Welcome to the CAN Fund Athlete Blog!
This is where Canadian Athletes will be posting as they train and prepare to represent Canada on the World Stage! Keep up to date on when and where our athletes are training and competing!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


This morning I woke up to heavy rain, sometimes hail - funny cause "it's never like this" in Perth in December. Considering it was the hottest day on record a few days ago, and then it's hailing...it's become a bit of a running joke amongst us sailors (but it's not a funny joke) that the normal weather patterns never hold up for race time. The norm here in Fremantle is that "The Fremantle Doctor" blows constistently between noon and 3pm, a cooling afternoon sea breeze which occurs during the summer months in SW coastal areas of western Australia. In all our training time leading up to the Worlds, we had these great "usual" conditions, however, that's all changed. The Doctor has yet to come, I think he's drowned in all the rain. I'm pretty sure that Perth has a new rainfall record from today.

Thunder and lightning kept us onshore all day, and at 2pm the race organizers called off the day. Too dangerous. Lightning was hitting things in our boat park!!!

I came home to check out the weather and news...only to learn that: Storm-ravaged parts of the city have been declared natural disaster zones.

With racing cancelled today, we lost the opportunity to race 2 races. Tomorrow they have 3 races scheduled (which is the most they can do on a given day - provided that we windsurfers have at least 1 of the 1st 2 races in planing conditions). With only 6 races in the opening series scheduled, now having been dwindled down to a maximum of 5, it's quite important for me to have 3 super solid races tomorrow.

Bring it!

Thursday, December 1, 2011


Canada Cleans Up and US Thanksgiving Race!
The Canadian Whitewater Slalom Team has been training super hard in Charlotte, North Carolina at the US National Whitewater Center.  This site will be hosting our 2012 Olympic Team Selection races in April of 2012 alongside the US Team Selections.  Our Olympic Team will be determined after 4 runs over two days with the best 3 of 4 counting.  It’s going to be intense!!
This training camp was a great opportunity to get in some quality time on the course in Charlotte.  It’s big and pushy and makes for some exciting racing.  Our training camp concluded with a two day race that was very well attended by us Canadians of course but also included the entire US National Team.
Canada won every class we entered!  It was even a clean sweep in the Men’s Kayak class with five time Olympian David Ford taking the win, closely follow by Ben Hayward of Edmonton and rounding out the podium was John Hastings of Ottawa in third.
The C2 Men’s class was won by the Cutts brothers, Jamie and Adam, of Ottawa while Alexandra Mcgee also of Ottawa placed first in the C1 Women’s class.
I’m also happy to report that I won the K1 Women’s class followed in second by top US paddler, Caroline Queen, and in third place was newcomer to the Canadian Team, Thea Froehlich of Ottawa.
It was a very successful training camp followed by an even more successful race.  It’s a good sign of things to come for next year leading into the Games.  Go Canada!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


After returning home from the Pan Am Games, I completed a hard two weeks of training at home, both on and off the water in what were some pretty great November conditions in English Bay, all in preparation for my trip to Perth - and the upcoming World Championships/Olympic Qualifiers. I was relieved to finally have everything packed and done when I got on the plane last week to Perth. After a super long day of travel, a Vancouver to Sydney flight (luckily direct but still 15+hrs), then another 5 hour flight from Sydney to Perth, I finally arrived, safe and sound, somewhat tired and luckily with all my equipment in tact. 
Excited about sailing in warm and sunny Perth, I went out for a session on my first day (always helps with the jet lag). The next day was very stormy, rainy and cold - which gave me a perfect chance to get myself organized: I food shopped, got my gym membership, phone card etc. Since we were starting a 4 day 'coaches run regatta' the following day, I didn't mind taking this day off. 

There were 3 races each day for the last 4 days. The coaches organized this regatta and charged an entry fee so that there would be some prize money at the end for the top competitors, and more importantly so that the competitors would actually take the regatta a bit more seriously than "just training races". I broke my batten on the first day before racing so I sailed 3 races like that... not the best and thus my results suffered a bit from that. However for day 2, 3, and 4 I had gear that worked and I was able to test my speed and my racing skills against many of the sailors that are here training. One of the days got really windy and with the bay being quite shallow, the waves/chop made it very difficult and sometimes a bit scary upwind as we get launched off the waves, but they also make for some particularly sketchy downwinds. Attached is a picture of me leading this crazy windy downwind! I think we were about 20+ girls. I managed to have quite a few good races amongst the 12 race regatta and finished the event off in 3rd....which meant prize money...$100!!! Ok, so it's not that much, but since we never get prize money, this is the most I've ever won for an RSX event :) Here in Perth, everything is so unbelievably expensive that I gladly welcomed this addition to my funding...

