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Saturday, June 13, 2009

"The Machine" Checks in from Europe

Unedited in Mark's own words:

"Well a week into the trip and its either all over or just getting started. In my first international race I finished 41 out of 42, missing 2 gates in both runs, mainly due to the water being so fast compared to anything I train on.

The week so far;

6 June Day 1 : Home to Roslare 138 miles about 3 hours. Strange feeling leaving home for 6 weeks, think I was glad Maeve wasn't around for it. Felt better once I got a few miles done, excited now that a life's dream is starting. Bad weather driving down, clearing as the ferry left the coastline behind. what lies ahead?.......Feeling good.

Day 2: 11 30AM Off the ferry in better weather with very heavy showers. 268 miles, 5 1/2 hours. Sleep for an hour, have dinner then another 294 miles before bed at midnight. Sounds of crickets and frogs in between the traffic noise off a motorway somewhere.

Day 3: The final 95 miles driving into the Pyrenees to Foix. Pulled into the canoe club's carpark and poeple busy everywhere, putting up marquees and getting the site reqdy with music and communications.
First training session: Aerobic loops 50 minutes Max Heart rate 172 average 134. 3 runs of the course, not too hard, trying different gates and getting a feel for it. A bit wobbly at first but got better.

Day 4: Sassion 1: Technique: 3 1/4 runs Max 177 Avg 121. 48 min. A full course split into 4; do 1, get your breath back and do the next. Getting better as session went on.
Session 2: 2 half runs; Max 179 Avg 126. Good session

Day 5: Session 1: 2 Full runs Max 181 Avg 121 33 mins. 2 minutes on each run and got all the gates I set, happy with that. Feeling better.
Session 2: 2 Aerobic Loops. Max 174 Avg 126 45 mins. Got some harder moves, missed some others.

Day 6: 2 1/5 runs: Max 176 Avg 126 40 min. Course split into 5, paddled hard on each, feel ready for race tomorrow, just need to get even 1 run over to settle down.
All getes taken down for course set up tomorrow. 'Fairly uninteresting bit of water now, just a few wave trains and eddies'

Day 7 RACE DAY: 12 30 on for warm up, 20 min paddle, stretch and go through all strokes on the flat.
2 30 1st Run Max HR 171. MISSED 2 GATES, both exiting from an upstrean gate and using a wave to get to far side, but nose caught in wave above and turned down too quick. Very unhappy. Can do better later.
5 10 2nd run Max HR 180. Missed 1 of the same gates again, plus another. Very unhappy/disheartened.
So there it is, 2nd last in my first big race. Wouldn't be so bad if I was just slow, but even taking myfastest time WITHOUT penalties I would only move up to 33nd.
Ah well. I'm here to learn how to race on bigger/faster water, so its off to Bourg St Maurice for a week's training.
200 miles in about 4 hours (22 degrees at 9PM)

Day 8: 220 miles into Bourg, 6 hours with a few stops in the heat (26 degrees at 11 and getting hotter)
Paddling in the morning with the club coach at the site, looking forward to it."

Keep up the good work Mark. It's all part of the training. You can only get better from here on!

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