Worlds

September 15, 2013
Well it has been a week since we arrived home and I think now that there has been some time to reflect an update is in order.
I didnt post over the worlds competition as I was really just trying to focus on the regatta.  If the fatigue since arriving home is anything to go by it has been an exhausting year.  Even excessive amounts off coffee have not prevented me from falling straight to sleep.
Following the last update from the Czech Reupublic we moved on to Munich for two weeks where we met up with the girls team.  The first week for me was getting back into paddling again.  It was obvious that a lot of fitness and conditioning had gone.  While I was sick in Czech I lost 4kg of which a significant amount would have been due to  dehydration.  Testing once home indicates a loss of just under 2kg of lean muscle.  The second week I started to feel a lot better and was able to work hard again which was good but not so ideal in terms of timing being only 10 days out which is really a time to be tapering down.
The course in Munich is not renowned for fast conditions so there was a bit of rationisalation going on as I was coming to terms with my times being anywhere between fairly average to ratchet.  One of the plusses of having an in form Olympic and World champion in the team is that we can get a calibration of our times relative to the conditions by comparing them to someone who we know is going fast.
Before we left a few of us visited the Dachau Concentration camp not far from where we were staying.  Having just finished reading Viktor Frankls ‘Mans Search For Meaning’ it was good timing to be so close to one of the camps where the author spent some of his time.  To be honest it was hard to even comprehend what we were seeing and even harder to comprehend how this could have taken place only 70 years ago.
Something like this is surely on the extreme end of a continuum but it was a reminder to never take our civil liberties for granted.
The last stop of the tour was Duisburg for the World Championships.  One could be forgiven for thinking this may be a less competitive year being the first of a new Olympic cycle.  With some big names retired it looked like the A final could be a lot more accessible but there has continued to be massive growth in the depth of mens K1 paddling.  The margins were the closest I have ever seen them.  Needless to say if you turned up in bad shape there was no hiding.
I failed to make the Finals for the K1 1000m and had just the 5k race on the last day.  The new start system worked really well and I had my best start in a while just about being able to settle on Ken Wallace’s wash before Ed Rutherford (who I was very pleased to see went on to make the podium) of Great Britain liberated me of my position in which I was immediately cut off and before I could do anything about it was out the back in the washing machine.  Its often hard to discern from the side lines but once a paddler is back in the group unless you are in top form it is pretty much all over.  With one 2km lap and 4 shorter laps up to the 250m mark and back it becomes a wavy mess and the usual tactic of going wide out in the cleaner water doesnt work either as when you come into the next corner you more often than not find yourself in the same position you were.  One of the other frustrating aspects of being further back is that you end up mixing with paddlers more interested in cutting you off and having a one on one battle for 18th place rather than working together to move up in the field.
Overall it was a very good Worlds Campaign for the NZ team with Lisa Carrington defending her K1 200m title and getting a podium spot in the K1 500m.  The girls K2 500m crew made the final and Teneale Hatton absolutely demolished the womens 5000m field to win her first ICF World Title.   Pleasing to see the kiwi boys do so well in the K4 1000m.  The best effort for a NZ K4 in many years and a very credible result for an Under 23 crew.
So taking a break now and very much enjoying watching the Americas Cup.  Great to see it finally happening and the Kiwi boys in top form doing a fantastic job.
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Pre Worlds

August 8, 2013

Well it looks like my final run into Worlds has turned into a bit of a horror show.
Only a few days off the plane and whilst being very conservative with my approach I started to get a sinus irritation. 5 days later and a fever just shy of 102 degrees I am told I have Viral Bronchitis. Sometimes it feels like you just run out of fate. Over the last few years no matter how I try to be sensible and conservative I get sick and have not been able to get anywhere near close to what I used to be capable of. Quite frustrating as what keeps an athlete going is the belief that they can improve – I keep going because I believe I haven’t reached my potential but perhaps now at 34 years of age it is not meant to be. The moment may have passed. Maybe the body says enough is enough and perhaps it is a conflict with the mindset of an athlete to always believe they can do it that can make them so stubborn and blind to the signs that something is no longer. On the flip side if I was too rational I wouldn’t have lopped 25 seconds off my Pb in 2003 to paddle a 3.27 for the 1000m or go on to win the World title in my first World champs when in January of that very same year even qualifying seemed only a pipe dream. So should I read the cliff notes or just carry on.. perhaps the forced rest will be a good thing.. certainly doesnt feel like a good thing at this stage of the game.. All going well I should be back in the boat next week I am told… Also I must say a special thanks to our Czech friends who gave us the VIP treatment at the hospital.

Below is a picture of the course where we are staying in Racice. Very appealing conditions for paddling.

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Winter

July 21, 2013

Not long to go now before we leave for Europe. It has been a solid couple of months since the conclusion of the World Cups and on the whole I feel like progress has been made, although it has been a hard push to get training close to previous levels. The stop/start nature of the last few years has certainly come at a price.
New Zealand winter, well I should say the North Island winter is rather balmy by European standards but it hasnt been the warmest here over the last while. Thankfully we haven’t had too many 5 degree mornings this last week. I am definitely looking forward to some warmer weather and freshening up as we come into the final preparations for Worlds.

It sure is nice to be able to put my feet up after a hard block of training and enjoy my new 2XU Recovery top and compression gear. Thanks guys. New fresh kit is always a treat.

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