By Karen Vejsbjerg
This fantastic weekend event was put together by Kipper Maguire and Brian Keogh from Total Experience. It ran over Saturday and Sunday with three races in total: on Saturday an individual boatercross and timed team event on the run-in section to Jacksons, on Sunday there was a timed 1.8 km team race down from Trooperstown ending at Jacksons.
Our team, consisting of our esteemed Capitano Matt, Nuala and myself, fresh out of missing a medal at Varsities by just 3 seconds, were raring to go. On the individuals, we strategically placed ourselves in different categories (that sounds believable right?) Nuala and Matt elected to take on the “Expert” Class while I decided to stay in sport….
With two incredibly tough heats, with Matt going up against the likes of Oisin Kelly and Shane Cronin and the young hotshot Eoin Keyes, and Nuala battling it out against Jenny Kilbride and Niamh Cleary – winner of the junior race and Irish Freestyle team hopeful – both were unfortunately knocked out. I, against slightly less stiff competition, finished after Deirdre Ni Bhanain from DUKC, beating the two remaining women’s sport, in what turned out to be a straight final. This was despite a rather bony run and an embarrassing capsize above the main drop… let’s just say cheers Wongy!
The team event though was held just after, so after stuffing ourselves moderately full of lunch, we got ready to go again. We trucked up to the start and raced down in a timely and efficient manner.
Then to Lynams for tea, which turned into soup, which eventually morphed into pints…. Then the prize ceremony for the first day! I picked up a shiny new dry bag for my interesting first race and we waited with baited breath for the team time results. Drum roll…. and… in women’s expert….. second is Nuala Matt and Karen and first to Deirdre and Laura Griffin’s team, with a victory of just 3 SECONDS (same as last week in varsities – I think it’s some form of curse). Three bloody seconds. Bah humbug. Well done to the winners though! Then there was a bit of dying on the couch back at the Dublin base camp, some sleep and back for the second day.
The sun was shining, muscles were aching, the water was low, and we set off. But disaster fell at just Trooperstown! A foolish capsize followed by what must have been a very funny to watch attempt at rescue from race rescue, where rolling was impeded by an offer of t-rescue, t-rescuing thwarted by their attempt to unconscious rescue, anyhoo, turns out I don’t do being rescued well…. So a quick empty and away we went, scratching and scraping and playing rock pinball all the way down. A brief sojourn in the energizer really topped my day off delightfully, and we baled off a little disappointed. My bad guys… Anyways, after relaxing in the sun for the remainder we rocked up to Lynams for the prizes. Third place! Not too shabby, with a time of just 15.08 minutes, a minute behind the winners of the women’s expert.
It was really cool to get to compete along some of the superstars of the Irish kayaking scene, as well as a rake of UCD paddlers from the days of yore (i.e. oldies)…
Big cheers again to the guys from Total Experience for organising, to Lynams and Coillte for letting us play in their backyards and to all the guys who helped out in rescue!
Till next year! And **** me if we don’t shave at least 3 seconds off our times.