It’s when the clouds break apart and the sun shines through I know I’m heading home. I’ve been away from home probably for a month and a half. But I spoke too soon; I have 5 days at home and then I fly to Singapore for the first ever Youth Olympic Games! I am honored to have the chance to attend but I am also very excited! Enough talk of what is going to happen, let me share my summer.
I arrived in Ottawa during exam week, ready for warm weather and great training with Ottawa River Runners coach Jamie Cartwright. What I wasn’t expecting was a premature baby coming from a surprised Jamie and relieved wife Katie. Cierra was born smack-dab in the middle of the week with us exasperated athletes left with no coach. Thankfully Marian Davidson was able to drive up from Charlotte, NC ahead of schedule to help coach us. So after an early baby, my first ever earthquake (We were at the course when it happened!), the week had passed and we were on our way to Toulouse, France for the Junior World Championships.
We arrived in Toulouse sleepy but amazed from the European feel of everything. After grabbing brioche and having to wait for Connor Curson to bus to the airport. After tying four boats on the Volvo, we were leaving Toulouse for Foix(the location of the race). We had taken the long scenic route so it took a little longer than the usual freeway drive but we got to see more of beautiful France. The course was quite extraordinary, there was viewing stands, full path beside the river and of course, the river looked great!
Our accommodation was awesome; the cabins we stayed in were roomy with a full kitchen. The owners were welcoming and happy (when other people smile, you smile too).
Training was fun; it was an exciting river and was great to race on. After placing 15th after the races I feel mediocre because I know I could’ve done better but it was still a good result for my first real international big race. It was good trip and a great experience for my first trip to Europe. Thanks to my coach Jon Allen for coaching me up to World Championships.
Getting back to Canada I had two weeks training in Ottawa then leaving for Minden, Ontario for a week of camping before the Canadian Championships.
Minden is such a great course; it’s hidden in the woods of Ontario and sadly doesn’t get used a lot. It’s challenging but is super fun to paddle and train on. There can be two courses for seniors and juniors because the whole river can be used. The junior and masters race is held on the lower portion of the river starting right below the falls. The junior race was good as I placed first in the junior women category.
I trained well all week but somehow the senior race didn’t go so well as I had planned and hoped. It was a moderate course but it was somewhat easy to mess up. My first runs I wasn’t concentrated and unprepared so it was really slow. My second run was faster but I had touched 5 2-second penalty gates which is not how I paddle. It was a race to learn from and I have to put it behind me and move on to fall/winter training.
Thank you to everyone who volunteered at Nationals( you guys did a great job!) and to Jamie Cartwright who coached me before and after World Championships and the Penman family for letting me home stay with them. And to Marian Davidson and Connor Curson for their coaching and chaperoning in Foix. Also for Western Canoe and Kayak for their help to help me reach my goals and dreams.
I am looking forward to the Youth Olympics and to represent Canada in this exciting chance to expand myself and to meet new people.
Wish me luck and safe travels everyone!