On our way to World Sprints, 2 sleeps to go

Active over 60, Waka Ama
Gaylene, Jan and barb with Leon in the background

I thought I should just write a blog about our trip to World Sprints. So many people have been asking so I thought this might be the easiest way to keep in touch with everyone and share the news.

It’s 2 sleeps to go. We decided (well 4 of my crew) to head up to Auckland a day before the flight and stay overnight in a hotel. This will mean I get to sleep in on the day we fly to London (via Kuala Lumper and Dubai) and not have to get up before ‘sparrow fart’ to catch a flight north. The weather here has been ‘somewhat varied’ (a euphemism for abysmal; lots of storms, lots of rain) and the Air New Zealand flights quite disrupted because of the weather and staffing shortages due to the current Covid levels. We just didn’t want to chance missing our international flight, especially those of us travelling from the South Island.

As I write this the rain is pelting down and the thunder rolling over the house. I am looking forward to milder weather and not having to wear so many clothes to paddle in. At the moment I have been wearing thick wool socks in my neoprene booties, lots of merino, windproof layers and woolly neck warmers and warm hats. Short sleeves will be a treat.

I am nearly packed, having redirected quite a few things to my carry on luggage after hearing horror stories of lost luggage. Yes, I have spare knickers, my uniform and paddling gear and a few other bits and pieces. The biggest challenge is paddles as they are oversized luggage. However, if they go missing I’m sure we will be able to beg, borrow or buy a replacement in London. And, No, we don’t have to take our waka with us. There is a complete set of brand new Tai Tahi single waka (designed in Aotearoa) and Matahina w6s (sixman waka) ready to greet us in London.

Coach Corrina Gage
Our coach, Corrina Gage, hanging out in the waka!

Everyone asks “Are you feeling ready?” I’m as ready as I can be after having dealt with a bout of Covid and then the flu in the last couple of months. And then there is the rain, which has been pretty constant. I’m not as cardio fit as I’d like but I think the hard work in the gym has paid off. Our coach is happy with our progress. (As seen on TV: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=515047523722780)

I am feeling very blessed to have had time training in a W6 with the “Taranaki Ladies”, those 3-4 Nelson Ngā Manu paddlers who have been scooped up by Taranaki to complete their crews. They have a similar training programme to mine and it has been a great relief to just jump into the waka and paddle without having to think to much about it. They have it all organised. Covid brain has a lot to answer for.

The Lucky Training Hat

I’m also grateful for the loan of a lucky training hat – Thanks Jenn. She lent it to me one day post-covid when I was feeling like I would never get back to the fitness I had been before Covid. It has made me and others smile when things felt a little grim. Even my granddaughter loves it.

It might be a bit hot for London but we will see.

Jenn's lucky taining hat
Flying flags from the super yacht
You can just make us out on the bow of the launch:)

I’m just pleased I yelled out “White Flag” in training the other night. It brought to light that only one of them knew about the start flags. This is a real big thing as there is a special sequence of flags to start a race. So the last couple of Saturdays morning have been spent on flag practice. It’s been fun waving coloured tshirts around from the deck of a super yacht in the marina (The very nice man was very interested in what we were doing and invited us up on deck so they could see the ‘flags’ better).

This morning Tracey Kingi bought down real start flags which made it more authentic. We stood on the customs pontoon (Yes, we did have permission). It was amusing to watch the shags flying in only to abort their landing when they saw there were two silly humans waving stuff around:)

Where are we going?

We are going to London. However, it sounds like we won’t see the Queen as she’s gone to Balmoral:( We are traveling as a contingent so there will be at least 42 paddlers plus a management team and supporters at the airport on Tuesday. I think there will be around 58 altogether so it’s quite a big group. We are all staying at the Moxy Hotel in Slough near Windsor to be near to the venue, Dorney Lake. It sounds like it will be the hub of the Aotearoa contingent as Waka Ama officials, Elite paddlers and the Para paddlers are all staying there as well.

What are we doing?

We are going to compete at the World Sprint Championships 2022, London, in the Masters womens’ 70 division. My crew, Te Ara Pounamu, paddling for Aratika Water Sports, is competing in the W6 straight 500m, the W6 turns race. We will be combining with the Hauraki ladies to form a W12 to race in the masters womens’ 60 division. Me and 3 of my crew will also be paddling for Aotearoa, New Zealand in the Masters Women70 singles. Find out more

Racing starts at Dorney Lake on the 10th of August and finished on the 16th. Results of racing will be available via Live Results

Dorney Lake is recognised as one of the finest world rowing and flat-water canoeing venues and hosted the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Since the Main Lake was completed in 2004 and the Return Lake in 2006, the Lake has hosted International and National Rowing,
Canoe/Kayak, Triathlon and soon to be a Va’a Event! The venue was voted top 2012 Olympic Venue and has been acclaimed as a local, national and international asset as a world class center of sporting excellence and a special venue.

All sorts of tips for flying

I have received some great tips about flying in these strange and unusual times. Apparently if you double the dose of Vitamin C for 2 days prior to your flight, during the flight, and for 2 days after the flight, it can help to reduce jet lag. I’ll let you know if it works. I also got told about the aromatherapy ‘Thieves’ oil which is a combination of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary essential oils. The name supposedly comes from a story told about some thieves who stole from the dead and dying during the great plague. They used a blend of spices to protect themselves from infection. I’m not sure I like it’s history, but it smells great so I’ve added that to my arsenal as well. If anything, it might make wearing a mask, for however long it takes to get to London, bearable.

Want more information?

Here are some links if you want to find out more about the event:

As I find out more I’ll add them in later posts.

It’s still raining out there. I have the fire going and the washing drying. I’m going to get some sleep while I can and will add to this at regular (or irregular) intervals.

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