The 2011 World Championships are being held in a wave/hole, but mostly a hole. Brennan’s Wave on the Clark’s Fork, in downtown Missoula is a perfect place to select the 2011 team. This wave/hole is almost identical in size and is also angled like Plattling, Germany. The one in Germany is angled the other way, however, and not quite as much.
In 4 days the USA will have its new team for 2011. The best paddlers from the USA are here training, and preparing for the big event. For an American Athlete, the USA Team Trials is the biggest event of the year. Only by making the cut, do you get a ticket to the biggest event of the year for paddlers from all countries, the World Championships. The process for the USA Selection is very simple. A single event, like the worlds, with the same format as the worlds. There are the following spots for freestyle at the worlds.
Men’s Kayak- 5 Women’s kayak- 3, Junior Men 3, junior women 2, c1 3, oc1 2
The important cut in this event will be the “Semi-finals” where each class will cut down to the “Team”. prelims will cut the field from a very large number down to a smaller number. Quarter Finals will cut down to top 10 for men and likely top 6 for other classes. Semi-finals will cut to the team, meaning that if you make finals you will be heading to Germany next June for the big event.
Routines are starting to become more apparent as athletes are narrowing down their rides and honing their moves. Nerves seem to be strong for most of the paddlers so far, but normally people start stressing out right before the event. The weather has been a dream so far, with highs around 80 and lows in the 50’s. Today it will be 90 degrees, however, it will only have a high of 70 on Thursday.
The grand stands are being set up by the hole now, and while it pales in comparison to the World’s grandstands from Thun, Switzerland last year, it is still quite impressive. The organizers are expecting thousands of people to be watching, and I just met the 1st Interstate Bank sponsor, Sue at the wave. They definitely have the entire town behind this event and KB, Luke, Eddie, and the rest of the Strongwater group are doing an incredible job preparing for it.
If I can get my camera fixed today, I’ll be getting photos of the site, some rides, and putting them up. I am very happy with how everyone is paddling and am feeling good myself. I think this will be a good showing for me at this event, the first USA Team Trials since 2004 that I have had to go to! (I made the 2005 Worlds Team in 2004, and then won the 2005 and 2007 world championships giving me a free ticket to the worlds in 2007 and 2009. Now, Nick Troutman gets that “bye” and my silver medal from 2009 worlds doesn’t carry the same weight. I did jokingly suggest to the ICF that all medalists be invited back automatically, but it didn’t fly. So, here I am training up for my first manditory USA Team trials in 6 years.
Our RV is parked in the Orange Street parking lot just downstream of the hole. This is a makeshift commune with kayakers taking over the lot. We have a 4 square court, lots of lawn chairs, and last night did a potluck dinner. the town has been very welcoming to us.
Well, I have a new All-STar to outfit. My other one (was Danny Stocks) was dragging behind the RV when I got gas on the way here. My roof rack came off the mini and while no holes were in my boat, it was impressively thin. I wish i knew how many miles it dragged!
So, now look for me in a Yellow All-Star, instead of Red/white/blue. i am outfitting a C1 today as well. The C1 class will be hotly contested this year. There are a ton of them here.