Europe

June 4, 2008

Lake Bled

My apologies for the lack of updates. We have been a little off the beaten track..

I had a relatively simple trip to Europe with all my gear arriving with me in Ljubjana which is the capitol of Slovenia. From there I traveled to Lake Bled with Jernej who was my training partner in New Zealand for seven weeks.

I was very well looked after staying at Jernejs family house at Lake Bled which was very close to the lake making life very simple for us.

We had a very nice opportunity to travel a little further into the Mountains and paddle on Lake Bohinj where we spent some time with the local junior paddling club at the end of our session.It was refreshing seeing young paddlers having so much fun.

Paddling with juniors

The lake was amazing!

Lake Bohinj

It has been a really good trip to this point.

We are now in Szeged in Hungary preparing for the 1st World Cup race of the season. Over the weekend we did some practice races to give the body a wake up for whats ahead. The times were respectable enough and as good as I could expect at this stage.

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Testing

May 11, 2008

Over the last week we have had some intellectual type people attaching accelerometers and video gear to our boats and paddles. It has been insightful for the team as a whole.

With just one week to go before I leave for Europe things are getting busy. Despite this training is starting to improve now due to the mileage not being so high and I have enjoyed new personal bests in terms of distance covered in 2hrs, 10k time and even 4 and 1 rep maxs in the gym.

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I have been meaning for a while to plug the Oakley ThumpPro MP3 sunglasses. These are no gimmick and they are brilliant!

They have kept me company on many a grueling training session over the last six months on the water and off. If you like cranking the sounds while your working out I highly recommend them. The sound quality is really good too!

 

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K2 Session

April 23, 2008

This week for something different Jernej and I jumped in the K2 together for the first time to compete with Mike and Steve in a K2 session over some repeat 500s.

It was great to have multiple Olympic and World Champion paddlers Paul MacDonald and Ian Ferguson out on the water helping us out.

Ferg and Macka and K2s

 

It was a bit rough to begin with but we soon got the feel right and were able to provide some good competition for Mike and Steve.

Ben and Jernej K2

 

After a lot of pain it was nice to paddle to the dock and leave the session behind.

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Mangatepopo River tragedy

April 14, 2008

My heart goes out to the families of those lost in the Mangatepopo River tragedy and to the people in Tongariro National Park.

Throughout my teens I took part in many activities during high school in this amazing adventure playground on Taumarunui’s back door step, and looking back it certainly contributed to my passion for outdoor pursuits today.

It is a beautiful and very spiritual area – all at once wild and rugged, serene and peaceful.

My thoughts are with the families, Outdoor Pursuits Centre staff and the local community.

For overseas visitors to this site who may not be aware there was a terrible canyoning tragedy this week resulting in a teacher and six teenage school kids losing their lives on an outdoor education trip in the Tongariro National Park.

D Load week

April 7, 2008

It was very refreshing after a solid couple of months to have a week really easy and take the 407 for a drive. Good friend and training partner Jernej from Slovenia has been here three weeks now and has added a lot of value to the training sessions not to mention the good humor..

On the way down to the Central Plateu we called into New Zealands rowing high performance base at Lake Karapiro, we were lucky with the timing and Jernej was able to meet some of New Zealands most respected athletes and Olympians Rob Waddell(2xWorld Champ and Sydney Olympic Champ Single sculls) and Mahe Drysdale(3xWorld Champ single sculls) as well as Mathew Trott and Nathan Cohen.

From there we headed to Taupo where the next day we paddled on the Waikato river and Jernej did the Taupo bungy.

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I on the other hand thought that hitting golf balls into the lake seemed like a better way to unwind.

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Jernej also got to see where for obvious reasons my white water career decided to go to flatwater. I like to push and challenge myself but a bad day in flat water racing unlike white water doesn’t involved drowning. My old white water mates assure me that its not that hard.. I will take their word for it..

The infamous Huka Falls below

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From there we headed up to Mt Ruapehu to go for a run. When I used to live in the area I would more than happily drive the 45 minutes it took after work to run here.

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Mt Ruapehu

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We are now into another three week block and it feels good. The volume is still respectable sitting just over 160km per week but the quality is starting to pick up which is exciting.

NZs first female Olympic Sprint Kayaker!

April 6, 2008

Just recently New Zealands top ranked female sprint kayak paddler Erin Taylor became the first ever NZ woman to qualify for the Olympics!

Well done Erin.

