It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, first going out to Duisburg for the World Cup to race in my first international wearing a GB shirt, then coming back to head straight off on our first Climbing Out programme of the year with 12 inspiring young people all in recovery from cancer.
So where do I begin…..Well the World Cup was a huge learning curve! I didn’t deliver the performance I’d hoped for, but boy did I learn a lot! I’ll be honest, I went out there with such high expectations of myself and I was disappointed with how I paddled. I finished 3rd in my heat, which put me through to the finals on the Saturday. I felt strong and well prepared, but in the heat of the moment my lack of race experience showed and I paddled a weak second half of the race finishing 6th. Yes, I was pretty annoyed with myself, because I’m capable of paddling so much better…but, the point of going out there was to learn, and I did that in bucket loads!
It was an amazing experience to be out there as part of the squad, and I felt incredibly proud….I had to take a moment sitting on the start line and just take in just what was happening! Kelda Wood, who’d dreamed of representing her country from being a young kid, was sat there wearing her GB shirt and was part of the most incredible team. It really did feel pretty special. OK, I was disappointed, but it’s about taking away the learnings and moving forwards….I better just make sure I get my bum in gear now and put all those learnings into practise in time for the selections for the World Championships on the 5th July.
That in itself is a pretty scary thought! I’ve just 5 weeks to pull my socks up! The reality is, that at the minute, I’m not going fast enough….I know I’m capable, but it’s just not quite coming together on the water. But now’s the time to trust the coaches, stick to my processes….and get my head down and work hard! We have the most amazing team here and with their support I fully believe I can do it….let’s just hope it happens sooner rather than later!!
I then had less than 24 hours at home before heading up to the Lake District for our Climbing Out programme. It kinda puts things into perspective really…we get so wound up about paddling 200 metres, and then you meet the most amazing group of young people all in recovery from cancer, and I suddenly feel quite selfish getting so focused on winning races!
I can never quite pin point the magic that happens on the programmes, but something incredibly special takes place. To see the young people support each other, develop friendship and push themselves to do things they would never have believed possible at the start of the week, makes me so proud of the young people and everything that they achieve on the programmes. I truly believe the week had a life changing impact on many of the guys that took part and I hope they all left with that little bit more confidence and self-belief that will help them to get out there and live life.
After all, that’s what it’s all about………