The online magazine Sail-World.com has also just released an article on me yesterday...click here to read it:
 Perth 2011 - Canada’s RS:X Champ Nikola Girke shares love and luck  <http://sail-world.com/Australia/index.cfm?SEID=0&amp;Nid=90975&amp;SRCID=0&amp;ntid=0&amp;tickeruid=0&amp;tickerCID=0>

 And...that's all for now. I'm having 2 days off the water before I get back out there...today I went to check out Perth and tomorrow I'm heading down the coast to the infamous Margaret River.

The first day of racing of the World Championships is on the 5th of December. I'll be sending details on how to follow results etc then, but you can also check out the website of the Perth 2011 ISAF World Championships <http://www.perth2011.com>

Thank you for your continued support.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Five Points Horse Trials

After a very successful weekend at the Carolina Horse Park, I would have to say that I’m feeling very good about my plans for the rest of the fall season.

I had a very successful return to the Advanced level with Ollie, finishing 2nd after adding just one rail to our competitive dressage score. Obviously, after making a mistake and popping off at Richland, I was bound and determined to make things go well at Five Points. Tremaine Cooper certainly gave us enough to do on the 7:17sec Advanced track, but that was just how I wanted it. One of the reasons that I made the 6 hour hike to Raeford, NC was because I knew the track would be awesome and it didn’t leave me wanting more!!

The offset houses out of the barn, two tough coffin complexes and several other combinations that made you ride forward and stick to your guns was exactly what I needed to rebuild my confidence at this level. I rode with a purpose and Ollie stepped right up to the plate and rocked around like a champ.
Little miss Vienna completed her second Training level event in style, shaving 9 points off her last dressage test and adding just one tired-pony rail to her score. She is so brave cross country, which makes my job easy. I am focusing on getting the ride right for an even better dressage test with this mare in the future. She has all the pieces, but she’s definitely a challenge!! She finished 8th in a large, competitive division and I couldn’t be more pleased.

Now, back to rainy Virginia ( yayyy for the footing… boo for the fact that I just bought two cans of camp dry for every thing I own)

Wishing everyone luck at the American Championships in Georgia this weekend, and looking forward to a few weeks of dressage and fitness work on the nice squishy ground!!
Stay tuned

Saturday, September 3, 2011


Bratislava Life

It’s been an eventful couple of weeks since I touched down in Prague. With the World Cup Final, a trip to the 2011 Sprint Canoe World Championships, and now training full-on here in Bratislava, there really hasn’t been a stop. 

The World Cup Final in Prague didn’t go as well as hoped. As I have referenced a number of times, with the amount of time I have spent training and living there, Prague is like my European home course. I was looking to better my performance from last year’s World Cup, and after a strong couple of runs in the qualifier, I was feeling on form. I was off to a strong start in the semi-final, and was fastest at the midway split, however, I took a touch in the lower section of the course that not only added two-seconds to my run, but slowed me down as I became a little more passive to avoid touching another gate. In Prague, if you are fast enough, you can get away with one-touch....but two-touches, forget it (unless your Vavrinc Hradliek, or Matuesz Polaczyk). Anyways, I ended up 13th, and as you can imagine was a bit disappointed. As this was the World Cup Final, I ended up ranked 12th on the overall World Cup.

Following Prague, the team headed south to Bratislava, Slovakia, where we are now based, and will be through to the World Championships. Seeing that this will be the site for our World Champs in September, getting as much training on the course here will certainly be advantageous. Training is going well, the beauty with Bratislava, there is always something new to learn, which keeps it fresh here. We can also tell that the Worlds are quickly coming.  Everyday something new is being built at the course. I am getting excited to race.
This past weekend, coach Michal and I ventured further south to Szeged, Hungary to watch my all of my friends race in the 2011 Sprint Canoe World Championships. I have never been to a Sprint race before, and since Hungary is the epi-center of Sprint Canoeing, I figured why not! We were not disappointed. As most of you know, Adam VanKoeverdan dusted the competition in the K1-M 1000M final. It was inspiring to watch....and let me tell you, it was no fluke. I don’t know any other athlete who trains as hard as Adam does, and to see the hard work pay off, again, reassured my belief that hard work does pay dividends. 

