I just finished up with Jr. Slalom Team Trials at the Dickerson course in Maryland! I am finally old enough to make the team, so I was really excited for this team trials. I had been training in Charlotte, NC. for the past few weeks trying to improve on my gate technique, and I was feeling really excited for the race.
We got there 3 days before the competition, and were lucky enough to be able to stay in an amazing house with an incredibly sweet family, the Becker’s. Sadly, we didn’t have water until 2 days before the competition, so it was time for some metabolic conditioning! We did a routine every morning before we went boating that included a run for 15 min while doing push ups, squats, and jumps. Then we would do a short circuit workout followed by some sprints. When not working out, we did a little site seeing. On the first day, we went to the Space Museum (which was amazing!) and then went and did a session on the feeder canal on the Potomac River. The next day, we woke up, did met con, ate breakfast, and then headed down to the course to get ready for our session. The course (Dickerson) is located right next to a coal power plant so you have to be escorted through it to get to the course. Once we got there, we got dressed and jumped in our boats. This was my first time at Dickerson and by the first run, I was hooked. It was technical, but you could also use the water very easily! The next day, we skipped met con and headed down to the course for our session. After that, we watched the other competitors and teams boat, then helped set the course and watched demos. The course looked awesome, being challenging, but really fast and tight!
The next morning, we got up early to eat breakfast and then drove to the course to get ready to race! I did a quick K1 and C1 course walk with my coach Jordi, then I went and warmed up on the river next to the course. After warming up, I grabbed my phone and started listening to my new favorite pump up song (Shake it Off by Taylor Swift) and watched the mens C1. Then it was time for my first C1 run! There was quite a few C1 women including a few Canadian girls which was awesome!! My first run went pretty well, but I had quite a few touches and I was late on couple gates. After everyone was finished, I was sitting in first for women’s. I had a little break in between runs and my bestie Teagan and I took the opportunity to start singing our favorite songs to loosen up. Then it was time for my first K1 run. It wasn't great, my new paddle changed to a 90 degree feather instead of my normal 30 degree so I had a lot of touches putting me in 2nd. Afterward, I watched recordings of my runs with my coach to see what I could improve upon. Then I was ready for my second C1 run. It went really well, and I stayed on line a lot better with fewer touches. In the end, I was 1st in Women’s, improving my time by 10 seconds! After fixing my paddle, it was time for my second K1 run. It also went a lot better with only a couple of touches, putting me in 1st. After cheering on the rest of my team mates, I helped pull in some gates, then waited for the new course to be created. Once it was finished, we watched demos, walked the course, then went home. I was really excited, the new course looked amazing and technical!
The next morning we woke up, grabbed some breakfast (my usual race day meal, Chobani coconut yogurt) and headed out the door. I did the same thing as the day before (walking the course with my coach and warming up). Then it was time for my first C1 run (the first runs were also qualifying runs for National Championships). It went fairly well, putting me in first going into finals. I had good lines, and just needed to clean up my touches. Next up was my first K1 run! It was ok, putting me in 2nd going into finals, but I needed to clean it up again. After a quick lunch and video review, I was ready for my second runs! My C1 run was almost perfect with only a couple touches and only one little change to my original plan. After everyone was finished, I was first for Women's C1 and National Champion! Then it was time for my last run of the day, my K1 run! I was super pumped and ready to go! I had the best run of my racing days so far! It was clean and I was on line the whole time. In the end, I was 3rd in K1 Women’s National’s and first in the Juniors! Huge thank you to my amazing coach and my parents for all of the help! Also a big thank you to everyone who helped with and organized the race and to the coal company for letting us hold the event there, but biggest thank you of all to the Becker’s who opened up their house and hearts to us, hope we inspired their daughter Lilly to become a paddler!