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.