19 August 2010
It has been nearly two years of full time training and I have been improving all along. Now, after my first world cup circuit it feels like I am just starting. We think I could make it to the 2012 games but I don't want to just "get there" I want to have a real go at competing. With this in mind we think 2016 is the more realistic goal, but the effort is already out weighing an possible outcome. If I was to start again knowing what I know now, I would do things differently.
I will really miss competing at this level as I was in my element. The buzz of a big competition and the calmness at the start line was everything I expected it to be. I have never experienced anything like it before but hope to find it again, on the water, somewhere else.
I have learnt so much about paddling which could help in most other disciplines, so if anyone wants to contact me for some advice, please do.
I would like to thank everyone who helped along the way, there are too many to name for fear of forgetting someone.
I would like to be able to say something positive about the ICU, but .......................
As this has been such a big part of my life for so long, it is going to be hard to get back to normal. I'm putting up this final blog post and asking for everyone to read it as I find it very difficult to talk about and would prefer not to have to repeat the story over and over.
Some highlights of the trip
10 July 2010
05 July 2010
Second run; Again a great start, this seems to be turning into my standard race routine. I managed to get past gate 8 but spun out in the eddy, missing gate 9. The rest of the run was OK but slow.
Placed 55 out of 58 wasn't how I hoped to finish off the World Cup. A break now and decide on the next step.
01 July 2010
So that's it, nearly three weeks training finished. To say it's been a roller coaster would be an understatement. I've gone from getting trashed and feeling miserable to powering down a course and being delighted and then right back to the start again.
For a change I'm racing tomorrow afternoon at 2:04 and 4:13 Irish time.
30 June 2010
I had another session last night which was better then another this morning which wasn't so good.
26 June 2010
Run 1; I lost speed a couple of times and spun out twice which left me very slow. Feeling disappointed at the finish I was cheeed up realising I made all of the gates and then confirming only 1 touch. 46th out of 49 I knew I could do better.
I walked the course after with Ettore and we found some places to make up some time.
Run 2; The top half of the course went better than I could have dreamed, pefect, then I rolled through the stopper I'd been having trouble with all week. I took a touch on gate 17 and apart from the roll I was delighted to be over 13 seconds faster. But the results showed my first run to be better. When I hit gate 17 it looked like I pushed the pole out of the way to go aound, so I got a 50 sec penalty. Back to 47th
I know I've learnt alot here and I'm a much better paddler now but it's hard to be positive at the minuite.
25 June 2010
Short session this morning, over all much better than earlier in the week so feeling confident about tomorrow.
I'm no. 3, on at 7:32 and 10:47 Irish time (one hour ahead here). 50 paddlers this time and being 3rd to start (two non ranked paddlers) I will be more relaxed on at the start area.
Live timing and results http://www.123result.com
Other race info http://canoeslalomseu.parcolimpic.com
The usual easy paddle this evening and ready for action
24 June 2010
23 June 2010
18 June 2010
I was interviewed by ICF after my second run and I was more nervous for that than the race. I waffled on a bit so don't think it will be used.
Think when I get on the road later it will start to sink in.
Really happy that I'm able to push hard all the way and improve from one run to the next.
A short drive now to Spain where I hope to make a few more improvements.
Watched the video footage with coach Ettore and found some room for improvement for the second run. Much more relaxed and confident.
17 June 2010
16 June 2010
Thats it for now, an easy flat paddle tomorrow and race on Friday morning. Having two runs, with the best one counting, I'm hoping to use the first to settle in and hope to do better in the second.
14 June 2010
11 June 2010
Feeling good and ready for more
08 June 2010
15 May 2010
Here's a short clip from training there
27 April 2010
With being unsure of how my injury would react the plan was to take it easy on the first run and build up the effort over the weekend.
My first run was fairly solid, with 1 penalty and I managed to put in a reasonable time. No pain in the ribs but every muscle in my arms was burning as I have not been able to do any strength work for a long time.
Feeling good and ready for action, and back into race mode I stepped up a gear and was delighted with my run. 1 penalty again but with a great time I surprised everyone, including myself by making the set percentage needed to make the team. Emotional and excited about the chance of finally making the team I headed home for a good night's rest for the 2 races on Sunday, needing 1 more to qualify.
Sunday Race 2
The course set on Sunday had some harder work on flat water, a C1 paddler's weakness, at the start and finish and a tough offside move which I didn't have the strenght to attack as I would have liked. With some slight pain I keep putting ice on the injury between runs which seemed help.
I started a bit too hard on the flat and struggled with the offside move, but knew there was room for improvement. 1 penalty and a bit slow.
With a better plan I was doing much better untill I made a mistake on the offside move and ended up in the eddy with no boat speed at all. 1 penalty again. Being 6 seconds outside the time needed I had 2 more chances.
The same course was used with 1 change, so I changed my plan for the offside move going for the spin as a safer option.
Giving everything I had I put in a great clean run but still 3 seconds too slow.
Another clean run but getting tired I was slower the the first run.
Overall feeling really happy with my performance and confirming to myself that the training I have been doing is paying off, I just need to get back to weight training, if the injury stays away, and get back to white water gate work. If I can paddle this well while recovering from a stress fractured rib,I'm sure I can be racing with some top paddlers later this year............................
17 April 2010
16 April 2010
Without any incidents I was back to my usuall training spot, the S Bend, for some moving water gate work. I found this hard going on my arms as I have done no weight training since late January, the sudden change in weather was a shock too.
Next was some white water training without gates in Sluice. Again finding the bigger water hard work and feeling very rusty, I had a tough few days here. Some slight pain from the harder work but with today as a rest day I'm ready to start here again tomorrow with some gate work.
01 April 2010
Great to be back in the boat.
Here's a video from a four minute on four minute off type sesion.
We used the new head cam from I-CANOE and Adrian edited the video.
17 March 2010
Thanks to Keith from the club for the use of his paddling machine.
Hoping to get onto flat water soon and see if the many hours on the machine have paid off.
20 February 2010
Now, due to a recurring injury, I have four to six weeks off the water training. Then six weeks starting on flat water and building up to moving water with gates. After that I can start training again.
12 February 2010
After training here for a few days I try my best but my injury is really holding me back. My best run of the weekend was slow and messey, my worst sees me missing one gate and rolling past three more.
I made the decision not to take any practice runs as there are no practice runs at the bigger races. So i picked my lines and watched a few paddlers, then I headed away from the river to get focused on my own. First run - clean, flat out and nearly dieing on the finish line, just the way the coach says it should be, could make up a bit of time 1-2 seconds in the next run but very happy with my performance. Even happier when i looked at the times, starting at the bottom of the list as usual and seeing my name at the top.
Second run - improved some of my lines, one touch near the end and pushed hard on the last three gates, 2 seconds faster but the penality cancelled that out given me the same time again.