A catch up with the family………
Peak UK family member Sam Ibbotson recently headed out to the U23 slalom world championships in Ivrea, Italy. It seemed only fitting that his brother, and Peak UK team member, gave him a good grilling about the whole trip!
How was the trip over?
It was nice going out early, I road tripped out with my team mate and one of my best friends Will Smith. We had a great few days getting to know the course and exploring the area before the rest of the team arrived.
How was prep going into the competition?
Leading into the comp I was in a group with 2 juniors that I hadn’t really gotten to know too well before, but it turned out to be wicked to be training with them as they helped to keep the vibes chilled. As a group we worked really well on just enjoying the training and doing the best we could in the run up to the competition.
How was team runs? Any drama? Highlights?
Team runs were on the first day of racing which was unusual as they are normally on the last day of the competition program, however it was a good opportunity to build up to individual racing. The run itself was interesting because, despite not having an issue with my paddle for 2 years, my T-piece started to come off just as we started our race. Luckily I was able to hold it together and contribute my bit to the team run and we managed to win a bronze medal!
What was the atmosphere for heats?
The atmosphere in heats was pretty special, with the course being right next to the city, lots of the locals made their way down to watch, and the support from them and all of the athlete’s friends and families was awesome.
Any big upsets in early rounds of comp?
No major upsets really, all the usual suspects making it through the early rounds, but then there were a couple of the more prestigious boys that missed out on making it into the final.
Thoughts and feelings about the semis?
I wasn’t too sure what to expect going into the semis as I had delivered a reasonable run in the quals but picked up a couple of touches, placing me 20th. I was fairly nervous in the few days before the semi final race, uncertain about how I would do, and worried I wouldn’t be able to progress through to the final. But the on the day itself I started to feel calmer. I had made my run plan with my coach and knew what needed to be done. As I was warming up, I concentrated on confirming my plan in my head, and making sure I stayed relaxed by thinking about ‘the bigger picture’, how life would go on regardless of the result and that that run didn’t define who I was as a person
Were the finals exciting to paddle and watch?
The finals were great to be a part of, the already large crowd seemed to somehow double and as such, so did the noise. On the start line I was excited to go and do the best I could, and despite an early touch, I was happy with my run when I finished it. When watching the rest of the competitors I was in awe of how the fans really came to life whenever it was the turn of an Italian athlete. The knowledge and passion of the local supporters was something I had never seen before.
What happened after the event? Did you party or just go home?
After the race I went out for dinner with a few of my friends and had a couple of social drinks. Then I was down to support the rest of my team mates that were racing on the Sunday. I am now slowly making my way home, driving back via a few different destinations on holiday for a week before I start my preparations for the U23 European Championships toward the end of August.