After all the waiting and preparation, the start of the 2014 Devizes to Westminster International canoe race is almost upon us.
BBC weather forecast as at 16:00 hrs BST:
Friday: 7 to 12 degrees, sunny, 9 mph north easterly breeze (in the left eye!)
Saturday: 5 to 12 degrees, sunny spells, 11 mph north easterly breeze (still in the left eye!)
Sunday: 7 to 10 degrees, cloudy, chance of rain, 15 mph north north easterly breeze (more towards the front!)
Monday: 8 to 13 degrees, cloudy, 10 mph easterly breeze (head wind although the tideway twists and turns)
A warm, dry and sunny DW will be a new experience for Isobel and Megan. How they’ll miss the snow, ice, cold and wet. Even the weather is brighter on the dark side!
Thanks’ to our Waterside experiences we are well prepared for the event having learnt some important lessons and put right some of our mistakes.
One key learning is the issue of sustenance; athletes have to eat to be at their best (and drink). So, I’ve bought 20 lemon and lime energy gels which should see us through the first three days (must get some for the girls too! ).
Isobel is going to take fluid with her instead of waiting for the portages. This will be especially important due to the warm weather.
Megan has fitted a pump and Isobel has some new paddle shoes (or at least she’d better have, as her current ones are due for retirement).
I’ve had my bike serviced and I’ve recce’d the course up until Hurley.
Our article should appear in Canoe Focus this week, so a little more valuable exposure.
Marsport have made me some bespoke spray decks which I picked up today. I cannot speak too highly of their performance. I took the boat in to be measured last Wednesday and Paul and I made a paper pattern for the “tailor”. He discussed the requirement her on Friday and the finished article is with me today.
It completely covers the open area and has a zipped access all the way to the feet, leaving the front thwart available for grabbing. A couple of stiffeners on the rear deck area held reduce sagging, and it fits perfectly. This should really help on the tideway if the boat washes are big.
No doubt DW will throw up some unexpected challenges, but we’ll muddle through.
38 years ago in 1976, the first female crew “officially” completed the DW. 28 years ago in 1986, the singles event was introduced. In 2014 we hope the first women will complete DW in a C1.
See you at Westminster.