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January 15, 2005

Training Log- Kristine has been working me over the
past two days, saying that I am not having as much fun in the hole as
I should. I’ll admit that I don’t like flushing out early
or missing a move when the line-up gets long, which it has in the past
two days. We have two more days until organized team training slots. Right
now we have 5 hours and no organization. From Tuesday until the competition,
we will have 12 hours and each team will have one hour to train; much

Today, I decided the inevitable, which needs to be
decided before a major competition like this if you want to win, and that
is that I am ready to win, and I can start paddling like it, acting like
it, and don’t have to stress when I goof something up. Watching
the best boaters train, I now know that the level I am paddling at is
good enough to win. That doesn’t mean anything really in terms of
whether I will win or not, of course, since anything can happen at any
time. However, I perform best when I go for the spectacular, and paddle
for the crowd as much as for the win. It may not make a lot of sense,
and it is a good thing that I don’t have a coach other than Kristine,
because they would tell me to stop showing off and focus on what I am
doing. That is what I have been doing since I got here. I have treated
every moment I have had on the water so far as a sand running from the
hour glass, and when the glass is empty, what I have learned is all I
will learn. There is one thing, however, that you can’t really learn
with your head down and focus so intense. That is the right frame of mind
to paddle in. For me, a broad external focus is best, and that means focusing
outside of myself and on the things and people around me. For somebody
watching, it looks like I am just having a good time without a care in
the world. The great thing is that is exactly what it feels like too.
Every move I can do in this hole, I have already done, I already know
how to do, and I already know this hole as good as anybody. A year more
here and I may know it 5% better, but that 5% is not as important as the
mental state I am in from my first ride to the last one. I do take it
seriously, as seriously as anybody here. The risk is that I am serious
during the competition, because freestyle is best for me with a very excited,
happy, confident (cocky really, but not against anybody) attitude like
I can do anything, and here I go, watch this. In training I have only
practiced this on maybe three or four rides total. One was when an Italian
kayaker was in the water right at the hole with his video camera doing
close up shots. I kept my eye on that camera from the entry move through
some huge loops, cartwheels, blunts, Lunar Orbits, etc. and had one of
my best rides yet. Today, I also wanted to do one, “see what I can
do” ride as kind of a warning shot over the bow to keep the competition
feeling like they need to learn more and train more. I think I did one
such ride for Jay Kincaid also, who claimed I was holding back. We haven’t
really started a proper training/competition thing going yet. I think
he is ready and is paddling really well, but with so many people it just
hasn’t happened.

My moves are generally dependable, except for the cartwheels
getting a little sloppy and slower. I need to work on that soon.

Tomorrow we are on at 7:15 am for a Jackson Kayak training
slot that we bought for $280. We will have 3 Japanese, 3 Americans, 1
Czech for sure, who knows after that. It will be a great 1 hour slot.

I am tired and ready to chill out!

🙂 EJ