Dane practicing

World Cup #1 -Augsburg, Germany

The 2010 World Cup is underway with the Augsburg, Germany competition completed yesterday. With more competitors than expected by the organizers, from 20 countries, the event ran until 10pm on Saturday night to get the Prelims and Quarter Finals finished. Luckily there were plenty of places to get food, drinks, coffee, etc. at the course with Vendors and the kayak clubhouse providing free dinner.

The whitewater park still ranks among the best in the world (if not the best, period) after 38 years.
It was built by the Germans for the 1972 Olympics, using the same concrete they used for bunkers in WWII. This is tough, smooth, concrete and a great design, with a back channel that has 100 gates set on it, and the main Whitewater channel with one great playspot called the Washing Machine. On any given day you’ll find dozens of kids learning slalom, as well as people playing in the Washing Machine, and some of the world’s best slalom paddlers training there. The 1996 and 2000 Olympic Gold Medalists in the Men’s Kayak slalom class came from this whitewater park. The 1995 World Freestyle Champion, Ollie Grau, also came from here (and won here). There is a restaurant with outdoor seating overlooking the course, as well as two club houses, a boarding house for athletes with breakfast included, etc.. All as part of the course. Sweet- OK, now to the event.

Prelims happened on Saturday and the top 20 men qualified for Quarter Finals. James Bebbington from England was first, followed by me, and then Peter Czonka, from Slovakia. Dane won the Junior men and was second in C1 in prelims.

It was 9:30 pm before we left the river on Saturday, after getting there at 7:30 AM, and doing two rounds of competition, for everyone. The weather was co-operative, but a storm was blowing in.

Sunday morning Dane was the first to go with Junior men and then C1 Semi-finals. Then there were finals for Junior Ladies, Oc1, C1, and then Junior Men. Finally, the Men had their Semi-Finals cutting from 10-5 and I got 3rd in that round, with reasonably good rides, but still hadn’t gotten my groove on. Peter Czonka almost missed finals with a 5th place finish and just ahead of 6th by a couple of points. Women’s finals, and then Men’s finals were the afternoon’s grand finale’. Hardcore thunderstorms and wind chased all but the die hard spectators away, leaving rain soaked everything in its wake. Being dressed from Semi-Finals in paddling gear made it fine for the men’s kayak finalists, but for those not prepared, people got wet and cold. A very short break in the clouds allowing sun in for the Men’s Kayak Awards was sweet, but the rain came right back.

Brett Hyle, a USA Team Slalom Racer was watching and we decided to do a slalom session after the event. I borrowed a Double Dutch test boat and we did a session of hard moves and had a great time. Makes me want to train slalom again too!

Finding internet that works in Germany has proven harder than just about anywhere I have been, including Africa. I am not sure what the deal is. I am in Plattling now at a hotel that advertises internet but doesn’t have it working. They don’t think anywhere in this town works. If you are reading this, I proved it otherwise.

Meanwhile- you can watch the coverage of the World Cup 1 online at WKTV- www.worldkayakblogs.com

EJ

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