Diary of a middle aged kayaker

World Masters Games, Auckland 2017; Dropping the weight of expectations.

The WMG have been my training focus for the last couple of years, and I’ve put in plenty of time and effort to prepare. It was a treat to be on the start line with world class paddlers like Peter Micheler, Vincent Fondeviole and Donald Johnstone. Off-water, the camaraderie of the Masters Games made it [...]

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Look through the gate

I was recently tackling short gate sequences on the two big drops at Lee Valley. These ‘feature moves’ are easy to get wrong, but they feel fantastic when you nail them, and require a precise combination of boat speed, angle and position.  Typically this involves coming down one side of the drop and surfing across [...]

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Chasing a percentage?

I’ve now raced in 4 Premier division slaloms since gaining promotion in the summer, with my final race, the British Open, coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m still getting to grips with the challenges of Premier and my results have been between 36th  – 42nd .   Better than last place, but not setting [...]

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Slalom update – process or outcome?

I wrote about the challenge of goal setting in my last blog post. Having a clear outcome goal increases motivation, but can also be tricky because outcome goals are uncontrollable and take our focus into the future, and being future focused during a competition tends to increase anxiety. This is a very personal challenge for [...]

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“You don’t stop paddling because you get old, you get old because you stop paddling”

The 2013 slalom season 2013 has been an amazing slalom season. I’ve achieved much of what I set out to do and really enjoyed myself along the way. My first slalom career lasted from 1978 to 1990, so I feel immensely appreciative that I’m able to have a second crack at this brilliant sport.  Watching [...]

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Ivrea World Masters Games

I’ve written a descriptive report of the Masters Games for Sportscene (http://www.sportscene.tv/whitewater/canoe-slalom/news/canoe-slalom-at-the-torino-world-masters-games) so now I’m taking a much more personal perspective, in keeping with the ethos of Diary of a Middle Aged Kayaker. “Have no fear of perfection – you’ll never reach it.” ― Salvador Dali I came across this quote at a Dali art [...]

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Final preparations

I’m now in my final few days of training to complete my preparations for the slalom at the World Masters Games.  The WMG takes place in Ivrea on 7 August, and it’s been the focus of my training for the last 15 months. When I first wrote about the WMG back in December, I said [...]

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The slalom season begins

Most of my recent paddling has been in a slalom boat, training at Lee Valley.  GB Canoeing has started twice weekly training sessions as part of its Olympic Legacy programme, and although this is targeted at young paddlers I’ve been able to join in.  As Paul Ratcliffe said, it’s about creating a healthy slalom ecosystem [...]

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Wet weekend in Dartmoor and the art of decisions

My paddling highlight so far for 2013 has been a wet and cold January weekend in Dartmoor. Paddling with a good crew, we managed three excellent rivers with good water levels. First up was the Upper Plym, a beautiful steep Grade 4 / 5 run that the guidebook calls the ‘jewel in the crown’ of [...]

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Destination Ivrea – World Masters Games

2013 is shaping up to be a big year for me. For a start I turn 50 this month and that feels like a significant milestone.  It’s also a year in which the quadrennial World Master Games takes place, and there’s a slalom event at Ivrea in early August.   http://www.torino2013wmg.org  I decided a couple of [...]

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