Nelo Summer Challenge

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Ronny, Mike, Japs and I

So I thought I had posted about the Downwind race but clearly not.

It went well, I had an ok start, and actually was in the running for the Hotspot, with Bridgitte H, but I wasn’t sure which direction the line was from the buoy to the pier. She got her nose there about a meter before mine though, I was feeling good so I kept up a pretty consistent pace into the wind until the turn can. Bernadette Wallace (Aus) was with me when I turned, and I managed to to hook a run as I rounded the can, yes please! I opened up a gap, and never looked back, just trying to link the runs together.

The event had a live internet feed, and there was even  helicopter filming us from cool angles. I decided to go for broke in the shorey, well actually I thought I would paddle away from the wave, but I ended up making a great entry for the camera’s! I won by over 2 minutes from Bernadette, and a further 5 minutes back to Bridgitte in 3rd.

I have never raced such a short event, and it was actually great to feel buggered at the finish but not totally exhausted like you do after 25km of racing.

All in all, a superbly well run event, with TV footage from the day playing, and a Buondi Coffee bar on the beach (I think that was my personal highlight!!)

The 2nd event (800m ski race) was going to be tough against the sprinters, but I surprised myself and got a 3rd place. Very happy with that, I think if the wind was blowing and the conditions got technical it would have suited the surf ski guys a bit more, but Jasper still managed to win the guys event!

Helena and I

During the event they had TV footage showing from the day before race. There was a great vibe at the beach, and later in the night we went to Europe’s Biggest Beach Party (50 000 people), and got to see vanilla Ice live! Took me back years!

The Start

Nelo & I

Next stop… Portimao!

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!

Character building?

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So the K2 race didn’t quite happen. I woke up feeling well recovered from the singles, and pretty pumped to give the doubles a good go. Bridgie and I felt solid in the boat, and we were really getting excited at teh thought of a god fight. We had a great start, and got onto a nice diamond behind the Portuguese crew. Then disaster struck. The boat veered right, I managed to control it and tried to get us back on the diamond, but suddenly we veered left. That’s when I realised the steering was gone! The T-Bar mechansim had come loose. We stopped and went to the bank, where I managed to sort it out, but the gap was now massive. We started paddling again, and considered chasing the group down. We were so disappointed, and the thought of a long, solitary paddle wasn’t helping, especially after the day before’s effort. Also, we knew we should be in the front bunch, not right at the back. After half a lap, we bailed.

We decided to move on immediatley, and look forward not backwards, as there is nothing we could do about it now. So, 2010, Barcelona here we come. I am taking from this year’s race what I can, and am going to use it to make sure that I am super ready for next time.
duoro river Shaun and Ant had a great race and ended up 2nd to a very fast Spanish crew. Hank and Grant had probably the race of the day, and came back after a terrible start, and finished up 5th. 
Next up is the Fish River Marathon, next Friday and Saturday:)

10th

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Just a quick report back on the race:

Not a great start, but had Hank´s words ringing in my ears, “Don´t worry if you are off at the start, you have 5 laps to catch up”. So I took it easy, until after the first portage. A German woman had a bad takeout, so I hopped on her wave, and she pulled me up to Bridge, and within striking distance of the 2nd bunch. The front bunch was made up of 3 boats-Hungarian Renata, a British paddler and local hero from Portugal Beatriz Gomes.

Anyway, I messed up the turn, getting a little squeezed at the turning cans, ending up losing my ride tothe 2nd bunch. Spent the rest of the race in good company with one of Polands marathon legends, and we ended up catching Bridgette, and finished 8th, 9th, and 10th. Beatriz won for Portugal!

Shaun finished 4th, behind Busto, Ben Brown and a Portuguese guy, with Len in 10th. More later, plus  photos.

Now its time to recover for the K2 with Bridge tomorrow.

Portugal

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Loving this place so far, the people are super friendly, we are staying in a top hotel (thanks CSA), our team is doing well (more on that later).

The course is pretty tricky, with a very steep portage, on a slippery jetty, then onto sand for the downhill to the beach. I am unfortunately racing at low tide (1245 Sat K1 and 1100 Sun K2), which makes that jetty even steeper, and exposes some obstacles, but its the same for everyone in my race.

Grant van der Walt won the Mens U23 and his brother Brandon “Stomach” won the Junior Mens K1! Awesone stuff!

Tomorrow its the Junior K2 in the morning, then the Senior Men and Women K1 events from lunch.

 Its been great catching up with old friends from around the world. Now its time to race!!

If you would like to watch the event live, there is video streaming on the ICF website – www.canoeicf.com

Plett :)

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I am back in Plett, after an epic 12.5hr drive through the most amazing part of South Africa-the Transkei.

Training on the Keurbooms River

Training on the Keurbooms River

 Forgot how beautiful Plett is. The weather has been great so far. On my first day back I had a run along the beach, and spotted a Southern Right Whale just 10m from the shore! Awesome 🙂

Bit of a monstrous coldfront pulling through as I type, going to test my dedication to a paddle today. The spin bike could be a good alternative…

Leave for Portugal on Monday coming, here is the race website for more info:

http://www.canoemarathonwc2009.com/

Here’s a picture of the stunning Keurbooms River (doubt it will look like that today…)

Keurbooms River