Aiming for La Plagne

Posted September 5, 2010 by wierc1
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I have started my student teaching.  Mariner High seems like it will be a great place to learn and work through this coming year.  I’ll be there ’til March 18th, about six months.

My workouts will have to change a bit- to paddle before school I have to be on the water by 5 am, which isn’t the most fun thing I’ve ever done.  I can paddle after school on some days, though, which is nice.  It brings back memories of a few years ago, before I started training twice a day, and usually only worked out in the afternoons.  I’ll keep this schedule through mid March, then have a good 3+ months to focus in on the “test event” at La Plagne in July- the world cups events just won’t work with my schedule this year (though I’d like to go back to Sort at Easter…).



Posted August 13, 2010 by wierc1
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Nationals was near home for the first time in over ten years.  It’s been 11 years since I traveled less than 1,500 miles to team trials or nationals.  The only trouble was that to have the race near me, we had to organize it (me, Jennie Goldberg, Mike Baker, Rich Roehner, and Doug Ritchie).  Organizing and racing at the same event is a very different experience from simply racing.

With the exception of one major shuttle problem, the race went very well.  Timing worked out well, our volunteers were great, and the North Cascades provided a beautiful setting.

My racing was a little different.  I varied from my normal pre-race routine, though I tried not to.  I cooked my normal pancakes/french toast on Saturday and Sunday morning.  I did my stretching, and got in good warm up paddles.  But I didn’t do a detailed mental run of the sprint course, I didn’t do a practice run, and I didn’t look at the course before the race.  The first run went well, and I was in first by six seconds ahead of Jack Ditty.  I thought I could be a touch faster in my second run, changed my line slightly, and eddied out on the right in a spot I’ve never had trouble before.  I ended up in second place, one second behind Jack Ditty.  He’s the third to beat me since 2001, and had a great race.  I was angry.

The classic was much better, and I had a perfect rabbit in front of me.  I almost caught John Pinyerd- I crossed the finish line three seconds after he did, and won by 52 seconds.  Andy Bridge came out for the classic and took second, just ahead of John.  So, that means nationals number 8 for me.  And gives me some motivation for the next big race when I might sprint against Jack Ditty again.

Now, I’m in the middle of a month off, and am preparing for my next year.  I don’t know how training will look while I am doing student teaching, but it is likely to involve a lot of early mornings and paddling in the dark…

Worlds Wrap Up

Posted June 20, 2010 by wierc1
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Three weeks in Sort ended last Sunday with the individual sprint, and I headed to southern Spain with Wendy for five days.

This year, being on the US Team was a bit chaotic.  With most of the team arriving two days before racing began, a difficult classic course, and the high water caused by the unexpected rains, the team had a difficult time.  The team was lodged in four different locations, making communication difficult.  The confusion affected me on the day of the team sprint and team classic, but I had prepared to be self-sufficient if need be, and with Jennie Goldberg’s help, managed to follow my race plan for the individual events well.

The classic race, for me, was on the day before the water rose, and the river was actually at the lowest level I had even paddled it.  I made a strategic mistake, and decided to run the high water lines I knew well rather than read the river during the race.  Several lines that were good at high water looked obviously slower at the lower flows, but I stuck with the race plan and my result was decent.  7.77% is the best classic percent I’ve ever had a worlds, and 16th is my highest placing overall.

The sprint race was moved to an easy course with waves and chop all the way, and a short section with a few bigger waves.  The course was not flat, like the emergency sprint course we raced in an irrigation ditch a few years back, but it was much easier than the planned course just upstream.  It provided for good competition, though the race tested a slightly different ability than the first course would have.  I raced well on it, as the easier water made it possible for me to paddle hard all the way, with no corrections.  My stroke rate, at least in the first 2/3rds, was good, though I did fade a bit at the end.  First run started decently, though I lost a bit of time at the end when I was slightly off line.  My second run started very well, but in the same spot at the end I was again off line (worse than the first time), and lost more time than I gained.  Still, I finished 21st, just over 7% back.  That’s my best sprint percent ever, and the first time my sprint percent has been better than classic. Normally, I’m a much better classic racer.

