Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Junior National Team Trials

Another great week! I trained and playboated at the Nantahala for the week following the U.S. Open. I had a great race to look forward too!
As the week progressed, more junior paddlers (ages 15 to 18) poured into the gorge from all over the country to train and prepare for the race. I was pleased to see more girls out on the river as well!

I trained hard, with my coaches Cathy Hearn and Nic Borst, and when the weekend rolled around I was feeling confident. Race day began, and the course was difficult, but manageable, with a hard boof move over the falls, and some deceptive-looking offset gates.
I laid down a clean kayak run, which put me in first, and a mostly-clean canoe run (one touch), which also had me seated in first place. The afternoon runs were a little more difficult, because I was getting tired, but I finished day one of racing still at the top.
The next morning dawned, perfect racing conditions of 80 degrees and sunny! I was a little apprehensive about the new course, which contained a difficult crossing through a hydraulic, but I performed a clean canoe run, although my kayak run was less-than satisfactory.

My afternoon runs made up for my morning runs, however, and I finished the race in 1st for women's kayak, and 1st for women's canoe!

This was all fantastic, and I was really content with how I did. Unfortunately, the team requirements mandate that in order to make team, your time has to be within a certain percentage of the top men's kayak. This is difficult, because the top men's kayak was a sixteen-year-old who trains full time at the Olympic-caliber Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC.

I was about 10% our of range, so although I was the fastest women's boat, I did not 'technically' make the team.

The good news is that a separate Junior Trip has been planned for this August, and I have been a member selected for that trip, so I have a lot of training and travel to look forward to this season!

Thanks, as always, for reading, supporting, and just checking in! Should be a great, paddling-filled summer!

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