We were so happy to be on our way to Australia about to start our winter training camp with a new boat. Of course, things rarely go perfectly to plan. We get to Australia, and due to some “complications” at the factory, we find out over the next few days that our boat would not be coming. Fortunately, we have some generous teammates; Cam Smedley and Ben Hayward, who let us use their C2 for the entire time here. We are definitely lucky that they brought their C2.
Moving to more exciting news, this was our first trip to Australia for training and it certainly did not disappoint. The course in Penrith, used for the 2000 Olympics is absolutely incredible. Training on a world class whitewater course in February, with most of the top paddlers in the world, in weather that hovers around 30-40°C has undoubtedly been great for the development of our skills and comfort on whitewater. Usually we wouldn’t be getting onto whitewater back home until March, it would be freezing, and not the same level of difficulty. This year we have a head start and on top of that, 2 races under our belt!
We had our first set of races within 4 days of arriving in Australia. This consisted of 2 races during which we had a mix of results. The first wasn’t the greatest, however, our second day of racing yielded some good results, with a 4 place finish, behind the hometown Australian boat, and two Italians, one of which was the bronze medalist from the Beijing Olympics.
The second race, the Australian Open took place on our last weekend in Australia and was certainly what we were building up to during the training camp. Times were tight in the qualifier that had a fairly open course, with the exception of 2 trickier moves. After a mediocre first run, we were sitting in 17 place and looking to move up in the standings with a second run. Unfortunately this didn’t exactly go to plan. We came out of the gates flying on our second run doing all of the moves quickly and cleanly and were set on putting down a fast time. We, however, had a momentary lapse in concentration at the finish line of the race, flipping and drifting over the finish beam upside down. Unfortunately, this would mean that our time; which would have put us in 11 place, did not count. Nevertheless, our first run still qualified for the semi-finals in 19 place. The semi-final/final course was changed completely overnight and we re-focussed in preparation. Our race in the semis again, was decent, but not overly spectacular. We both agreed that at the end of the run we weren’t overly tired, when at the end of your race, you should be completely gassed. We just needed to up the tempo a bit and kick it into the next gear.
Thanks for teammate Adrian Cole for taking the great race pictures!
As we were also in Australia for the first time, training wasn’t the only thing on our minds. On our time off, we did a fair amount of sightseeing, taking in the famous sights of Sydney such as the Opera house, walked through the botanic gardens, and the harbour front. We also went on a spectacular hike in the Blue Mountains, and did a little bit of surfing at the famous Manly and Maroubra beaches.
To sum it up, this trip was a huge benefit to our development this year and to give us a head start going into the summer racing season. We will definitely repeat the trip next year, perhaps a little longer next time. Now it’s time to buckle down, finish the school semester and look forward to the upcoming paddling season.
Jamie and Adam