Orton Mere

Jun. 1st, 2016 11:12 pm
feanelwa: (braids)
[personal profile] feanelwa
Did a competition last weekend, Orton Mere in Peterborough. Flat water (= endurance, and boy do I feel it) except for a little bit of a whoosh at the bottom of the weir that goes into the mere, which is a little bit smaller than at the bottom of Marple where I train normally, waves maybe up to spraydeck height.

Set a few good times. Had problems getting the cross on the whoosh right because the water feels different to anything I've been on before - it's very aerated from how it hits the bottom of the weir, so you are basically paddling bubbles. There isn't any surface tension! So you can't use the water in quite the same way as a solid wave. I got used to it a bit more with every run but would like to practise it and understand it better outside the competition.

Also odd in that it's a one-side-of-a-weir course and you go up towards the weir for the first half, and down away from it for the other half. So there isn't a stream that you follow and somehow that makes remembering the route a bit different even though they have numbers and direction markers on, which also took a while of getting used to. Gates are coded green for "go through this downstream" and red for "go through this upstream". But I think my brain has made its own shorthand that green = go through in the direction that you're generally aiming, red = turn round and go the other way for a bit. So when the direction that the course leads you is upstream, that shorthand doesn't work anymore, with hilarious/interesting results...

On the Sunday, having got my head mostly round it, I acted as guide for one of the little kids who was worried about getting it wrong, got her round ok, then on my own run (a few paddlers after and still knackered!) something really weird happened. I had a feeling like waking up from an operation and not knowing how you got there, between gates 6 and 7, got really disoriented and did 7 thinking it was 5, followed by 6, so I lost 6. It was really spooky feeling, as well as getting a massive penalty for forgetting how to count. Esther suggested it was from being "in the zone" for the first 5 gates, I suspect also that something was going on with my internal route-minding thoughts that went a bit wrong having gone round the course with [kid] without doing the gates. Or maybe the shorthand kicked in again because I was tired and I went into "yes paddle downriver" mode. So I have learned not to do that just before my run in future... I dis-volunteered myself for that in the afternoon and she seemed absolutely thrilled about trying it on her own and kicked ass, anyway. (She kicked my ass! Bah!)

So that was mainly (a) good exercise - I have spent 2 days peeing and drinking a lot and craving protein, and I can feel things have changed, and (b) an experience learning about different types of course and ways water behaves. And an excellent weekend with excellent people!

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