7th and 6th

World Cup 2009 387

Cataract Gorge was hot on Saturday.  For those of us from the Northwest, 25 celcius is very warm for November (its only 77 Farenheight, but its still warm).  The sun has always felt intense in Tasmania, and this morning was no exceptionl.  This was the first day that I wore short sleeves to race.

The course in cataract gorge is not hard, but seems a little intimidating at first.  There are two big drops over wiers in the first 40 seconds, each about 6-8 feet high.  You cant see where you are going above the drop, so you have to know where to run with no cues (hard left on both drops).  Then, there was a 40 second sprint across a flat pool to the finish line in front of a park.  The walk to the top of the rapid was gymnastic for practice runs, as we had to scramble over huge boulders.  For race runs, we had to follow a path that was a long way around.

My first run was good- I paddled through all of the drops with no correction strokes, and did the sprint well.  I was in my usual 6th place.  Second run wasnt quite as good.  I did small corrections above both drops and then, in the sprint, I was tired.  3 weeks of racing was catching up.  My boat was bobing as I tried to pull it forward.  I was just 0.6 seconds slower than the first run, but it was enough- Tadhg McIntyre of Ireland had a good second run and pulled ahead.  I finished in 7th place.

Overall, I finished the world cup in 6th place.  I had 2 7th place finished, 4 6th place finishes, and all my percentages but one were below 9%.  On average, I paddled better than I have before.  My best percentage ever, 5.46%, came in the upper Mersey classic.  My major goal was to drop below 5% in more than one race this year, so I didnt meet that.  But, given how the last month before the world cup went, my finishes really arent too bad.  School, work, stress, the flu- it all adds up.

I learned a few things watching the other C-1s, as well, about how to paddle aggresively in the whitewater.  I think I know how to modify my stroke technique to be a little faster.  Mostly, Im trying to do it now, but its not second nature yet.  I need to be very disciplined in my training to only paddle a specific way.  And maybe I can get a little closer to the top at Sort.

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