I've been on the road for a while now, so it's time for my first report from my 2016 Euro road trip ...
After long preparations with Zosia for the European Freestyle Championships we decided to take a short holiday from freestyle. That didn't mean that we must stop kayaking and sit on our ass watching TV, no, nothing like that. Our short holiday from freestyle was the European Extreme Kayaking Cup.
We came to Embrun, which is a beautiful clifftop city in the French Alps. It was my first time in the area and I felt that I was in the middle of an incredible area. Lots of rivers, beautiful mountains with big snow caps, and many kayakers going in different directions, I thought; God, I want to live here!
We were in Embrun for two days before competition started so we had the chance to try some rivers like the Guil, the boater-X section, and the Biasse, where the long race was to be held. We paddled together in a big group with our new and old friends Lowri and Jamie from the UK, as well as Lane and Jakob from Belgium. Matthieu and Michele showed us good lines and nice spots. Thanks guys!
After two days of paddling it was a time for the first stage of the Euro Cup event the boater-X.
The top thirty-two best paddlers advanced to the main event after time trial. The race section maybe wasn't too long but it showed who had a good feel for keeping fast lines, and which paddlers are really good at adapting to situation during a fight with their opponents.
I was very close to advance to the main event but unfortunately I lost my clean line in the last 200 metres, which cost me valuable seconds and I didn't make it. Zosia paddled fast in the time trial and advanced to women's boater-X final.
Back from all day on the river we went to the event official campsite where the first big party had just began. Outdoor Mix Festival had big party in every evening, so all who wanted to party hard were in paradise.
Next day we went to Biasse river, where we took a part in the long race time trial. The Biasse is a very nice, fast, rocky and shallow river which made for an interesting race. The water level had changed in a couple of days, changing the lines. Once I had very nice lines and I felt that I'm fast and a couple minutes later I've lost the clean line and had to fight with rocks. Overall I had not bad time but made two mistakes made in the middle section that cost me too many seconds to be in the top ten, which was my goal.
Zosia made really nice run and she made second place in K1W in that race. After long race we came back to the campsite where next party had just began.
On the last day we were competing in the extreme slalom which took place in Chateau Queras. Set up in the gorge was a slalom race section with four gates. It was fun and tiring so for me it was perfect :-)
After the extreme slalom we moved back to Embrun to compete in a freestyle competition. The competition spot was kind of flushy wave-hole. Sometimes it was really hard to do anything but sometimes even air screw were possible. It was more like fun than serious competition because the judges were giving extra points for paddlers who mades people shout. I was the only Polish paddler in K1M so it was hard to win the crowd, but even so I made second place.
The prize giving took place in the afternoon for all the Otdoor Mix Festival sports events. While we were waiting for the freestyle ceremony we were watching sick slack line freestyle finals.
The Extreme Cup first stage was won by Eric de Guil, second was Michele Ramazza, third was Mikel Sarasola. In K1W first place was Paja Zasterova, second was Lowri Davies, and third place was Marlene Devillez.
It was a great five days full of paddling with great company. Thanks to Mat Dumoulin and Michele Ramazza for showing us the rivers and your help during the races. Special thanks for Lane De Meulenaere for all your help!
Huge thanks for Alex Jakette and all organising crew who made the Outdoor Mix Festival 2016 edition so sick. Next stop Plattling and the European Championships :)