Thursday, October 9, 2008

World Series, The American Open

The World Series, American Open event was held at ASCI (the same venue as Senior Nationals) and athletes from all over the world were there to compete. The C1W had a full class, yet again. It's very nice to see more ladies out in canoes.

I arrived at ASCI on the 30th of September, and trained through the 2nd of October with the National Canoe Team Coach, Cathy Hearn, and the Front Range Paddling Association Coach, Chris Weigand. My training went very well. They were running the course at higher water levels than I had ever paddled on before, so it became very pushy and technical. But as I spent more time on the water, I began to really like how I performed on that sort of water level.

On Friday the 3rd, first runs were held at 11 am. I was the first boat down the course, and had a very smooth run, with only three touches. My second run was faster, but I had 1 more touch. With that combined score, I was in second, and I would move on to finals the next day, along with two other women.

On Saturday morning, we had Semi-finals. I had a decent run, but I wasn't sure it was going to put me in line for first. The two other women took their runs, one of them, Carolyn Peterson, beat me by 11 seconds, while the other, Micki Reeves, didn't finish the course. Carolyn was in first, and she and I were advancing to finals.

Coming into Finals, I knew I had a lot of time to make up if I wanted to pull ahead, but I kept my mind off of the time I needed to cut down on, and focused on mentally "perfecting" the course.

I had a really nice run, and was pretty clean, as far as I can recall, but looking back, most of it is a blur. I finished smiling, and moments later, Carolyn crossed the finish line. She hadn't had a very clean run, and I was in first.

It was my first International event where I placed No. 1, and I'm absolutely ecstatic!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Upcoming Plans

Alright, well, I've been paddling lots locally, at recreational releases and small races, but next week I'm hitting the road again. I'll be headed back to Deep Creek Lake, Maryland for the American Open Race of the World Series. I'm really excited, not only for the great competition at an international level, but also because I'm going to be watching and competing with Olympics medalists, fresh from Beijing!

After the World Series race, I'll have a few days at home, and then I'm headed out to Denver, Colorado, for some training with the Front Range Paddling Association, and their award-winning coach, Christopher Weigand.

Upper Youghiogheny

When I was down in Maryland/West Virginia for Nationals, I also spent some time in Pennslyvania, paddling the Upper Youghiogheny, a class IV-V run, with gorgeous scenery, perfect whitewater, and great people. Hopefully I'll get some pictures from it soon.

Just Remember Why

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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Senior National Championships

Senior National Championships were held at ASCI (Adventure Sports Center International) wich is an artificial whitewater course in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. The course is really unique, because its not only built using concrete, but real rock as well. I went to the course on Monday for training, and met up with Cathy Hearn, my coach, and the other C1W's training for the event. We trained in at least one session every day that was going really well for me, I was definitely feeling confident on Friday (the day before the race). Saturday rolled around, and I was still feeling good. The race was an afternoon race, so the athletes spent the morning walking and re-walking the course....generally killing time. Once the race started up, I got into my gear, warmed up, and got into the start gate. The first run passed by in a blur, and I came out with the fastest C1W time by a long shot....I was very happy. I made the mistake, however, of racing in the Women's kayak class as well. I came into my second C1 run a little too tired, and a little to apprehensive...the run didn't go very well, and I dropped to third place. In kayak, I finished a satisfying fifth...pretty good for not specializing in that category.

All in all, I felt good about the event, and came out with a bronze at Nationals!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Midwest Freestyle Championships

The event kicked off with a great playboating clinic, taught by some members of Team Jackson. The clinic lasted for two days, while athletes from all over the Midwest came to train and practice new moves for the championships. The weekend was when the real competition got going. I had been having o.k. training sessions, but I wasn't feeling exceptionally confident.
Saturday morning, we drove up early, and I got ready for Womens' Expert Prelims. I was really nervous, but I turned in a good ride, and finished 3rd---that was great, and I got to finals! After that I started to get a bit more comfortable. After lunch, I competed in the C1 class. There weren't enough of us to have gender separation, so I competed with the boys....I turned in a really smooth run, and ended up placing first (with one of the highest scores a C1 had ever earned at that venue ; D). My next competition on saturday was the Junior Womens. I guess Saturday was my day, because I ended up winning that as well. Sunday started out with team runs. I got together a womens team, and we had a blast, but didn't place. Then came Womens' Expert Finals. I couldn't really pull it together, and handed in a mediocre ride, which brought me in fourth, one slot short of the head to head for final placing. I was disappointed, but I'm ready to give it my all next year! The race organizers held a boater-x, which was a total blast (my wave had some exceptional carnage that may have made its way to YouTube....). All in all, it was an awesome event, and I came out happy with two 1sts and a 4th place. Next up: West Virginia!

