I’m just over halfway through my trip after two very good weeks of training in Dubai. We always say Dubai but that’s actually just where we fly in to… It’s a two hour drive out into the desert to ‘Al Ain’ where the white water course ‘Wadi Adventure’ lies. It’s fast, steep, and there isn’t a whole going on around it which does make it quite a spectacle from up high like some kind of desert oasis.
As much as I enjoyed a slightly more laid back approach in New Zealand it was good to have some structure again: slot times, coaching, and a competitive group to train with. But I did take a lot of energy into the trip which was reflected in debrief with Marc who said I look happy, and it looks to be having a very positive effect on my paddling. I agree with that, I’m excited by the projects we’re working on and feeling an awful lot of love for this sport at the moment!
We’re still very much in a development phase of the year, building the engine and drilling some technical subtleties. This focus will remain very much the same in Australia looking to add the speed and competitive edge when I get home in March (In time for the season starting with European Championships in May).
(Photo credit: Ryan Westley)
We took a day off on the middle Sunday of the trip to go ‘touristing’ in Dubai. The scale of the place is insane! You could get a bad neck from looking up at all the skyscrapers including the tallest in the world ‘Burj (Burgess) Khalifa’… Nice of them to name it after me ;) It was a cool city to explore but I’m not sure I could spend long there, the best part of that day by far was managing a quick dip in the sea before driving back to Al Ain!
(Photo credit: Mark Delaney)
I’m definitely feeling the last four weeks of training, it’s been a big block so I’m taking this first week in Australia a little easier to get some recovery and adaptation. I’m actually racing at the end of this week, the Australian Open. I’m treating it as a good chance to sit on a start line but we’ll see if I can make some more of it. I’ll be taking some fatigue into it (not to mention the jet lag!) but I’m hopeful that I can still produce a decent performance. Paddling at Penrith is like a playground for slalom athletes so whatever the race results are, I’m set up for an awesome month of training here!