The Water Comes Up…The Water Comes Down

Posted June 2, 2010 by wierc1
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Wednesday night, June 2nd, six days ‘til the World Championship classic.  It’s time to back off the hard training, and begin to rest.  I still have several lines on the river to figure out, so I’ll have to be smart about how I space my training runs to ensure that I learn what I need to without exhausting myself doing runs.  The river level continues to change; on Monday it went up near flood level and trees were washing downriver.  We paddled the classic course Monday afternoon, in case the river didn’t drop for the race, but one run was enough on a course that was beginning to have that flooded river feeling. 

Other teams have begun to arrive.  The British came in over the weekend, and today we shared the river with the Germans, Dutch, Swiss, and Australians.  It was a day of drama.  We saw six swims, two badly damaged boats (one didn’t get pulled out of the river for almost 2 kilometers), and one lost paddle.  Yet no one was hurt, and everyone seems willing to jump back into the boat and go for it again.  After my paddle broke and I swam last week, I knew I had to jump back on the water.  It’s not really bravery or bravado, but that you know the sooner you get back in the boat the better off you’ll be.  When you know you have to race a course and you have just had trouble, one of the best things you can do is paddle it again.  Wildwater demands that you learn flexibility and resilience. 

 Tonight marks the end of hard training, and a chance to relax and sleep in more than usual tomorrow.  I’ll run by the post office (only open in the morning), look in at the bakery, and maybe drive shuttle for a few people.  Sort is a beautiful little town.


One week in Sort

Posted May 30, 2010 by wierc1
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One week in…It took me four days to feel like I could paddle well on this river, and now it’s getting really fun.  Jennie has arrived, and we’ve moved into the team housing.  We’ve got a lovely little cabin by the river.  The breaker trips if we try to cook while the water heater is on, so we unplug it each morning at breakfast and at dinner.

Sort is a great little town, with several little cafes by the river, but the best one seems to be up the hill.  We’ve begun to frequent it for coffee or ice cream, and would be fitting in well if we spoke Catalan…My Spanish is functional, and I’ve never had such an easy time getting around in Europe because I can communicate easily with everyone.  But, Catalonia is not Spain, as we have been told several times, and locals prefer the mix of Spanish and France that is Catalan. 

The river appears to be dropping after four days of slow rising, so the waves won’t be quite as surging soon.  The top section of the course should get a little easier, but it’ll still be continuous, and paddlers who have been hear for a while say that the waves get a bit steeper at lower flows.  Chris N. has requested some pictures, and I’ll try to oblige, but since he probably doesn’t want pics of my cabin and the boat on the car, it’ll be a few days ‘til I can get pictures of people paddling.  Other teams are just arriving, so it’ll be a little easier to get photos this week. 

I’m looking forward to three hard days of training, followed by a step taper in the five days before worlds so that I’m well rested and ready to race on June 8th.

Posted May 25, 2010 by wierc1
Categories: Uncategorized

The last two World Championship classics have been easy, and both had a lot of flat.  The Noguera Parallesa will break that trend.  Big, deep class III runs all the way down the course.  The first eight minutes are continuous, and the river only really lets up after 15 minutes or so.  Even then, it´s not flat, and only the last two minutes are really easy.

This morning, after four days out of the boat, I put in at the top of the classic and followed Matt Dalziel and Dan Hall (both of Austrailia) down the course.  The first run went well- the water is big and fast, but not too technical, and the long rapids are fun.  However, I had a bit more excitment in the second run.  At the start, I was already feeling like things were slowing down for me, and that I could find a few flat spots to reaccelerate the boat.  Then, at the top of the longest rapid on the course, Cuatro Largo, my paddle snapped when it hit a rock, and I flipped.  The ensuing swim had the potential to be very long, but I managed to get intot he bottom of an eddy just in time.  A lovely track at the side of the river eased my walk out.  And now, I have to finish putting together one of my other paddles that I didn´t quite finish before I left.

The sprint course is tricky, as it gets pushy in the middle and waves slap your boat around.  It´s hard to avoid eddies along the left side.  We did five runs this afternoon, and I think I know the line, but have yet to do all of the pieces well in one run.


Posted May 24, 2010 by wierc1
Categories: Uncategorized

The flights went smoothly, my bags all arrived, and the drive to Sort was simple, though long.  Tomorrow, I´ll paddle the course for the first time.  It looks big, fast, and continuous, and will be a challenge to learn.


Posted May 13, 2010 by wierc1
Categories: Uncategorized

Training this spring has been very up and down.  I’m missing the last two weeks of the school quarter, which means I have to finish all of my papers early, and my charactieristicly obsesive way, I can’t seem to do just enough work to pass- I have to try and do everything well.  School work and rest have occasionally trumped training, and my workouts have not been as consistent as they should be.  My splits and times have been okay, but not really getting much faster.  This is the time of year I would like to be setting PRs for many if not all distances that I regularly measure.

So, this morning, I was especially pleased to find that the lake was flat.  No wind.  And it was a beautiful spring morning.  I had planned a 60 minute steady state paddle, but I decided to push a little.  30 minutes in, I was averaging 10.31 kph.  At 45 minutes, it was 10.41.  At 50 minutes, I was averaging 10.46 kph.  Today, I finished with an average speed of 10.59 kph.  My fastest 60 minutes before was three years ago, at 10.45 kph.  Finally, a sign that my training efforts may pay off…

Seven Weeks

Posted April 4, 2010 by wierc1
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Only seven weeks ’til departure for the World Championships!  Time to focus and train hard.

World Cup 2009- Brady's

Team Trials Wrap Up

Posted March 31, 2010 by wierc1
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I am always nervous before trials.  I think I’ve mentioned that before.  This year was no exception.  Day one, the morning before the sprint, had me doing mental gymnastics trying to figure out all sorts of possible percent and time combinations that might happen if Tyler Hinton beat me.  Never mind that he was also doing slalom the same day, and racing a 40 pound borrowed Tip Top.  perhaps it’s a good thing, because it gets me excited enough to go hard, and it means that I care about the result.

In any case, my cumulative sprint time was 2:43 and change, 15 seconds ahead of Tyler.  The next day, in the classic, I was 13:38, about 64 seconds ahead of second place.  I didn’t feel great- my technique and power felt forced, and not smooth like in my best races.  I probably could have been a few seconds faster, but not much.  Maybe I could have broken 13:30 on a perfect day.  But overall, I felt pretty good about it.  I am moving the boat well, and if I can manage to train well over the next two months I could be going well in Spain.

Check out the results here: