It's time to write something!
I've been in Europe for a little more than 2 weeks now. My first was spent in Portugal at the Nelo training facility at the beautiful Montebelo Aguieira. It's a great dammed lake very much like the waterways of Lake Lanier in Gainesville, Georgia. Lots of great paddling and trail running there, I recommend it to anyone as a training site. Well, to canoers and kayakers in training but I doubt if downhill ski racers or ice climbers or astronauts, deepsea divers, big-game hunters or those engaged in high wizardry training would enjoy the facility as much as we did. But it's good for paddlers.
My second week was in Poznan, racing the 1st of 3 World Cup competitions, on little Lake Malta. I only raced the 1000m K1 event, and as you can see in the picture above, I placed third in my finale. Congrats to Rene (kind of looks like Shrek in this picture, growl) (DEN) and Eirik (why are you wearing a scarf?) (NOR) and all the guys on a good race. Cheers to Balint for the always high quality photographic excellence. Thank you Poznan for the very pretty flowers. Owing to my Dutchness, I love me some tulips.
After the race we all made our way to Duisburg, Germany. Duisburg is a pleasantly familiar place for me to be in May, as I've raced here many times over the decade-plus I've been paddling my boat for Canada. The city Zentrum has improved so much over the past 10 years, it has really developed into a wonderfully vibrant and culturally thriving town. It's a multicultural working class city close to Dusseldorf, with one of the nicest and most functional pedestrian-only promenades of any European city I've visited. The public art, restored architecture and bountiful fountains are of a truly capital city pedigree. I spend my afternoons with a book and an espresso at a street-side cafe, or on the grass of their new raised green space right beside the Mercatorhalle, Duisburg's new mixed-use cultural hotspot. Mark Oldershaw and I attended the symphony last night, and enjoyed some Tchaikovsky and Schostakowitsch from the Duisburger Philharmonisches. Vladimir Spivakov conducted for a diverse full house, and enjoyed some 7 rounds of applause, treating us to a lively and familiar encore which everyone recognized, but whose name was lost on us jocks. Mark said we shoulda "Shazaamed it". Whatever the heck that's supposed to mean.
Racing commences tomorrow at the Regattabahn in Sportpark Wedau, easily my favourite of all the international canoe-kayak venues I've raced. I am again only concentrating on the 1000m K1, and I'll leave the 500m to my longtime clubmate and up-and-comer, Brady Reardon.
Following the Duisburg World Cup, on Monday Mark O, Bernard "the internationale leader of teams" Irvin and I are off to Moscow for World Cup 3 and hopefully a little sightseeing, as I have never been to Russia before.
Good luck to everyone racing front-ways here in Duisburg, good luck to the Canadian Rowers racing back-ways in Lucerne... Go Canada Go!
Stoked as always... talk to you soon.