A silver trip for the Peak UK mens rafting team…..
Although Peak have supported the team for over 12 years the personnel within the team have changed over the years and rebuilding is always a hard process but for the most recent group of athletes their journey as a team is leaving a big impression on the world of white water rafting. With training plans peaking for the Europeans at the start of July and brand new custom design Peak arriving the week before we left for the competition there was excitement about what the team could deliver on the water.
With a limited international race season, it is always hard to feel totally confident going into the first race of the season as it will have been a hard winter of training for all of the teams. But going into the sprint with a good plan and a great team spirit worked well. With the results coming up on the live screen in front of the main stand the atmosphere was electric, only heighted when team Peak went into 1st place half way through the running order. Strong teams followed but the run was good enough to hold onto joint 3rd, with times being the exact same to 3 decimal places on the electronic timing gear.
The head to head format for this year was brand new, which is very hard to practise for and throws up a lot of surprises. There were some great battles and after switching the lead three times during the race team Peak moved past the teams from Russia and Bosnia for another 3rd place.
Historically the team has done well at these first two events but never really delivered in the final two events and missed out on overall medals on most occasions. It has been a long winter of training, with new training ideas and styles, leading to the team improving in these events. But feeling it and delivering it are very different. After slalom run 1 the feeling was great with the second fastest run time even with a few areas to improve. We were sitting in second place behind an extremely strong Czech team. However, a good plan for improvement and a great team spirit was key for run 2. A strong, clean, fast run and we retake the lead from the Czech boat with them and the Russia team left for a second run.
The Russia boat was fast, powerful, and clean………. until touching the last gate and dropping them into 3rd place, so silver medal at worst for team Peak. What followed was a master class in raft slalom by a Czech team. They are always considered one of the best 2 or 3 in world. Great to watch and learn from so it was on to the last race with another silver medal and 2nd place overall as we sat on the start line.
The Down river race was another huge battle between team GB, the Czechs and the Russian team; we gave everything finishing in second, 8 seconds away from the win. That final second place meant that medals in every discipline resulted in an overall 2nd place in Europe, the teams best international result. A great result which we are all proud of, but we are not finished yet. The training plan is being adjusted with what we have learned, and looking forward to the World Championships in November the hard work continues.
The support from Peak Uk continues and for that we are so pleased it is amazing to be in the best kit on the river and to have it custom designed for us to race in just builds the teams confidence. Thank you Peak UK