September 2012 was my first time in a sprint kayak. It is now March 2013 and I am firmly on the GB Paracanoe team. I am less than 3 weeks away from my very first race and with a winter of training behind me I feel might be able paddle and not look like a total beginner. It has been quite a journey with lots to learn. Here's my top 10 lessons!
1/ A kayak isn't a canoe. With a kayak you use a double ended paddle and you sit down, where as in a canoe you use a single ended paddle and you kneel. I feel It's important that as a new member of team GB I know all the nuances of my sport ;-)
3/ You don't really use your arms to create power, it's your trunk and your legs that do most of the work- the arm just acts as a lever to transfer the force. This I struggle with as part of my disability means I have limited sensation under my right foot and buttock. Because of this, I can't really gauge how to put even pressure through my legs or whether I'm sitting squarely on the seat. I go wonky quite regularly - which is comical when the sprint course is a straight line! One coach who didn't realise why I go wonky, was a little anxious when I called out at the end of an effort that it had gone wrong because I had "lost my arse" halfway down the river.
4/ Sprint Kayaking gives you a really flat stomach and strong core :-) I have lost inches from my waist and my hips- I have totally changed shape, its as though someone has squeezed my bottom half like a toothpaste tube and its all ended up at the top.
|6 months later|
6/ Kayaking makes controlling a full shopping trolley around the supermarket really easy. I can now navigate off camber corners with a full trolley and I frequently avoid mid isle collisions with Grannies meandering unexpectedly into my path! This is definitely one of the surprising benefits of sprint kayaking...
7/ Kayaking eliminates bingo wings, but on the flip side I can no longer get my arms into my favourite shirt.
|minus 5 degrees|
|snow doesn't settle on the water so no excuses|
9/Hydrodynamics- The warmer the water the faster you go - I have yet to experience this warm water phenomenon.....Roll on Rio