Cardiff World Cup - Deja Vu 2012.

The day after our visit to the palace we traveled to Cardiff to train in preparation for the first World Cup of the season. After our poor showing at the European Championships we were very determined to give the race a really good shot so we got stuck into trying to master the swirly whitewater of the Cardiff International Whitewater Stadium.

Cardiff is an interesting race for us, it's a "home" race but because we don't spend much time training there we don't benefit from much "home advantage". Never the less its always a privilege to race in front of a home crowd and the support we received over the weekend was awesome. The race format was a bit unusual with Heats and Semi-Final on one day and Final run the next morning. This format meant we were busy for most of the time we were down the course. It was a bit of a shame since when we were knocking around inspecting the course etc. some people were interested in our autographs but we didn't have time to stop and oblige. We felt bad about this because normally we're happy to autograph anything :-). If you were there and we missed signing something for you feel free to send it to us c/o GB Canoeing, John Dudderidge House, Adbolton Lane, West Bridgford, Nottingham, NG2 5AS. If you send a Stamped and SAE envelope we're more than happy to sign it and drop it back in the post to you.

On to the racing, a challenging course was set by our coach Gareth Wilson and French coach Jean-Yves Prigent. In the heats we had a solid first run and then a better second run and ended up winning the Heats. It felt really good to be back on the pace after the disappointment of Krakow. I think we did a better job of racing without inhibition and managed really aggressive free flowing performances.

With a short break for the course to be changed it was onto the Semi-Final... We had a good run on the top three quarters and were a bit sketchy on the last section but managed to do enough to qualify for the final.

After reviewing the video we saw we could pick out a few places to save time but it was still quite hard to decide how to tackle the very difficult final quarter of the course. We made the best choice we could and then committed to our plan. Our run in the final went pretty well, by no means perfect but some very fast sections and overall a good execution of our plan. At the finish we were satisfied with our performance but not sure that it would be enough for a medal, although having done a clean run should help so we figured it would be close.

In the end it was spooky deja vu for us with a fourth place finish behind the same three crews as last year at this race. Congratulations to our team mates Florence/Hounslow who bagged a Silver medal this time and to the Hochschorners and Taljat/Bozic for Gold and Bronze respectively (last year it was 1.Florence/Hounslow, 2.Taljat/Bozic, 3.Hochshorners, 4.Us).

Finishing 4th, tantalisingly close to the podium (less than a second off Silver) can be frustrating but overall after our miserable European Championships we were mostly incredibly relieved to be racing like ourselves again and to have been on the pace all weekend. When we reviewed the run we concluded that the choice we made at the bottom might not have been the best despite us executing our plan pretty well.

Overall Cardiff was a great weekend of racing for GB with Lizzie Neave storming the K1W final to take Gold and also Kim Woods and Mallory Franklin taking Gold and Bronze respectively in WC1.

Thanks to all the spectators for the support and well done to all the volunteers who helped make the event happen. For us as athletes it's awesome having races at home in the UK which wouldn't be possible without so many volunteers giving up their time to help out. Cheers!!!

(Posted on the 3rd Jul 2013)
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