…just concluded yesterday afternoon in dickerson, maryland. the race was a great time. typically, it's difficult for me to get focused and ready to race at nationals because it always falls just a week or two after the world championships or olympics. but this year, things went pretty well. i won my fourth consecutive national championship. both my runs were were decent, each with one touch. the second, in particular, felt great. i incurred a two second penalty near the top of the course and decided to push my limits on the rest of the course. it's always fun to have an excuse to take excessive risks during a race run. i managed to hold on until the bottom and posted the quickest c1 running time of the day. with the touch however, i was pushed behind slovakia's matej benus for the overall win. with an excellent clean run in a borrowed boat, i must admit that i was simply out paddled.
i also took scott parson's second run in kayak. due to a tweaked rib, he decided not to risk furthering his injury on the second run. after confusing the crowd and announcer for the first few gates, it was quickly realized scotty couldn't have gotten that much worse over the lunch break. i flipped at gate 10 and took quite some time to remember how to roll a kayak. luckily i figured it out and didn't have to ditch the paddle to hand-roll, or worse the unthinkable swim at a slalom race.
later in the afternoon, there was a boatercross and i got to jump into a plastic boat for some head to head full contact kayak racing. i made it to the final heat, mainly by beating up on local juniors, receiving only one rough shot to the back of the neck along the way. my final was not very good though and i was the last boat to cross the line. oh well, it was fun anyway.
over the last couple days i've been working on a new slalom boat with u.s. head coach silvan puberal, squeezing in runs and boofs on great falls in between epoxy stages. all in all, it's been a great trip to the washington d.c. area.