Well, that was the World Cup 2009. Yesterday Her Indoors and the Bloater Boater saw off Tom and Jennie at Hobart airport, and today they are winging their way back to the US. This won't even be close to the last post about the World Cup though, so please keep reading and you will see some fun stuff, including interviews I recorded with top paddlers. These will take a while to transcribe, but I'll keep them coming over the next few weeks. We'll be in Tassie for a week or so having a vacation (WC was NOT a vacation for sure).
The last race at Cataract was a short sprint, with a couple of significant drops, a lot of flatwater, about 2000 people watching, live commentary from John Borojevic and stunning weather. In fact, it was so damn hot I was dripping with sweat onto my glasses during my practice run and couldn't see a thing. To compensate for this in my two runs I walked up early and sat in the shade underneath the scaffold erected to allow competitors "easier" (and still very tough) access to the start.
My runs were ok, better than I have paddled to this point, perhaps because I had been very economical about practice runs. My first run I tried to be smooth but Her Indoors described it as "leisurely" so I upped it for the second run (pretty brutal assessment really). My lines weren't as good and my sprinting wasn't as smooth on the boily water at the end, but I was 2 seconds faster. After the first run I was 7/10ths up on John Gallagher, an Irish paddler I was yet to beat in the World Cup, and was also beating Yoda! Unfortunately Yoda went 8 seconds faster in his 2nd run to whip my butt again, but I held off John and was satisfied to move up a place in the final race. Maybe it was Borojevic's commentary telling the crowd I financed my trip by stripping on the side that spurred me on? Tom had a reversal of my position, with Tadgh Macintyre just pipping him in the sprint at the end. Jennie had been tiring throughout the series and had struggled with the top drop the entire time at Cataract. However, it was the bottom drop that did her in, and she broached for a few seconds before flipping in this drop.
Here's a pic of me and some of the Japanese team - Yoda is the one on my right - as you can see he is not small and green, but I believe he is still well versed in the ways of the Force.
Overall I would say we were pretty happy with the races given our preparation. I'll be doing an assessment of my own performance in a future post. It looked like all the right folks won the World Cup rankings, including Jessica Oughton on her 21st birthday. Hannah Brown won her first World Cup race, and Gerhard Schmid held off Johnnie Schofield (who had the fastest single run of the day) to get his first win. There were some very happy, and very relieved folks, that night at the end of World Cup party at "Sporties" bar. However, much like Vegas, what happened at Sporties will stay at Sporties. I left reasonably early so I can't speak to what happened later anyway. Note to future US teams - why do we always schedule our flights so we have to leave early the next day after the end of World Cup party? Seriously? The Irish (ok, so they are the Irish...) schedule a hangover day and travel the day after - doesn't that make the most sense in the world? We can learn from this.
On that note I'll move on - Top 10 World Cup moments, my assessment of my own bloater performance and some interviews to come.......