I’m pleased with the results I got, given the last year and the training that I did.  I don’t think I could have gone much faster, especially in the sprint, given my current level of fitness.  I recognized several things that I could improve while watching the faster boats.  I’ll now continue to train through nationals, then take a bit of time off and evaluate my training and goals for the coming year.


Posted June 11, 2010 by wierc1
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“Mother Nature she is stronger than us.” -Maurizio Tagnocci

“It’s like TV!  Look- A juice box!” -Jennie Goldberg

Flooded rivers make for hours of amusement.  We sit on our porch and watch things float down the river.  Logs are most common, but occasionally we see something more exciting, like a juice box.  Mostly, we’d like the water to go down so that we can race.

The current plan is to wait another day, as the river seems to be dropping.  The organizers have suggested that we do the team classic, team sprint, and master’s world championship all in one day.  For most of the US team, that might be an OK schedule, but it would make for a full day for a few (like Mike Harris, our lone master in C-1, who would also race both team races). 

There’s a meeting this afternoon to discuss our options, and perhaps for team leaders to vote on possible alternatives to the main course if the water does not drop enough.  And, as I write, the sky has opened up again, and we have more rain.  Whatever happens, it looks like there will be a lot of racing in one day, and it could be a fun test of endurance and water reading ability.

And The River Comes Up Again

Posted June 10, 2010 by wierc1
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We are re-living 2008.  I arrive at a course and paddle it.  The course is fun.  The water level changes a little bit, but the course is good at all levels.  Then, as the race approaches, the rain begins.  The Dora Baltea flooded in 2008, forcing a change in the classic course and postponment of the masters world championships.

This week, it started raining at around midnight Tuesday night.  It rained all Wednesday, and  ’til 6:00 am on Thursday.  The river trippled in volume, and this morning we awoke to a flood.  Huge trees were washing downriver.  There were no eddies, and the water was up in the trees.  The organizers postponed the team classic race that was supposed to be this afternoon, and the river was officially closed.  We paddled on the lake in the rain, did laundry, ate croissants, and went shopping.  Now, we wait.

If the river drops enough, the team classic and master’s world championship will be held tomorrow afternoon.  The river has to come down a long way, and it might not be low enough to race…It could be a very full day, or a day filled with more waiting.

Classic Results

Posted June 8, 2010 by wierc1
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The Croatian Emil Milihram just won his third C-1 Classic World Championship.

1.  Emil Milihram 20:31.585

2. Tomislav Lepan

3. Jost Zakrajsek

16. Tom Wier 22:07.686, 7.77%

23. Tyler Hinton 23:43

About 50% of the left seam on Tyler’s boat popped in the first third of the course from the impact of the waves; he finished the race but was so full of water at the finish line that his boat was too heavy to pick up.

Only one paddler raced the classic for the US Team- Maurizio Tognocci.  He was 56th, with a time of 22:00.  The winner was Loic V of France, with a time of 19:02.

Final results will be published shortly on

One More Day

Posted June 7, 2010 by wierc1
Categories: Uncategorized

The rest of the US Team arrived over the last two days, and a few of them have managed to get on the river.  Some are still out trying to find wood to make racks for the cars, some still trying to set up boats.  They don’t have enough time to learn the river for the classic.  One day is not enough to be able to learn and race a 7 km course with hard whitewater.

I trained specifically for the classic this year- preparataion for the 20 minute race is much different than for the 2 minute sprint next Sunday.  For me, tomorrow is the day.  Just over 24 hours ’til I start.  Around 2:00 p.m. I’ll be on the water for the 20 minute run.  My stroke rate must be high, and I need to avoid corrections.  The course is perfectly suited to pacing well- hard whitewater at the begining, easier water at the end where you can hammer.

I’ll post results as soon as I can.