The Road To The European Championships

After 24 hours of obsessing about elevation, icing and rest, the swelling was already beginning to drop and I realized there was a good chance everything would be okay, some dislocation and bruising but otherwise peachy. I knew I could have my foot mended in two weeks... phew!!!

Every now and again a curve ball comes slicing from the right and your in brand new territory!

My curved ball arrived on fine Friday evening, a wipeout at breakneck speed left me wincing in pain, holding my foot. Body dragging for shore, my mind was filled with thoughts of missing the upcoming European Kite Race Championships. All that training, all that prep up in smoke, just my luck to mess of my foot again just before an important event. At last years worlds I was nursing 3rd degree burns on both ankles after a cooking accident a few days previous.

I think most competitors like a sense of order, and I'm no different, verging on anal about routine. It gives me repeatability and knowledge that I can build upon.

The last two weeks have been very different for me, normally I cram like a student for an exam, spending more time on the water hoping to find an extra burst of speed or control. On this occasion I've sat on my ass, pushed hard in the gym, and taken a break from the beach. I cant help but think that maybe this is not so bad approach for a couple of reasons. I can quite often freak myself out by applying more and more pressure to sessions near events, building up nerves and generally performing worse. This way I'm relying on process, on what I've learnt already. Secondly I've often found that a break from kiting actually helps me, I've often been amazed how after a month or more off I actual kite better than before, maybe its something to do with the learning process as skills become autonomous.

Another brand new training for me is heat acclimatization which involves 90 minute cardio sessions every day, while wearing as much clothing as I can stomach in the run up to my departure for Calabria, Italy. After really struggling at my last event in France. On the verge of heat stroke and not coping well, I realized that the Europeans in July on the Med would be another huge test for my Irish disposition. The actual air temperature itself is not that bad, but with water in the mid 20's, competing right through mid day, and spending 8 or 10 hours on the beach with little shade available. The culmination is pretty brutal.

Now its time to go pack, I've got a few days tuning at the venue Gizeria Lido, Lamezia Therme, and then next week the chips are down. I can only guess at the outcome, at this event last year I came in 16th. This is the first time since the worlds that all the Europeans girls line up together. I've trained my ass off since then, but then again so has everyone else. I guess there's only one thing I know right now.. I know I'm gotta fight like my life depended on it... bring it on, I'm ready!

- with special thanks to PureMagic, Cabrinha & Ristafins for they're support and getting me this far!

Jade is Ireland's Premier Kiteboard racer, competing on the International Pro-circuit & ISAF Olympic Class events. She is currently has a top 10 world ranking