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2015-12-07 WRC 2015 - Downriver

The final day of racing was off to an early start, to avoid the heat of the day. Our current standing of 12th place after the slalom event saw us heading off in the third wave of racers, alongside Slovenia, Russia and Australia. The course was tight and technical, with the first rapid only a few meters from the start line. We briefly clashed with Slovenia and Russia in the first rapid, emerging second behind Slovenia. We made sure that we kept on their tail, and a few rapids later we saw our chance as the Slovenians gambled on a tight rocky line and got slowed enough for us to draw level with them using a deeper channel to the left. A brief battle ensued, but we pulled away strongly and managed to put a bit of distance between them and us. This was in a large part due to the good lines that Lars and Tyler had managed to memorise through the numerous complex rapids.

Racing

The Slovenians were tenacious though, and we were always mindful of them in sight behind us. As the finish line neared, we got past Bosnia, one of the teams in the second wave, and managed to finish within sight of Great Britain, again in the second wave. This was a great race for us, and gave us an 8th place finish.

Since the final placings are weighted towards the Downriver race results, we were hopeful that this result had pushed us up in the final rankings. This was indeed the case, and once final results were posted in the afternoon, we found that we had finished 9th out of 20 countries. Again, our best ever overall result at a World Championship event! Lastly, a huge thank you from all of us for all of the individuals and organisations that helped us out training and getting to this event: River Run Rafting, Level 6, Burn Fitness, Rafting Canada, Shaggy Designs, Manitoba Harvest to name a few of them.

Paddlers: Graham Ball, Bill Leslie, Tyler Fox, Lars Romeskie, Tim Wintoniw, Jon Booren, Gwyn Ashcroft.

2015-12-06 WRC 2015 - Slalom race

Yesterday was our official training run for the downriver course, now much better with some more water to pad the rocks! A bad case of Jakarta-belly put Jon out for today, but Tim stepped up and did a great job in his place in the slalom event. This is one of the events that we find most challenging, but also most enjoyable. The course definitely had a few tricky gates in it, but everything was manageable. We took our first run fairly cautiously, and made sure that we posted a good time with only one touch, on gate 9.

Slalom

Coming out of the final gate.

This put us in a good position as many of the other teams had under-estimated how hard gate 8 was on their first runs, and had missed it. Unfortunately we succumbed to the same fate on our second run, and a less than ideal entry angle saw us slipping out of the back of the eddy. Although this was our only penalty of the run, it meant that we would have to rely on our better first run. After all the teams had finished, we found that a few had indeed improved, knocking us down a few places to a finish in 10th. While we knew that we could have done a little better than this, it was an improvement on our placing in New Zealand 2 years ago.

2015-12-04 WRC 2015 - H2H race

After the dissapointment of the last event, we were determined to go at the head to head races with renewed vigour. Because of our placing from the Sprint race, we had an easier first race, against Denmark. The Danes had lane choice, but there wan not much in it, and we pulled away from the line strongly and ticked off our first win of the day. Our second race was against the Czechs, a well regarded team. This was a bit more of a battle, but we again managed to get in front soon after the start line, and kept the lead to the end.

Head to Head

Leading the Czechs on our second race.

This victory put us up for at least a top 8 finish, and we got the shuttle up to the top and pumped a boat for the third time in preparation for a race against Argentina, who placed 3rd in the sprint. There was very little to separate us in the race as we battled for a long time for the lead. Eventually a badly-placed rock slowed us up and enabled the Argentinians to gain the lead. We chased for the rest of the course, but were unable to re-take the lead, and finished 8th overall.

2015-12-03 WRC 2015 - Sprint race

A somewhat disappointing start to the IRF World Rafting Championships here in Indonesia, both on and off the water. With half our team feeling under the weather from a stomach bug (most likely from the quality of river water), we posted a competitive 10th place finish. However, we managed to get a 50 second penalty while crossing the finish line, putting us in 2nd last (just ahead of USA who also got a 50 sec penalty). A rule change from the previous Worlds in NZ, meant that you couldn't trip the finish line with your paddle. Fair enough, we failed to read the entire document stating the rules of the event, our mistake.

Sprint

Giving it on the sprint course.

The disappointing part however, is the arbitrary application of this newly enforced ruling. Ourselves and team USA where not the only team to use this tactic, yet we were the only teams to be penalized for it. According to the International Rafting Federation you can only protest a call given to your team in the 10 mins after the results are posted. Fair, we didn't want to protest the penalty we got, because it was made clear to us that it was an official change in rules and we had clearly broken that rule. But when shown very clear evidence, after the allotted 10 mins, that other teams had done the same yet failed to get penalized we have zero recourse for action. There is nothing set in place by the IRF that allows teams to question either biased or incompetent judging.

Here is a video of another team very obviously using the same tactic we got penalized for. We don't think that the finish line judge could have missed this if he was watching.

2015-12-01 WRC 2015 - Training

We have been here for a few days now, and the river level hasn't come up a great deal. Mind you it hasn't dropped either, so we are at least thankful for that. The food continues to be great, with lots of spice.

Dinner

A typical evening meal

We have been getting out training as much as we can, hampered a bit by bouts of illness, we assume from the river water. Many of the other teams are similarly affected, but we hope that everyone recovers in time for the start of our races. The Youth and Junior races started today, with the Sprint early this morning, and the Head to Head races going on at the moment.

Youth H2H racing

Turkey and Slovakia Youth teams in the Head to Head race.

The Slovakia Mens Youth team is going well, having beaten the Turkish team off the start. They got the lead against the Japanese also, but results have yet to be posted for that one.

2015-11-27 WRC 2015 - Arrival

We have arrived! After some lenthy travels for many of us, we are almost all assembled at the venue for the 2015 Worls Rafting Championships in West Java, Indonesia. Still to arrive are Bill (and most of our paddles), and Jenny our team nurse. All being well, we will see them tomorrow. Meanwhile we have been getting set up in our accommodation and getting our first training runs on the river.

Our cabin by the river

Tim chilling at our cabin

Our cabin looks directly out onto the river, near the start of the first 3 events that will all use the same section of river. No complaints about the food either - the fruit here is fantastic.

Training

There are lots of other teams here, and the atmosphere is great - everybody is looking forward to the racing, and hoping that the river continues to rise. We had heard some horror stories about the downriver course, and it is prety grim with current flows. There has been some rain every day that we have been here though, so fingers crossed for race day!

A chicken

There are lots of these everywhere

2015-09-22 Slalom Training on the Gull River

In preparation for the upcoming World Championships in Indonesia, we have been training hard. Here is a short clip of some of our slalom training on the Gull river near Minden, Ontario. Thanks very much to River Run rafting for their continued support and loan of the raft for our training sessions.

The Gull is a dam-release river, with releases and access negotiated by Whitewater Ontario. It is narrow and fast, so makes for some challenging raft slalom, and has been host to many international slalom races, most recently the Toronto 2015 Pan-Am games.

Good days on the river

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