Tuesday, February 1, 2011
NIKOLA GIRKE- Sailing
The forecast had it to be very light winds for the medal races at MORC. I was prepared for the day and really looking forward to the pump off, however, weather will be weather and surprisingly the wind was much more than anticipated - and shifting. The race before us had been abandoned due to a massive shift right.
I didn't have a good start. My centerboard came up partially as I was pumping off the line (which made me slide sideways) and thus I lost my lane quite quickly and had to tack out to the right. 5 other girls ended up going to the right with me, however, I was the last to tack, and ended up overlaying the top mark by a long shot (a potential combination of more current on the right and an even bigger right shift) Sailing all that extra distance had me round the top mark in a distance 10th, and for the rest of the race I worked to catch up. The wind was dropping quickly and they ended up shortening the second windward leg by half the distance and thus my opportunity to catch up also shrunk in half. I did end up minimizing the distance to the girls in front of me to end up finishing a very close 10th. Needless to say, that race did not move me up the rankings and thus I finished 10th overall in the regatta.
Although I lost many points here, there and everywhere throughout the regatta, my end result of 10th doesn't truly capture how well I was sailing. I was up in the top 5 many a races and now it's just about becoming more consistent, minimizing the damage, so it's looking very promising for future races.
I had an incredible team that supported me in Miami - coaching me was my 2008 Olympic coach Jason Rhodes. The Canadian Sailing Team also had the "IST" - Integrated Support Team on site, which included James - Physiologist, Alicia - Athletic Therapist and Colin - Sports Psych - all from the Canadian Sport Centre's from across the country. Any and all ailments were fixed by Alicia, James was on the coach boat with Jason everyday and for the first time since starting to work together over a year ago, he got to see me in action along side all the others. Both Jason and James were able to pick up many technique subtleties and points that I need to work on. Very helpful. Blood lactates and blood sugar levels were measured before and after races - helping James get a better understanding of the physical demands of the sport on race day and over the duration of a 6 day long regatta, and hence being able to advise me of the recovery techniques I need to do each day, one of which included having ice baths for a whole 10 minutes! Brrrr. But oh so good after. Check out the pictures!
AND...My top Canadian placing at MORC had me qualify myself for the PAN AMERICAN GAMES this October in Mexico!!!
I just arrived back home to Vancouver. I'll be taking a break for a few days before I get back into training at the end of the week, both on and off the water. My next stop is in Buzios, Brazil from February 14th to March 15th for some training with Marina Alabau from Spain and Bryony Shaw from GBR, both ranked in the top 5 and first and second place finishers at MORC - should be good training :)