The following report was provided by CANI Slalom Squad member Patrick Creber on his experiences during the Llandysul Division 1/2 Race earlier this month:
After a nearly 13 hours on the go we arrived in Llandysul, South Wales at 0400 on Friday morning for the final division 1 event of the year. Thankfully training did not start to midday and we managed to catch some sleep before the session.
For the first session our squad coach Matthew McKnight led Kirsten Eatock and myself through a technical progressive session to allow us to become familiar to the feel of the course. The water level was fairly low so emphasis of solid technical ability was important. I felt that this first session was of great benefit for the following days of racing as it provided me with a good background on how different features of the course reacted.
By the time of the second session both Jake Cochrane and Keira Davidson had arrived and could join in for the second session which was a practice run of the course before the race. Jake decided to stay dry for the session and looked on from the bank while Keira, Kirsten and myself took our practice runs. Taking a practice run helps iron out any major imperfections in your run and hopefully makes your race runs following better, so I think taking them is of useful benefit for division one events.
Saturday saw the first day of racing. My first run went well placing me 40th out of 76, this showed a vast improvement of just a few weeks ago, where at Nottingham I struggled to make any headway. However unfortunately after seconds runs I somehow managed to drop 17 places, still giving the best result of the season but a lot lower than I had started the day on. Again what hits home is the importance of a clean run, because my first run without penalties, would have placed me around 40th at the end of the day.
On Saturday night unfortunately Wales lost the rugby so a very sombre mood was present around camp, however after having a really healthy meal from the pizza takeaway the mood seemed to lift.
On the Sunday I had refocused and knew that I was cable of producing a good run time. However the last part of the course was challenging, and what seems to becoming an unfortunate theme for me, I made the same mistakes twice on gate 17 during both my race runs which dropped me at least 5 seconds ruining my time and placing in the bottom third once again. I am sure that race day performance will develop over time, however I think I have just scraped above the relegation zone so should enjoy another season in division one where I hope without the pressures of A levels I will be able to vastly improve my ranking by this time next year.
Congratulations to Jake on being promoted on Saturday and to Kirsten for a good finish on the Sunday.
Photos to follow on patrickcanoeslalom.wordpress.com