The electric atmosphere at the start of this race is something to experience. The race venue has bumping tunes and Andre from Nelo shouting commands from a mic. The first 800m to the hot spot with the world’s best sprinters at the race was expected to be hectic so nerves are on a high!
The count down to the start from a big clock was very fair and the first couple hundred meters were manic. I went as mad as I could off the start and steeled in a bunch with Sean Rice. Sean normally starts way faster than me so felt in good company. In reality though we were only the third bunch.
Leaving the harbour it was messy with lots of rebound from the walls. The sprinter started dropping off 1 by 1 and edged passed a couple boats up into the back of the front bunch. Everything was burning. The first km was the fastest I have paddled in some time. 10km racing is certainly different. Way intense.
Turning in 8th I was happy only being 50m back on the leaders and comfortable. Forearms cramping but under control. I had practiced my line in the days leading up to the event and found a wider line was working better. I passed a Spanish paddler and came up on Jacob Clear in 6th. The wind had created some nice runs and starting have some fun. Moving well in the runs and finding some nice rhythm. Unfortunately I had a little too much fun in the runs and my outside line was too wide. With such a short race there is no room for error.
After 7km I looked up to see I was some way off line. Cutting back towards the finish was half side. It was heart breaking seeing the guys I had passed earlier in the race come back past me on my inside. First Jake, then Max, with Luke and Ben turning 10m in front of me. Came home 10th.
I had a shocker so bad last week in Chicago I felt like going home with my tail between my legs. Its great getting the opportunity to paddle but the other side of the stick come when things don’t go your way and you are far away from any sign of your support system on the other side of the world.
I showed myself you can come out of a dark place and race well. Even with a disappointing 10th place this week I am happy that I left nothing on the course giving it my all. From dark to the light is all I could hope for, learning at every turn.
Nelo put on a great show here for their home town race. These guys know how to make things that much easier for the athlete. They are stoked over the sport and are putting a lot back to make sure it’s future is bright. Well done to Andre and his team. I will be back for many years to come.
Tomorrow is an exhibition lifesaving style spec ski competition. Some 150 plus dudes entered and 27 chicks so going to be a fun day out.