Just got back to the hotel after the fourth and final day of practice before the 9th World Dragon Boat Racing Championships which begin tomorrow. Each of the last four days has been remarkably similar:
- Wake up early (06:00ish)
- Eat breakfast with paddlers from around the world (some who clearly have a different interpretation of how to queue up!)
- Take the Team Canada shuttle bus to the race course about 45 minutes away in the middle of nowhere.
- 1 hour off-water warm up (run, active movements, talk, etc.)
- 1 hour practice in either Open (men’s) or Mixed boat
- 1 hour break
- 1 hour practice in the other boat
- 1 hour eating/stretching/debrief
- 45 minutes back on the bus to the hotel
- (Optional) Take the free bus over to Tesco to get more food
- Eat/hydrate/rest for 4 or 5 hours
So not much time for any more sightseeing, but that’s totally fine with me as I’m here for only one reason and that’s to race the best possible races and leave with no regrets.
The on-water part has been really great. The men have really come together in 4 days with each practice being better than the last. The mixed is such a well oiled machine that we’ve been just working on the fine tuning and we’re so fired up to race and show the world how much faster we are than in 2007 (when we won Gold, Silver and fourth).
I’m feeling great mentally albeit a little physically beat up. Nothing serious, but I’ve got a few sore spots in my back from who knows what and my elbows tendons are a bit beat up from all the start pieces we’ve been doing in practice. The starts are the most intense part of the race and most likely to cause injury due to the power you need to apply to overcome the resistance of the big heavy boat in the water. During the race my entire body will be in excruciating pain so a couple little sore spots won’t make any difference.
We looked over the race draw last night which always gets me psyched up. I’m not sure why seeing the country names on paper makes any difference, but for me it somehow seems more real when I see it. As you would expect from the world championships there will be no easy races; we’ll need to be at our best every single time we go out there. And that really is the main challenge of a five day event like this. All the teams are good and everyone can lay down a really good time once but doing it over and over again can be a different story.
Tomorrow I’ll be racing the 2000m race in both Open and Mixed and Catherine will race the Mixed. The 2000m is a bit of a crazy race as it is run with three turns one after each 500m. Teams start 12 seconds apart and chase each other down and each team’s time is calculated after the race to determine the winner. There are so many boats on the course that there will be wash (waves created by the boats) all over the place so we’ll need to be careful to stay alert and calm. For the heavier men’s crews the possibility of taking on too much water and sinking is a distinct possibility so we’ll try to avoid that (although our crew isn’t that heavy). The 2000m always requires a little luck so hopefully we’ll get some and have some good results to report. The races are being held in the late afternoon/early evening so by the time we get back to the hotel and eat we may not be able to provide an update but we’ll try. The results should be going up online through at http://www.dragonboat2009.com or http://idbfworldchamps.com/
Thanks for all the words of support; take care and wish us luck!