Fourth is Gold

August 23, 2008

I am still coming down from the whole experience of the last four years. So I thought I would just do a quick update to say thanks to all those people who have supported me. Hopefully I will get a more comprehensive update out around the middle of the coming week.

I am really happy with my race. I didn’t achieve my goal of becoming Olympic champion but personally I am very satisfied with what I have been able to achieve with how I have been going. In a funny way fourth feels like Gold to me.

I am not bothered that I was fourth as I missed bronze by a bit. Given where I am physically at I feel I have had the psychological race of my career.

Now I will enjoy watching the rest of the racing and sit back and relax.

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Olympic Villiage

August 11, 2008

I have had a great start to my time in Beijing. At this stage training has been conservative just allowing time to settle in and adjust to the climate and the different lifestyle that the village brings.

When we first arrived we were welcomed into the village with a Haka led by Dallas Seymour. Inspiring stuff.

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On the flight from Sydney to China I felt privileged to be seated beside none other than Olympic 800m champ Steve Ovett who was on his way to the games for a commentating role. Interesting guy and very humble.
Speaking of humble as we walked in we ran into Julian Dean. Top Kiwi Tour de France rider. Last time I spoke to Julian was in Athens and I was impressed with what a down to earth guy he was. Still the same it was a reminder of just how special it is to be in the Olympic Village. Around world class Athletes without the try hard attitudes.

Today to avoid driving out to the course twice or having a long day out there ( as its 40mins to 1hr away) I decided to do a light aerobic session on the treadmill and ergs in the gym based inside the village, then after lunch travel out to the course for one paddle session. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the gym. I had to constantly remind myself it was just a light wake up session as it was easy to find yourself wanting to get stuck into a serious work out which wasn’t the objective. It was motivating working out in the company of over 100 other world class athletes. The lay and equipment was top of the line.

On the way back from the gym I saw World Time trial champion and multiple Tour de France stage winner Fabian Cancellara – the swiss rider who took the bronze in the mens road race who was being interviewed outside their apartments which are right next door to us. He was kind enough to chat for a bit and have a photo taken with me.

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Departure

August 9, 2008

Just before I go I thought I would show you a cool little surprise I received the other day from Red Beach school.

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Inside the posters are lots and lots of heartfelt hand written messages. Really cool so thanks kids. I hope you will enjoy following the Olympics as much as I will enjoying taking part in them.

Last chance work out

August 7, 2008

Only one more day to go and I am on the plane to Beijing. Yesterday I had my last chance gym work out before the big “weigh in” two weeks away.

I am really pleased with how I have been able to hold onto strength while leaning up a bit on the body fat. I am now down to 84kgs which is 3kg less than when I raced in Europe. On the dumbbell rows which is my favorite exercise I have maintained strength despite dropping off the excess weight which is good.

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Feeling the Love

August 4, 2008

It has been so good to come back to New Zealand – home.

The amount of support and energy that I have received since Ive been back has been overwhelming! As my lead up to Athens in 2004 was all based in Europe I didnt really understand how much support there was.

To all the people that have emailed, come up to me in the street or over to me when Ive been out for dinner thank you very much! It really means a lot.

I have worked really really hard this year and havnt quite been able to express the level of paddling that I have worked so hard to attain.

I know its in there somewhere and although Ive had some doubt I am not giving in! I am really looking forward to the Olympic experience now that Ive had the opportunity to come home and catch my breath. It has been an unexpected bonus to be home so close to the games. It has allowed me to reconnect with what it means to represent your country at the highest level rather than just oneself.

Home run

July 28, 2008

Last week I decided that it was time to come home for the last part of my build up running into the games.

Nearly 3 months living out of bags away from home and only being a few hours from NZ I couldn’t resist flying home for a bit. For sure the weather is rubbish but the freshness of sleeping in my own bed and catching up with my fiancĂ© and friends shouldn’t be underestimated. Its nice to dump my 40kg worth of gear and repack for Beijing.

The training camp in Rocky has been without question the best that I have been on. The water was mint. Even the wind if it did come up was a nice consistent type of wind that was never far off being in line of the direction that we were paddling.

We had access to a great coaching boat that Ferg and Macka used to coach the team. The food in Rocky has fantastic thanks to Fergs wife Ally who has tons of experience cooking for hungry athletes. I feel like I have really maintained my condition which has always been a battle for me going into big races so thanks Ally.

The only thing on my mind and a few other peoples although we tried not to dwell on was the fact that we were sharing the river with crocs! And I am not talking about ugly chic repelling footwear! Towards the end of last week when I was doing a longer steady with Slim who lives there I suggested that we could go a bit further past the 5k point which is when he alerted me to the fact that the 5k point was where it was known the crocs like to nest!

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What? I said, youre saying that where we have been turning around is where the crocs are known to nest? Sure he said but its no problem, I just wouldn’t get out up there thats all! Cold comfort!

In fairness they are only after all “just freshwater crocs”! Just like the harmless ones I googled that you can see above…

So I was happy to finish my stint in Rocky without getting eaten!

A sad day

July 17, 2008

Today at training we learnt of the terrible news that Hungarian canoeist Gyorgy Kolonics died in training preparing for what would have been his fifth Olympic Games. Gyorgy was a double Olympic Champion.

I didnt know him personally but I know myself and others in the New Zealand team were shocked and saddened by the news.

On behalf of the New Zealand team I pass on our deepest sympathy to family, friends and teammates of Gyorgy.

Rockhampton – Week Two

July 14, 2008

Its been a great start to our final preparations for Beijing. We are settled in well now and enjoying good food, the use of washing machines and decent beds and fine company.

As you can see the conditions are mint, maybe a little too nice, although we have a had a little wind from time to time to keep the feel you get paddling down wind or into it..

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On Sunday the team had the day off training and we all headed north into the bush to have a day at Janines (ex pat Kiwi paddler) and Slims (Aussie paddler) farm. It was a very nice way to relax and see the rural side of Aussie.

We ate lots and all left for Rockhampton feeling relaxed and content full of great food.

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Rockhampton

July 11, 2008

We are now in Aussie and it feels great to be closer to home. The air is fresh and the food tastes good! As long as we dont become the food it is good!

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Above is a sign by where we put on. Not surprisingly there aren’t too many other paddlers making the water rough for us.

The water is most probably the best I have been privileged enough to paddle on.

We are now doing some sharper work.

 

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Poznan Day 3

June 29, 2008

A very good day for the team with Erin Taylor and Steve Ferg racing exceptional finals.

Steve came fourth in a blazing fast time of 1.36.574! Amazingly Adam Van Koerveden made some serious readjustment to the record books setting a new world best time of 1.35.630! Tim Brabants was second and Kenny Wallace 3rd all three of those guys went under the pre exisiting worlds fastest time for K1 500!!!

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Erin Taylor made a big step with her first K1 500 World Cup podium with 3rd place in a new pb of 1.50.590. Very exciting for the team to see her hard training get rewarded!

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For me it was just the semi final in the morning in which I didnt fire, rather than make the B I decided to back right off to ensure my racing for the regatta was finished without having to race a B Final. I felt this was the best thing to do given that I havnt been feeling in full health and killing myself to make the B Final when I am run down was not going to prove anything. Especially with flights to Australia this week.