The link below goes to the NZ Herald website which I think pays a well deserved tribute to Erins achievement.

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/4/story.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=10502142

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Erin paddled a 1.53 in a side wind at the Penrith regatta course to win the race showing that she is getting faster all the time and deserves to go to Beijing.

Aussie Nationals/Oceania Champs

March 20, 2008

Last week we had the Australian/Oceania flatwater sprint kayaking championships in Sydney. It was a big ask racing five events over five days in the scorching Aussie heat.

The results were mixed. In the final of the K1 1000 I did it tough and had a very average race coming home 6 seconds behind Barcelona Olympic champion Clint Robertson and last years world number 4 Ken Wallace who came home strong to take the win.

One of the few positives I was able to take from the regatta was the 3.29 I did in my semi final which is the first time in 6 years of racing in Penrith that I have broken 3.30 which for how I have been feeling and the type of training I have been doing is quite a positive result.

The guys were really going fast with their Olympic futures on the line and the level in Aussie has taken a big leap from previous years. If you wernt in top racing condition you would be found out.

In the K1 500 I was pleased with a 4th place being 1.5 seconds behind Kenny Wallace again who won in a 1.39, and I was just over a second behind Steve Ferguson who now gets the Olympic K1 500 spot. This was frustrating for me as I wasnt prepared to compromise my single peak K1 1000 build up this early in the year to gain the selection for the K1 500 by beating Steve and to miss that opportunity by a boat length was annoying to say the least.

The decision makers implemented a policy allowing athletes who have qualified at the 2007 world championships in Germany to have their selection secure for Beijing then they dangle a carrot in front of everybody encouraging them to peak early in the year which in my view contradicts the policy they had put in place to allow people to peak later in the year..

Never mind, I had a great time racing K2 with Troy Burbidge again over both the 1000 and the 500m events. Luckily with how I was feeling Troy was in sensational form and towed me down the course. We took out the K2 1000 in a really competitive field. The K2 500 was a bit skakey getting beaten on the line.

NZ Kayak National Champs

March 1, 2008

We have just finished the NZ sprint champs for another year. It was a busy day on Sunday as the racing for Saturday was postponed because of bad weather, meaning all the racing was done on Sunday except the K2 1000 which was omitted from the program.

I was pleased to win the K1 1000 and to have a solid K1 500 to come second by a third of a boat length

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Troy Burbidge and I had a great K2 500 to take the only K2 National title on offer for the year.

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Thanks to www.photosport.co.nz for the photos.

Racing

February 25, 2008

Over the weekend the New Zealand team competed at the Grand Prix 2 regatta at the Penrith Olympic regatta course just outside of Sydney.

It was a good opportunity to see where I was at after a summer of high volume training and solid work in the gym.

In the K1 1000 I was happy to do a 3.30 in the semis with a little bit spare, we had a light tale breeze and I feel that with a good tail wind it could have been a 3.27 which is as good as I could hope for at this time. In the final I was beaten convincingly by Kenny Wallace who is looking dangerous with a margin of 3 seconds. Third place was Steven Ferguson just back from me so it was good to see him improving.

In the K1 500 I had a much better performance with the strength work paying off I was able to get in the lead for a while before Steve Ferg edged me out on the line to win by .04

It was good to have two kiwis over the line first. Hopefully with some higher top end aerobic and Vo2 work I will be able to improve my 1000 over the coming months.

This weekend we have our national championships on lake Pupuke which will be another opportunity for a good hit out with Troy Burbidge and myself lining up against Mike and Steve in the K2. You can visit Troys home page on:

http://www.cleo.co.nz/HOTBOYS/HookUpWithAHottie/HookUpWithTroy/tabid/446/e/1/Default.aspx

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Training

December 5, 2007

Since the Last camp we have been based in Auckland at our usual stunt head quarters at Lake Pupuke.

Training seems to be going well and although I am really enjoying the challenge of it like most of my competitors around the globe I am living in a constant state of fatigue and on average I am getting about 10 hours of sleep per day.

No noteworthy super fast training sessions to tell you about but I have put on some weight which I am counting on losing once the higher intensity training kicks in next year.

In between training, eating and sleeping I have had a few days off to relax and spend with my fiancé.

Below is a picture from the start of the swim of the triathlon that my partner was doing the other weekend. It was a fantastic day, and a really nice location for her to do her first triathlon.

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Once and a while it is nice to take a break from the routine and get out for a picnic. It was a really nice evening to have dinner on top of North Head.

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