Our team was given a send-off and blessing by friends, family, university staff and coaches on Thursday night. This event was a fantastic way to celebrate the hard work of the team and to acknowledge the people who have helped us along the way. Seeing our team together surrounded by our supporters was humbling and a reminder of how far we have come as a team.
The past 5 months of training we have all had the goal of Hawaii on our minds. Looking back, Hawaii seemed so close yet so far away. The weather over our final weeks has made it tough for us to get out on that water. However, that doesn’t stop us from training at 6 am. Instead, we have been heading to the Uni Rec Centre to sweat out a HITT workout before lectures. There’s really nothing like a few burpees to wake you up.
But it wasn’t until the final water training that the mounting task ahead really sunk in. A cold and extremely windy Monday night welcomed us as we boarded the waka for our final training. The double hull took a beating from all angles with surprise waves breaching the side of the canoe and jostling us about. Weaving amongst the sail boats and ferries, our training is not for the faint hearted. The boat is rocking, the waves landing on your lap are freezing and you can’t see 100 metres ahead. This is the thrill the team craves. Turning the light off for the final time on our canoe signalled the end of our New Zealand training and the beginning of the most daunting task yet….packing.
To say the team is excited is a profound understatement. Is it the excitement of competing in the largest and longest canoe race in the world or is it the excitement of escaping the indecisive weather of Auckland. Who knows, but what we do know is that we are fit and fighting ready to make our mark on the international stage.
Written by Grace Jarvis