The course itself was a classic Grandtully affair; high water limits constructor's options considerably. Tully is at it's best when the enormous standing waves in the middle are made use of, and this year didn't disappoint. I had a very average first run, with a lot of eddies catching me out and stalling my boat. My second run was much quicker, and I felt a lot more ruthless in the way I dealt with my boat. Because the courses at Tully are so open and physical, I get a rare opportunity to sprint at my full pace without losing control. I did feel really fast in my second run, give or take a couple of tiny details; except, to my coach's rage, the last gate. It was one of those moments all canoeists can relate to. Your mental voice is going, 'now lets not touch the last gate, its been such a good run, don't touch it...!' Of course, inevitably, this is a recipe for a touch. All you can do is hold on to the last few strokes and power to the finish.
At the end of the weekend, I was U23 Champion for the third year in a row, and slightly closer in time to the winner, Fiona Pennie, than in previous years. Every second is progress, and even at smaller races like this it is immensely satisfying to paddle in a home environment with your teammates. It is also an interesting feeling when winning my category, but coming second overall, isn't quite enough anymore. Its amazing to feel like I've improved, and I have years more training to get through before I can start thinking about being that kind of level, but suddenly its in sight.