Sea Kayaking in the Apostles

What a beautiful trip! The Apostle Islands are an archipelago in Lake Superior, that are home to some gorgeous sea caves, lighthouses, sunsets, and more....and I just got to spend two weeks sea kayaking there! I was out with five other girls, and we visited 15 of the 18 islands. We put in at Bayfield, WI, and 85.5 miles later, took out in Little Sand Bay, WI. Our trip was determined to make it out to the beautiful, but evasive, Devil's Island, and we got lucky. With great weather, and small waves, we made it all the way. We spent one of our nights there, saw the historic and beautiful light house, and then the next day, we paddled to the other side and went thru all of the sea caves. One of my other favorite islands was Raspberry. We didn't stay the night there, but we did stop and play croquette, and see yet another gorgeous lighthouse, while we were on our way to Sand Island. It wasn't anything like whitewater, but it was still a blast!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

August Plans

Well, I'm getting ready to go on a two week sea kayaking trip up in the Apostle Islands in Lake Superior...I must admit, I'm going to be out of my element in a sea kayak, but I'm really looking forward to the endurance training I'm going to get, and I'll be paddling with a really fun group. The Apostles are supposed to be some of the most beautiful sea kayaking in the states....I'll be sure to get lots of pictures! Right after I get home (literally, the day after I get home) I'm going up to the Wausau Whitewater Park, for Midwest Freestyle Championships, which I can't wait for! I'll get two solid days of training in, and then there is a two day competition. Then, I get about three days of down time at home before I'm heading to West Virginia! I'm going to get as much time as I can running rivers (hopefully, I'll get some Gauley time, as well as being on the New) and playboating, and then I'm going to be going to ASCI (another artificial whitewater course), in Wisp, Maryland, where I'll be competing in Slalom Nationals.

Werner Paddle!

After a couple of weeks of waiting, it's here! My beautiful Werner Bandit has arrived, and I can't wait to get in the water with it. I'm planning on using it for the Midwestern Freestyle Championships, and when I go down to West Virginia for some paddling.

More later...

Distance Day

The other day, my mom, dad, and I went down to this area called Germania Marsh to do some long distance paddling. I decided to take out the old Dagger Atom, and get some good lactic training in. It was a long paddle, and I made myself switch to being a lefty for the majority of the time. It was good training, and a beautiful day.

Friday, July 25, 2008

No way, Flatwater?

It wasn't exactly the adrenaline rush I'm normally looking for, but my friend Olivia and I decided I nice little float-trip would be fun. And it definitely was. It was a gorgeous day, and we paddled a beutiful little strecth of the Plover River. We actually did run into a class 2 little rapid, but ran it dry (whew, we didn't have and air bags). We took a break and swam and had a picnic, and all in all, had a great day...even without the whitewater!

Blog Day

This past Monday I was down in Madison to spend some time with friends, and to get a bit of help with my blog. It was great to learn some of the quirks of blogging. With the help of "Uncle D" (Darren Bush of Rutabaga Paddlesports Shop), I got some new links up, and got my new header. It was a fun day, and I learned lots!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


For those of you who read my blog, I'd like to clarify some things. I'm sorry if terms such as "C1W, K1W, and C2" don't register, I should've explained this earlier. I oftem use these terms when I'm talking about slalom paddling. Slalom is when you paddled down a river through certain gates, going downstream thru green gates, and upstream thru red gates. You gain a 2 second penalty if you touch a gate, and a 50 second penalty if you miss one entirely. C1W, K1w, and C2 are categories that I race in. C1 and C2 stand for Canoe 1-person and Canoe 2-people. The canoes are decked, and look alot like slalom kayaks, but you are kneeling and using a single bladed paddle, rather than sitting and using a double bladed paddle (as you would if you were in a kayak). K1 stands for Kayak 1-person. The W attached to the end of C1, K1, and C2 classifies my gender (W standing for womens). If the W is left off the end of the abbreviation, it means the racer is a guy. In the case of a C2, you can have C2W (Doubles Canoe Womens), C2 (Doubles Canoe Mens), or C2Mixed (Doubles Canoe Mixed).

I also refer to "Freestyle" alot. Freestyle (also known as playboating) is when you enter a hydraulic (a wave or a hole) and try to throw tricks. There are tons of different tricks, (I don't know the names of alot of them ; D), and they take alot of practice to become consitant. When you compete in a freestyle competition, it is called a Rodeo.

