As I write this I'm sat in Dubai airport with a double espresso waiting for the rest of the British team to arrive from London. Yesterday I was in Sydney, and the day before that Auckland so I'm feeling pretty tired! Fortunately it's my rest day so all I have to do today is to try and stay awake! That should be made a bit easier once my teammates arrive... My coach Marc Domenjo and team-mate Mark Proctor took deliver of some freshly roasted coffee beans which Django Coffee Co sent to Lee Valley for me. Very much looking forward to opening a bag up and no doubt it'll be very useful in helping to adjust to yet another time zone!
But enough about Dubai, that's for the next post! The 2nd half of my New Zealand trip was equally as awesome as the first leaving me not really wanting to leave! (Guess I'll just have to go back next year!).
We kicked off by taking a drive south to Mangahao for the weekend... The 6 hour drive flew by as the scenery kept changing with almost every turn from lakes, to forests, to mountains, and to grassy 'hobbit hole' like hills.. Our tour guides Finn and Ben (Fun and Bun) even pointed out 'Mount Doom' to us off of Lord of The Rings.
Mangahao itself was a saweeet weekend of training! Big thanks to the NZ canoeing federation for letting us access the water slots and crash in the hall by the river. Planet Canoe have a great video of the course there if you want to check it out: https://www.facebook.com/planetcanoe/videos/10153303357693848/
The course there has a bit more length to it than where we were training at Okere Falls so it was nice to get a feel for a full length slalom run on the Sunday morning when I did some loops. The eddies were all pretty sweet for upstreams and there were a few waves and features to allow for some tricky moves to be set.
I finished the weekend with a gym session which meant finding a suitable tree to hang my gymnastics rings from. I managed to find a beauty of a spot down by the main drop on the course and in the shade so I was able to watch some canoeing whilst I worked out, decent.
We spent more time on the Kaituna at Okere Falls when we got back north and I think I must've done too many upstreams because I had to drop a session on the Tuesday with a bit of a pulled bicep. All good to carry on again Wednesday, and my upstream project itself has been going very well! The main 'chute' section of the Kaituna really is amazing for repeat work and drilling techniques. It's super changeable so although it wouldn't be great for racing it does make you need to react quickly.. and it's also super fun!
By this point most of the local paddlers were spending their time in Kawerau preparing for their upcoming selection races. We decided to check it out on Friday before driving to Auckoand ready for my early morning flight on Saturday.
Again, another fun course in an awesome setting. Granted, it was a little 'bony' so we had to be careful of our equipment, but I still thought it was a good course to paddle... For the Brits reading this, it had a kind of 'mini Grandtully' feel to it.
So then the big trip to Dubai began! Mike Taylor dropped me off at Auckland and I got into Sydney Saturday morning. Big thanks to Ros Lawrence for picking me up there and giving me a lift to Penrith White Water Stadium where I managed to fit a cheeky session in before British teammate Rhys Davies gave me a lift back to the airport in time to catch my flight here.
So now it's off into the desert for a couple of weeks! Training at Wadi Adventure... an extremely different setting to where I have been, but still awesome so this should be another good 2 weeks.
From memory the wifi isn't great there so you'll be seeing a little less of #slalommakesmetravel... I can hear your cheers from here!
Video from part 2 here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PVVH84dN5iQ