  my foot elevated, because I got stung by a bee on my last day in Spain, and the flight has made it swell up even more! I have a hectic head cold/hope not flu, a have just recovered from a stomach bug that very nearly caused me to give up the race in Spain. The funny thing is, I had the best trip! I think it had something to do with the incredible spot I was lucky enough to stay in. Jonathan and Violetta Neil own and run Aqua-Ventura, whichis an adventure based holiday spot, about 15km inland from where we were racing. Hort De Gloria is a 200-year-old farm runs as both a guesthouse and organic farm. They rely on much appreciated and liked wwoolfers (world wide organisation for organic farmers). This is an association for like-minded individuals who go out into the world to learn and experience new things. Helping and working on the farms for board andlodging. With the help of different Wwoolfers they have been able to reclaim and farm many parts of the farm that were falling back to nature.

The vibe there was amazing. I think there were about 25 of us staying there. Daw, Tom and Shaun were the other Saffa’s, and then there were many Aussies (including Jeremy and his wife Jess) and some Brits. The wwoolfers cooked up a storm, and I truly felt like I was on holiday, not there to race. The mountains surrounding the area are hectic, no wonder the Spanish cyclists are so good at climbing! The land is so steep, that 1000’s of years ago, the locals built a serious amount of terraces, by hand. It must have taken forever, and every day we drove past, i couldn’t help looking in amazement at the hard work that must have gone into that.

Jono and Vio were great hosts, and I am going to miss the farm a lot. See www.aqua-ventura.com for more info.

The Race:

Well, I woke up at 2am with a stomach bug, andby the time the start came along I was not feeling up to walking around, let alone paddling a race. Jeremy and a number of others had also caught the bug. Let’s juts say that if a certain nice Portuguese guy hadn’t nursed me through the last 8km, I wouldn’t have finished. He actually came past me sitting in my ski, waiting for a rescue boat. Matt B paddled a great race to get his first “big” win since he injured his back 2 years ago. Dawid was 2nd, with Shaun “the Prawn” in a very respectable 3rd place. Tom S finishedjust behind Busto in 5th. Watch this space!

After the race, the organisors treated all the 200 odd competitors to a sit-down lunch. Surf Ski paddling in Europe is on a big UP! The guys are amped, and I reckon next year is going to be even bigger!

We chilled at the farm for the next day, going for a walk to the local village, Sella, and swimming in a rock pool/waterfall. So chilled here. Andthe best is that everyone just shuts down around 2pm for Siesta time. On my last day, we went rock climbing. Now I have never done that before. It was incredible, andI am glad I wasn’t the only one with sweaty palms (Matt…) We went back to the waterfall, andthat is were my friend Maya the Bee thought he would get attached to my foot…  Vio made the most incredible hot chocolate ( I don’t want to leave Spain, ever). Andthen everyone sang Happy Birthday to me, and I got some pretty cool Birthday cards from the Neil’s super kids. (And some Spanish chocolate, which actually rivals Swiss chocolate-sorry dad).

I spent a night in London, and managed to catch up and spend my 30th birthday with some old friends. I miss the people who have chosen to live there, but after a week in the mountains of Spain, I am very glad I don’t live there!

Now I’m waiting for a flight to Durban, where I’m staying with good friend Barry, and sickness-providing, I hope to take part in the Grading race for Billy’s Surf Ski Series on Sunday.

Thanks for all the Birthday wishes 🙂 Photo’s to follow.