Charming Randomness in Pau

We've been in Pau, France since Tuesday preparing for World Cup Race #2 here this weekend. Pau is a really beautiful place but this trip we haven't really had time to take advantage of it. The course is really big and exciting to paddle on, it's quite tough in C2 as you need to react really quickly to the changing water conditions. This was particularly difficult during our first session on Tuesday evening since we had started our journey at 4am in London that day so neither of us was feeling very switched on mentally. Happily we've improved in each session since then and whilst 3 sessions is no where near enough to be completely confident on this course we should have a decent chance in the race.

Last night we attended the opening ceremony for the race which was down at the WW stadium. It began with three pretty boring speeches complete with time consuming translations. The early highlight was Herwig Natmessnig from Austria losing patience half way through the second speech and diving into the bottom pool fully clothed and then swimming out of the stadium down the warmdown channel, quite an exit. It would have been nice to follow him but wouldn't have been as original and probably wouldn't have done my new camera any good. Sadly I forgot I had my camera in my pocket at that point so didn't get a shot of him. Once the speeches finished it actually got pretty amusing with, in true French style, a completely bizarre and, as far as I could fathom, unconnected variety of entertainments. There were some female dancers in white, two lads on Stand Up Paddleboards, daytime powder paint fireworks, a girl in a Zorb on a rope, 4 or so rafts, a whole heap of club kids in slalom boats wearing bibs to represent each nation, funky bubble blowers and some pretty scary looking people on stilts firing huge firey napalm clouds. It was something akin to if you used all the costumes and props from 4 different plays at once. To call it bizarre doesn't really do it justice but it was all the more charming for it. In some ways it quite aptly reflected the course here which changes very randomly but in quite a fun way. Check out the photos below for a taste of what went on.

Racing starts this afternoon with Qualifying for MC1, MK1 and WC1. Hence today is a pretty slow day for us, we'll go down to the course for a gentle paddle this afternoon and watch some of the Qualifying racing to prepare the course for our race tomorrow. You should be able to find live results and perhaps video too via the official race website link below. The big fast whitewater here should guarantee an exciting race so check it out if you get a chance.

Cheers Tim

(Posted on the 15th Jun 2012)
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