NEWS

Augsburg World Cup - On the Silver Step.

After Cardiff we traveled out to Augsburg in Germany for World Cup Race 2. The GB Team for the race was predominately an U23 team so it was a fun week spent with fresh traveling companions. I'm now the oldest athlete on the team at 34 which seems crazy, my first major senior international at Augsburg was the World Champs 10 years ago in 2003! The time has certainly passed quickly but chatting with David Ford of Canada who is still racing and first raced Augsburg at the Pre-Worlds in '84 made me feel better and put things into perspective.

Building up to the race we had a decent week of training including some very early morning sessions to get extra practice on the whitewater before the official training slots started at 8am. The first day we did this we got up at 6am which felt like 5am since we had just traveled from UK to European time, Carpe Diem indeed! We also managed to fit in some of our favourite Augsburg traditions, kebab at the Schwaben Centre, pizza at Dolce Vita, etc.

Races at Augsburg are normally characterised by a tricky race course which is hard to plan because the powerfully changeable whitewater makes it hard to predict exactly what water conditions you will encounter. This makes it both exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. After a good race in Cardiff we were determined to execute the same process focusing on our own performance but in Augsburg it was a bit trickier to be confident about what was going to happen.

We had a decent first run in the heats and were confident of having done enough to qualify but were also keen to improve so we would have a better start position in the Semi. For the second run we changed our plan slightly and then in execution a split second decision resulted in me trying to go right of a submerged rock that Etienne wanted to go left off. This mistake meant we failed to improve and so we qualified in 8th place for the Semi.

For the Semi & Final the course was again tricky with some unpredictable moves. We had a solid run in the Semi, some sections worked out a little bit conservative which wasn't our plan but we had a clean run and so qualified for the final in 6th place.

After reviewing the video of Semi's we spotted a few bits we could improve on so went out to try and have a racey final run. As it happened we caught some decent breaks with the water and did our best to take advantage of them as well as pushing pretty hard through the staggers. We collected a touch just past half way when we misjudged a tricky stagger but even with the 2sec penalty we were fast enough to go into the lead at the finish. Immediately after our run we were satisfied with our own performance but now we needed to wait to find out where we would end up. The following crews were all on good runs but due to the tricky course no-one managed to stay in front of us to the finish... Until the French crew of Klauss/Peche snatched the lead away with a clean run. The Hochschorners were on a great run but bombed out on the last upstream gate when they were rejected by the stopper. This meant that Klauss/Peche won followed by us in 2nd and the Polish crew Szczepanski/Pochwala in 3rd.

Overall we were happy with our race run which was really exciting and also pretty chuffed to make it onto the podium. We've raced a lot of World Cups over the years and often been close to the podium so anytime you get to stand on it is really special... and better still it was actually Etienne's birthday!!

We celebrated with some super tasty local food at the Kussmuehle after our final Augsburg tradition, a swim down the whitewater course which was extremely cold this year!

An implication of our results at the first two races of this years World Cup is that we are currently winning the World Cup Overall which is pretty cool :-)

Right now we're in La Seu d'Urgell, Spain and the third race of the series kicks off tomorrow so we'll have to see if we can maintain our form, we're certainly going to do our best.

So... that's all for now, many congratulations if you have completed the whole trilogy, thanks for reading.

Cheers Tim

(Posted on the 4th Jul 2013)
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