I had a great weekend of racing in La Seu d'Urgell! It's a venue that I've always enjoyed paddling and the chilled vibe in Seu makes it one of my favourite parts of the world. It's the hometown of my coach Marc Domenjo so it's always great vibes all around when we get to train/compete there!
So the ICF World Cup circuit moved from World Cup 1 in Ivrea (Italy) to World Cup 2 in La Seu (Spain). We travelled overnight after racing finished in Ivrea and after a sleep-in on Monday morning began preparations for World Cup 2.
One of my favourite things about La Seu is that we always stay in the town, just a short walk from the venue which makes training seem super relaxed, not having to arrange times for cars to leave the hotel etc.
So onto the race! I had a fairly comfortable heats to progress to the semi-final in 15th place. I had a few time losses on that run so it's good for me to know that I have a bit of time in hand / room for error and still qualify through to the semi-final stage pretty comfortably!
I had a great semi-final run! Kept it clean and executed my plan pretty close to how I wanted to qualify for the final in 6th place. Now, this is my first World Cup final for almost 4 years!!! That was a pretty special day in Prague when I finished 4th in the World Cup aged just 19. But the week after was the beginning of a lengthy spell of back issues and I'd say it probably took me until last year to fully recover and start to race to my potential again!
I was very disappointed to miss out on the final in Ivrea after paddling so well and really only missing out because of one mistake. The quality of the start line here in La Seu was much much tougher though so making the final here does feel extra special!
I gave it everything in the final but was unable to challenge for medals unfortunately by picking up 6 seconds in penalties. My run had started off so well, I was the fastest athlete to the halfway point at gate 12 but after a mistake there, I failed to refocus quick enough and lost my usual composure somewhat. I think it takes experience to deal with those situations better and I see it as a very useful learning in terms of my Tokyo 2020 project that I should never try to 'chase' a run like that after making a mistake.
Buzzing to have been in the final and currently I sit in the top ten overall in World Cup standings just a few points behind the top 3 so another good result in Pau this week will leave me in an excellent position going into World Cups 4 and 5(Final) later this year!
Videos of heats and final runs on my Facebook page here:
....annnd I've been receiving a lot of messages about what my reaction at the finish line was all about so I'll clear that up too...
We call it 'The Crazy Horse' and it was just a small tribute to my buddies from my winter training in New Zealand / Australia. From the Kiwi movie 'Boy' :)