The last month has certainly had it's challenges, but that's only added to how amazingly rewarding picking up my first World Cup medal at the weekend was!
On the podium. Enjoying the moment up there with slalom 'royalty'
In sport, it can only take short run of poor performances before your confidence takes a knock. We knew I was fatigued coming into this years World Cup campaign, and we were happy with that knowing that it formed a part of a bigger picture for the 2017 season aiming to peak for the World Championships in October. I took the positives and ran with them where I could, but I would be lying if I said that the poor start to the season hadn't affected me. 'Maybe I'm not actually as good as people think I am? Maybe the consistency I found last season was just a fluke?' are just a couple of examples of some of the thoughts it gave me. I'm an optimistic guy, so negative feelings are often short-lived so I brushed a lot of it off and focused on the bigger picture and the lessons we could learn from those performances.
Portrait shot for ICF World Cup race 3, Markkleeberg #weliveslalom
We took stock of what had changed since selection where despite the limited preparations I had because of my shoulder injury I still produced performances as good as any I'd ever done! Volume of training was one, and a change of boat the other. We aimed to 'peak' at selection, so I put the weights down for a little while and massively emphasised quality over quantity for my water time. But with the time I missed over winter I simply couldn't afford to do this for this year's World Cup circuit. I've had to keep my training volume high and stay in the gym to catch up some of what I've missed in order to be at my peak in October. But the new boat, that was something we could play with...
With the new boat in Prague, also supporting CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young)
Post selection, I switched from the 'What Else?' to the 'Line'. A good move we thought! The Line is the latest model by Galasport and it's lively and a lot of fun to paddle, I'd still recommend trying it to anyone! However, the 'What Else?' just compliments my style/philosophy so well that I'm switching back to it for the remainder of the season. It was an experiment for last week and not only the result but the performances as well speak for themselves so it's an easy decision to make. I felt just like I did when I was at my best last season, I have confidence in my ability to put runs down again. To some extent I feel like a passenger.. Prepare well and then just hit 'GO' and feel the rest. I put a lot of work into developing my style and approach to racing. It's a formula we're not going to mess with again any time soon. Important lesson learned there. It's time to continue building the project in the same way, one step at a time, and maybe next time I'm in that situation it'll be the top step of the podium I'm standing on!
Action shot from World Cup 1 in Prague, Czech Republic
Cheers for all the messages of congratulations (and support when things weren't going so well) it really does mean a lot! I'm back home now and straight back into training. I took a 'day off' yesterday although that ended up meaning bouldering for a few hours in the afternoon and yoga in the evening! I'll rest well don't worry, but I'm looking for a big push now until the end of August before I start to taper things down for my run in to the World Championships. See you on the water!
In the mixed zone after the semi-final. Told the crowd I'd be aiming for the podium in the final!
British Canoeing article
BBC Sport article
Final run video