I think the decision to aim for the Olympic qualifiers was never really made but was always with me since my early days in a boat. I can't explain it, it's just the way it is; to compete at my best at the highest level. So, around September 2008 I made a decision to do something about it; to concentrate all my efforts into slalom training for the next while with the only aim being "to be able to look back and say I did my best"

This blog is the story of my journey

Summer 2010 roadtrip

I will be competing in three World Cup Races, Czech Republic, Spain and Germany. After five weeks is the Pre Worlds in Slovakia, with the Slovak open the following week.

Depending on my results at the World Cups I also hope to qualify for the World Championships in Slovenia.

Having never competed at this level before, it's going to be a steep learning curve, but thats what I'm here for.

30 June 2010

Second session of the day was far better than previous, hopefully I can keep it going that way for another few days


Paddled on the course in Augsburg for the first time yesterday. As usual I found the first session hard going, struggling to keep the boat moving and under control at the same time. I'm finding the water in these artificial courses very difficult to read, you come into an eddy so fast, its easy to miss the eddy but easier to come in above the gate.
I had another session last night which was better then another this morning which wasn't so good.

26 June 2010


I was thinking that getting all the gates was going to be difficult when watching the demo runs last night. Some technical moves on some very physical water.

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


Gear check; boats being measured (length and width) and weighed. Bouyancy aids put in water with a weight and a visual check on everything including helmets.

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


Attempted four full runs in training today. The last was the best, if you don't count missing a breakout (and gate) completely. Two runs were broken somewhere in the middle when I caught up on someone, this is what I'm finding the hardest; training with over 30 others on the same course. One run included a roll, again not reading the water properly and aiming only for the gate.




View from Hotel Transit.

Yesterday's session was far better than the previous two. Much more in controll and confident enough to try some of the harder more technical moves. Still a long way to go but I'm going in the right direction. So glad I have the two boats, still paddling the training boat here to save the good one for racing, there has been some serious damage done to some boats.

23 June 2010


Arrived here on Sunday evening, as usuall a flat paddle to loosen up. First session on Monday was very tough, getting stuck in stoppers, spinning out of control, rolling and bouncing off rocks.

Tuesday's session was a bit better, much more in controll but still a long way to go. The course is very fast and physical with a few good drops along the way.

18 June 2010

I'm really over the moon, even though it hasn't fully sunk in yet, considering only a few days ago, staying upright and not missing gates was my only concern. Enjoying the paddling, both the challange and the learning.
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.

Second Run

With a clearer picture of what lay ahead, I started much stronger. One touch again on gate 6 and a 'silly' touch on gate17, the usual trap of watching the left pole which was the difficulty and hitting the right one. Overall faster on nearly all the split times, I moved up to 48th.

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.

First Run

As I thought it would be, I was a bit unsettled at the start line, inexperience led to a rushed but slow top section. Two touches on a tough move on gates 6 + 7, lost some time on a slight mistake on 11 into 12 and another penalty on 19. I made up some time on the long sprint to the finish. Started in 52nd position and finished in 50th. Very very happy.

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


I'm on at 8:18 and 10:13 irish time

Link to live feed at http://www.slalomtroja.cz/

16 June 2010

Getting better on the course yesterday with some help from team manager/coach Ettore Ivaldi. Today a full run was set, first I paddled it in two halves, then two full runs, then practiced some of the more difficult sections. I found the full runs difficult, getting tired at the end.

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

Day Off

Second day on the course was much the same, getting a feel for the water. Still finding it hard going but yesterday's session went much better. Rest day today, watching some of the other paddlers and looking forward to the week ahead.

11 June 2010


Home from home PrahaArrived in Prague yesterday feeling very stiff after the long drive. An easy flat paddle sorted that out before a good nights sleep.

Went for an easy paddle on the course today, watching other paddlers and "trying" to do what they were doing. I had a look at one stopper and thought 'I wonder how sticky that is?' With only one way to find out, I had a real fight to get out the far side.

A creek boat in action:

Feeling good and ready for more

08 June 2010

On The Road

Left home today, on a typical day in June, on the way to Prague. A week's training here for my first World Cup race. Really looking forward to it, feeling positive and ready to learn.