I'm sorry for any confusion my readers have had. Please, If you ever have any questions or comments, feel free to tell me!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Dells

Yesterday my dad took me up to the Dells of the Eau Claire (some good Wisconsin whitewater), so we could drop the falls there a couple of times. The falls are pretty small, but fun. It starts out with a slide into a little canyon section, which is about seven feet wide, into a five or six foot falls, into a box canyon, and an immediate right turn, another drop, and then you paddle out thru another canyon. It was a fun day, and good to be in the boat.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Women in Canoes

For several decades, men have been paddling C1 and C2 (solo decked canoe, doubles decked canoe) in the Olympics. Decades. And this year was the first time women were allowed a Senior National Team for C1....but we still aren't allowed to go to the Olympics! I just recently heard that the US is sending four boats to Beijing....which is fabulous, but guess what? Only one of them is female.

I think it's time for the ICF to recognize that girls can paddle canoes too, and it's definitely time to let us compete internationally. If you agree, feel free to contact the International Canoe Federation and tell them what you think.

Hey, it's half the stick, but twice the chick!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Junior Olympic Whitewater Festival/Results

Whew, well, after a month of non-stop paddling, it has come to an end. It was a blast. The Junior Olympic Whitewater Festival was held in Wausau, Wisconsin (same location as Age Group Nationals) and kicked off with some fun and easy flatwater sprint events, then we moved the competition onto white water. The first whitewater event was the extreme slalom, in which I placed first in C1w, and second in K1w. I also placed first in C2w (with my partner Cara Marks, from Canada). The next day we had the boater-x's basically a downriver sprint, where they release you against a bunch of other boats, and you try to be the first to cross the finish's really fun. I was fortunate, and placed first in the boater-x event as well. Then we competed in the Wildwater Race, which ended really well for me (although I'd never paddled a Downriver boat before) and I ended up placing first in Womens Downriver Kayak, and second in C1w Slalom. Then, one of my most favorite events---the rodeo! It was a great competition, and we even had a full C1 class! I was so excited. I turned in some decent rides, landed some clean airloops, had a good numberof cartwheels, and moved on to finals (even though I was competing against boys) in both C1 and kayak (I had to borrow a friends kayak playboat, because mine is outfitted as a C1). It was really fun. In finals, I gave it my all and finished third in both classes against the boys, and first in both classes for girls. The last two days of the festival were dedicated to the Slalom finals. The first day I raced in C1w and K1w, and laid down a couple of clean runs, which had me finishing a satisfying second. The second day was the C2 competition. I raced C2w with my "Canadian sister" Cara, and C2 Mixed with my friend JP Griffith from Colorado. Both of our teams did exceptionally well, for not having alot of training time missed gates, and barely any touches. Cara and I finished 1st, and JP and I placed third. In the end, I brought home 14 awards, including the All Around Points Leader ( known as the "Rivermeisterin" award) and the "Olympic Spirit" award, which is a traveling trophy awarded to a different athlete every year, and I was really touched by receiving it. In conclusion to this event, I want to thank my parents and family for all of their support, my coaches; Chris Wiegand, David Kurtz, Nick Borst, Jeff Gette, and (although she wasn't present at this event) Cathy Hearn, my sponsors; Rutabaga Paddlesport Shop, Palm Equiptment, MTi, Werner Paddles, and Smartwool, and all of my friends who make this sport such an important part of my life.

Ray McLain Training Camp/Age Group Nationals

The Ray McLain Camp was in Wausau, Wisconsin, and was a great training opportunity. I got in my playboat, and made a ton of progress, being able to play on whitewater with really talented paddlers. I also trained in my C1 and kayak for Age Group Nationals, which were held the weekend after the camp. Age Groups was another fun event. I raced well, and ended up first for all age groups in C1w and K1w.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Junior National Team Trials

We headed out to Colorado for this event, which was held on the whitewater park in downtown Golden. It's a beatiful place, and a nice, fairly easy course. I got out there a week early, so I could get some extra time on the water, and train with some coaches. Coaches Raffal Smolen and Chris Wiegand worked with me, and I feel like they made a massive impact on my paddling style that week. Unfortunately, in the days leading up to the race I got really sick, some sort of stomach flu I guess, and I was really weak by the time the race rolled around. I still raced, but didn't do very well. I still finished second in C1W, but couldn't keep myself together enough to finish well in kayak. Oh well, I guess I'm too young to make the team anyways, so I'll just give it my best shot next year.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Olympic Trials/Senior National Team Trials

Wow, what an incredible competition. Olympic/Senior National Team Trials were held in Charlotte, NC, at the US National Whitewater Center (USNWC). The USNWC is an beautiful artificial whitewater course with fun and chalenging class IV rapids, and is great for slalom and freestyle competitions. Anyways, I was down there in April for trials, and I competed in the first ever official Womens' C1 category! The slalom course was really intense and chalenging, and the competition was great, and I finished second, behind Colleen Hickey, and became the youngest person to ever make senior team, as well as second boat on the first Womens' C1 Senior National Team in history. It was pretty cool. I qualified for Pre-Worlds in Seu, Spain, but I'm going to stay in the States for the Junior Olympics. I think next year will be my year to go international.