Just over a month after the start of the Wild Water Canoeing World Championships in Muotathal Switzerland, and I’m only getting the time to put this write-up together, with getting back to work and training after what can only be described as a disappointing overall event for myself , but this is how she goes sometimes, I’m always a man for looking at the bright side of things though so all is definitely not lost from these Worlds Championships as at the very least I’ve learnt some more valuable lessons in this mad sport.
Myself and the aul lad arrived out about 7 days before the racing kicked off leaving plenty of time to acclimatize and get used to the course. It was a really nice technical course with non-stop grade 3 rapids the whole way across the 13-minute classic and the sprint was equally nice with a couple of tasty features! River position was vital on the classic course as it was very shallow and as the water constantly varied with snow melt and rain it was difficult to pin down an exact line, so it kept you honest! The weight of the cold glacial water was also very hard on the arms along with the already shallow course!
I felt comfortable on the course, although was struggling a bit to pace it out, as it was very easy to burn all your matches off the start and then not have much left for the bottom quarter of the course. This is probably one of my bigger areas of downfall as I don’t spend enough time on the European rivers to enhance these skills and train them in, but the objective is to change this!
The classic was Won in just under 13 Minutes by Slovenia’s top classic paddler and I trailed 45 odd seconds off the pace putting me in 28th, which was disappointing for me as the goal was to better my previous Senior Worlds result of 17th.
I found this rough enough at first as with 2 years more training and a much higher fitness level I made a dangerous assumption my results would get better BUT rightly so, they didn’t.
Yes, the fitness/strength/flatwater speed components had all improved, the key factor of Whitewater skill simply hadn’t. Looking back at the racing now I’m still not happy but I have to be content, I feel these worlds have given me a bit of a kick in the hoop and made me cop on and realise the areas that undoubtedly need a lot of work, and I’m happy that its happened now rather than continuing to do the same thing and achieving the same below par results I have been! Time for Change!
Back to racing….
With the classic done and in the back of the noggin, all efforts turned to the sprint which was my main area of focus, again the aim was to beat my previous senior Worlds result and finish in the top 8. I felt good on the course which was full of lovely moves and was very keen for the racing to kick off. The first run was clean, and the lines were good, but I think I was a bit reluctant to put the full speed on which unfortunately you can’t afford to do and so I ended up having to leave it all on my second run! The second run was sweet although I made a mistake dropping into the final feature and plugged the hole which is game over in a race where the hundredths count, the 2nd run was faster than the 1steven with my mistake by over a second which added salt to the wound, I ended up going 4 spots outside qualification ending in 19th, nowhere near where I wanted to be though with another good lesson learnt!
Even though she didn’t go to plan at all, as I previously said, I’m still taking tonnes from this competition, not in the way I wanted to for sure, but in the way that I need to improve in the sport, the motivation and enthusiasm for improvement is heavy and I’m as keen as ever to progress!