The crowd in Szeged was like nothing I have ever experienced. It really cant be compared with anything I have ever seen at a competition. The fans are incredibly enthusiastic, loud, and full of character. Actually the whole thing looks more like a giant beach party then anything else.
On day 2 of the World Championships Jen and I raced in the K2 1000m A final, the conditions were great for us a stiff head wind and a late afternoon start (we have discovered that we prefer racing later in the day). Going through boat control on the way to the water was a little nerve racking for me, mostly because I was in the situation where I was out of the boat and forced to look up and across at most of the girls. When I am in the boat I tend not to notice the disparity in height and width between myself and the competition. Even though I know that its the strength to weight ratio which is important in kayaking, I definitely had a few moments of “how on earth can I compete against those girls”!
We went through our warm up and were in the starting gate before I knew it. Ready. Set. the gate goes down and we’re off. We had a typical start for us meaning we let everyone have a good head start before we start chasing them down (we are working on that), once we got up to speed the boat was moving well, we kept up the pace working through the wind, leaving everything out on the course. At the 250m mark there was a deafening roar, the noise was completely overpowering and almost physically pushing you, it was the crowd. The roar lasted all the way through the finish. It was by far the coolest thing I have experienced in a competition.
Our goal in the K2 this year was to make the A Final at the World Championships in the 1000m event, we accomplished what we set out to do this year and can build from there for next season.