The 2 faces of the Avon Descent.
Looking back, the 2013/14 Canoeing WA Marathon series as the lead up to the Avon Descent provided many opportunities to meet, greet and come to know some truly wonderful, committed CLCB members and their families.
These opportunities and events provided an non-discriminatory environment that genuinely ignored individual ability (or lack thereof), age, gender and in my case level of fitness. Coupled with varying course lengths and patient race coordinators/coaches willing to wait for those of us who started the season slowly, the training face delivered for me many shared experiences and the motivational fuel to come back and do it all again in 2015.
I have to say that training with Family and new friends has been the highlight of the 2014 racing season.
The Marathon series was all flat water racing which at times was more mentally than physically challenging.
The Avon Descent was however something completely different. In theory it’s a 2 day event on a mostly quiet calm river that meanders through 124 kilometres of pristine tranquil scenery if you ignore the sound of the occasional train.
The reality is more like awesome scenery, ti-trees, fast flat water, heavy breathing, rocks, laughs, white water, ti-trees, fog, unplanned swims, rapids, pounding heart rate, chats with other paddlers, refreshingly cold water, early morning cold starts, 2000 helpers and volunteers, a really cool finishers medal and have I mentioned ti-trees.
In short a life changing experience that I would do again!!!
Like the training the highlight was the honour to share this experience on the water with Mitch, Tait, Ron and along the way with Suzanne, Keeley, Robyn, Chris, Cathy, Michelle, Agnes, Alistair, Laurent, Maurie and James.
To you all well done, thanks and cheers
Avon number 5
I’d have to say I’m really enjoying these teams of 2 instead of the solo. While the solo’s were very rewarding (once you’d finished and the pain had subsided) the teams event is much more social and you can get away with less training. Which is the bit I hate. Its chalk and cheese when it comes to laps of Champion Lakes or km’s on the flat water compared to the flowing water and obstacles on the Northam to Bayswater stretch. Getting to partner up and do a couple of legs each day is great. You get that different sort of drive when you know your each depending on each other to not stuff it up and get to the end of each leg.
As for the race itself, we both had a great weekend. We did a pretty good time almost cracking the top 100, had no major spills and both boats and occupants came hope in one piece. Laurence has now completed his first Avon which has been a long time ambition, which was great to share. We both saw plenty of spills along the way. I came across the K2 buried in the middle of ‘Deadly mistake’, saw broken paddles, dented boats and plenty of camaraderie on the water.
A special mention must go to the support crews who do a fantastic job and make it possible for the paddlers to get to the end. Without them we’d be stuffed. I had a great one and think they were almost as stuffed as me and Laurence come the end. So now to plan for Avon number 6. I have a keen 16 yr old that wants to kill me by taking a plastic double down next year. Oh well, sounds like a new challenge. So in true Avon Descent spirit … bring it on !!!!