While admittedly the camp was a little slow to start, with the first three days being spent in a contaminated and unusable Nottingham due to flooding, from London it kicked off and hasn't hit the ground since. My teammate Stuart and I have been here for two solid weeks, and finally it feels like I understand the way I'm supposed to paddle on this amazing course. Don't get me wrong, figuring this out is regularly reinforced by getting trashed in the big drops, and less impressively tripping up on my blades and going for time consuming episodes involving walls and bollards and cursing. Usually in front of world class paddlers. BUT after all that, I feel strong. And my boat finally feels like it has a glide that I control. I can turn it on and use it, rather than waiting for it to appear, hopefully during a full run when the time counts. We have done so many full run sessions this camp, and now I don't come up the conveyor belt hoping to get the gates. I know I'm going to get the gates, and well too. Having said that, one of the most interesting sessions for me is with the GB paddlers during tough tech. I still have a way to go in terms of agility and correctional ability on the water. Watching them make a mistake and react fluidly, incorporating it into the next move so it almost looks like they meant to do it - is something I really need to work on. I believe it will come with time though, because already I feel myself attacking instead of flailing when I catch an edge, and responding with the whole boat rather than throwing my weight. I'm going home tomorrow, for the first time since the second of January. But I'll be back soon, next weekend actually - when I might get the opportunity to see how fast I am against some of the best paddlers in Britain!
On an equally positive note, I am starting this year with a new sponsor - the mountainwear brand Dare2b. They are providing all of my clothing for this season's races, including gym wear and thermals. Sponsorship is an incredibly important part of an athletes career, and I'm looking forward to working with Dare2b in the future!
Finally it feels like I understand the way I'm supposed to paddle