Emerging National Team – South Africa
This year Erin Blanch and I were lucky enough to be a part of the Emerging National Team tour to South Africa with Margi Bohm. After a few flight difficulties, we arrived in Johannesburg. We hopped in a hire car and drove six hours to Imfolozi Game Reserve for a bit of jetlag recovery.
Our next stop was Pietermaritzburg to train with the Natal Canoe Club on the Dusi River where the 2017 World Championships were held. After a few days of training with various groups, we underwent strength and lactate testing. On the Thursday, we did a dice (basically a combination of a time trial and a race) in a borrowed K3. The K3 was a new experience for all as Margi had to learn to steer with pedals five minutes before the start and Erin and I had to improvise by using a bar instead of a footplate.
Then it was off to Cradle Moon Resort, just out of Johannesburg, in the heart of the Cradle of Humankind which is a world heritage site containing fossils that are millions of years old. Here would be the place of the 2019 South African Marathon Championships. After run ins with hippos on the lake and zebras drinking out of the pool, we were ready to race. After a huge start in the U18 K1 race, I came away with a 4th which is a good start on my road to racing in China. Erin and I decided to race the Open K2. Up against world champions, we paced ourselves for 26km before having to rush off the water in order to make our flight back home to Australia.
My experience over in South Africa is one that I will never forget. I have learnt strategies and tactics that will assist me in the future and have made some amazing memories.