5 Days Till Worlds....

      It is 5 days until the ICF Kayak Freestyle Worlds start. I have been in Canada for almost two straight months and I am ready. The journey to this event has had it’s ups and downs for sure. There are days where I feel like I may break and not do my best, there are days where I know I am going to do my best. But, either way, I would never change what I have and the experiences I have been through.

    Most of the women I am competing against have placed their lives on hold to train as hard as they can for this event. They have spent the last couple years traveling the world and finding the best wave features they can to ready themselves. I, on the other hand, spent the winter working for Greenville County EMS and making sure I stayed strong and healthy through my “off season”. I also spent a lot of time doing other things than just surfing waves.

    The run down of my “training” is pretty simple, freestyle kayak when there are waves around, long boat when there is a river to be attained. When I can't kayak, yoga and mountain biking suffice.

 Training for the downriver sprint with "Hustler" an FD Alumni who raced and crushed dreams.

Training for the downriver sprint with "Hustler" an FD Alumni who raced and crushed dreams.

    My “training” started when I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to travel to Uganda for five weeks in March and paddle the waves of the White Nile. When I returned home, I went back to work with GCEMS (for two days) and flew to Colorado for First Descents Lead Staff training.

 I don't do it very often. "It" meaning work or eat Krispy Creme, but when I do, I do it really well!

I don't do it very often. "It" meaning work or eat Krispy Creme, but when I do, I do it really well!

 Highly dysfunctional, but ever so loving First Descents Lead Staff. 

Highly dysfunctional, but ever so loving First Descents Lead Staff. 

      I was home for a week after Colorado, finally some time with my boyfriend after 2 months of being gone. I ventured to the NOC, in North Carolina, for three weeks to work for First Descents, a non profit organization that gives young adult cancer survivors a chance to out live their diagnosis through a free outdoor experience. 

 Seal launching "Postal" during the First Descents NOC trip. #outlivingit

Seal launching "Postal" during the First Descents NOC trip. #outlivingit

    I find that FD is a way for me to ready myself for what is ahead, my participants teach me more than they could ever know and the relationships that I gain from working for FD are life changing. I sometimes feel like working for FD is cheating when it comes to competitions because I know I have a massive following that doesn't care how I end up in a competition. It really is true love and friendship. 

 Celebrating another amazing week with First Descents.

Celebrating another amazing week with First Descents.

    Straight after FD I drove to Colorado in hopes of winning the Homestake Race, I had two great races that were the fastest of the day but I couldn’t deliver during the finals. I did, however, crush the downriver sprint at the GoPro Games. Straight after the GoPro Games I headed to Glenwood Springs to an awesome wave and US Team Trails. This was the first step to actually getting to Worlds. 

    I won Team Trials. I never thought I would be able to say that. But, I won. 

    I headed back to Greenville after another week of training at Glenwood. I missed home and Snowy a lot. I was only home for about four days and headed back to the NOC for some work. I love living at the NOC, I can ride my bike in the morning and do attainments in the afternoon. The mountains are refreshing and crisp, so healthy and full of love. I feel free when I am in the mountains, stoked on life and strong as ever. 

 Summertime Cascades laps are the best. Photo by Sarah Rhulen

Summertime Cascades laps are the best. Photo by Sarah Rhulen

    After being at the NOC for a few weeks, the wave that Worlds is being held on dropped in and I headed north, on July 13th. I have been here since, on the banks of the Ottawa River in Ontario, Canada. I left for a week to do another First Descents camp and saw my family for four days, a nice break to the craziness of training. 

 Time with the family is the most important for recovery.

Time with the family is the most important for recovery.

    I am back in the Valley now, training and having fun. Keeping my head up, I paddle my best when I am smiling and having fun. I am so lucky to be surrounded by the people I am right now both physically and mentally. So, here’s to all of you, thank you for the support and love through this journey. It’s been REAL GOOD!!!! :-)

 So happy to have all of these girls in the Valley with me. I love you all. Photo by David Jackson

So happy to have all of these girls in the Valley with me. I love you all. Photo by David Jackson