Talk soon,

Thursday, August 4, 2011


After several nice summery days here in Weymouth, it was back to good old UK weather! I woke up to the heavy rain several times this past night...and sure enough, this morning was no better. My races were scheduled for 2pm and luckily by that time the front passed, it was beautiful and sunny with some breeze.

For the entire time of my pre-race warm-up/getting dialed in, it was fully planing, but then just at the start the wind died quite a bit and we ended starting with our daggerboard down in railing mode. I did not have a great start, I was too close to others - both from above and below and quickly got rolled. I had planned on going left up the first beat - so decided when the breeze came up a bit again to go planing. I was soon in clear air and with some good speed and height, I was passing boards. I tacked just shy of the port layline and it looked to me that I was in the lead...until about 3/4 up the track when the wind went a bit right and the boards that went right were coming in hot. Needless to say, I did not round first nor did I round in the first 10. I battled the rest of the race and with a few smart calls up the second upwind, I worked myself up to 7th.

Race Two: Everyone had figured out that the right side of the course was favoured by this point and thus 3/4's of the fleet started on port (heading to the right side). I started on port as well - but once again was too close to the boards below me and lost my ability to sail high and low working the waves. Dirty air is never good and thus I decided to foot off (sail lower than those around me) which in turn had me sailing through them to leeward. The leaders were gone at this point (they had great starts with clean lanes) and I just had to try to catch up as much as I could. Bit by bit I took boards down and by the third upwind mark I was in 3rd. On the last downwind the wind lightened off a bit, I didn't gybe in the proper spot missing a gust, then got dirty air from the boards behind/on top of me, and I had trouble staying on a plane. Then one of my battens broke during a gybe which kept me from planing out of my gybe, I wallowed a bit while the others planed past me from both sides...ARGH!!! So, 200m from the finish I went from 3rd to 8th. Definitely disappointing and some lessons to be learned from that....I must fight to plane no matter what!!!

I sit in 8th at the moment. Many more races to go...

And attached is a picture of me getting my sail all stickered up....GO CANADA!!! no mistaking what country I represent :)


Sunday, July 17, 2011


After an incredible 3 weeks of training, I'm going home tomorrow, but just for 10 days before I head back to Weymouth for the Pre-Olympics. Some may ask why I am going home for such a short time...with all that jetlag to deal with etc... and well, over the years I've learned how I work and perform at my best. Five weeks away is my cut-off and if I didn't go home, I'd be gone for 7+, whilst racing the Pre-Olympics in those last 2 weeks. Plus it keeps my training away intense and exciting!

The training camp in Santander with the girls was awesome... We pushed each other hard both on and off the water. Sailing, gym, surfing, running, biking, yoga, eating and sleeping was on the menu each day and by the end of the 11 days I was too tired to sleep. My body had had it... I was done, I had given it my all.

My last day in Santander started with a morning surf, then went straight from the beach onto a bus that took me to Bilbao 1.5hrs away, from where I flew to Germany. Thunderstorms and missed connections had me and 3 others stranded in Munich late at night when we wanted to get to Nuernberg, and thus Lufthansa ended up sending us in a taxi. Yikes....a 250euro cab ride. Three days in Germany to visit with my family and go to my cousins wedding was my treat for the long day of traveling. And all was great until I got some sort of stomach flu...

Arriving in Weymouth, still feeling a bit under the weather, it was perfect that there was absolutely no wind on what should have been my first training day. I soon regained my strength and the past 4 days of training have been really good. Both yesterday and today it was very windy...about 15 degrees with intermittent squalls that had the wind get up to about 30+ knots today. Being out in those conditions for more than 2hrs each day is very tiring and I thought it was a good idea to call it a day when I lead around the top mark on the 4th practice race of today. A nice way to end my training here in Weymouth... and the sun even came out to dry everything nicely as I packed up.