End of My First World Championships

Wow I had an incredible week. There is nothing like Sprint Kayak. I am in awe of my sport. The feats of strength, endurance, technique, determination, and power that I saw this week are unparalleled. Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to paddle a kayak, stop right now and thank the Lord for giving you such an opportunity. And anyone who has ever experienced Sprint Kayaking, don’t bother getting up off your knees, just live your live in constant gratitude. The craziest thing is that kayaking is just an extra gift God has given His children! If such gratitude is due Him for such a simple gift, how much more should those who know Him live their life in ceaseless gratitude. Haha and even better than that -if you are His, He is the source of that gratitude!
I am overjoyed to be a Christian, because I see the Creator in every stroke.
Looking back at these last three days, I have many highlights. I can’t say what I enjoyed the most, the K2 B Final 500m was a blast! We took 7th with our best time ever. I also really enjoyed the K1 200m. I made it past the Heat with a 4th place finish and even though I got last in my Semi-final I loved every second

Our K2! - Don't worry, the tape was just so my arms didn't fall off doing the 200m K1. No real injuries thank the Lord!
! David Petrovics did a great job stroking our K2 and I am so glad we got to race and train together this last month and a half.
But now looking forward, I have a much clearer view of what lies ahead. I can sum it up in two words: HARD WORK! I am going to lay it down every practice and if I’m not physically and mentally exhausted after every practice I’m not training hard enough. My Creator deserves nothing less than my absolute best and that takes complete focus every workout. I haven’t trained near hard enough – but finding my strength in my Redeemer – from now on I will.
I’ve said it before but I can’t say it enough, I am so grateful for the contributions of so many of you supporting me as I train and race. It is extremely humbling and it is so encouraging, that so many of you have faith in what I do.

Day 1 Canoe/Kayak Sprint World Championships

Today was incredible! I saw several reigning Olympic Champions not make the A Final. There were at least 15 guys within a second of each other! The field for Sprint Kayak is so dense!
I am so excited to be apart of this sport! There are many sports that sit stagnant. I believe that as soon as the athletes stop progressing in a sport, that sport is not worth existing anymore! The sport of Sprint Kayak is so dynamic! Every year there are 5 guys breaking the last year’s world record!
This is such an incredible opportunity! Even though for some reason this sport isn’t popular in the United States, I am honored to be a Sprint Kayaker. The best sport in the World!
I am so motivated to train even harder than before!

# of Workouts till the World Championships: 0

That says it all! I’m just killing time till I can head to the start-line. I race tomorrow at 11 am (Hungarian time)! Root on TEAM USA! Follow my Twitter from the course and I’ll have an update here tomorrow night. There is supposed to be live streaming online at Szeged2011.com I haven’t found the exact link to the live stream but it will be up once the races are running.
I covet your prayers!
Thank you all so much for your support! A special thank you out to those who helped fund my trip over here. I can’t thank you enough!

Szeged Bound

Tomorrow morning we leave for Szeged. This is easily going to be the largest regatta I’ve ever been to. There is a good chance that there will be more spectators at this regatta than at all other regattas I’ve been to in my life combined. And that’s just one day of this four day regatta. I don’t know whether or not there will be internet there so if you don’t hear from me till Monday don’t worry- an update will be coming. I am extremely excited and actually a little nervous. This will be the best performance of my life. That’s the plan. Every stroke will be true, every stroke will be powerful and every stroke will be my best. Why because anything less “sacrifices the gift” and by giving my all I Glorify my Creator – which is more important than all the medals, glory, and acclaim the world can offer. Pray that I can do this!

Pusiano, Italy

I’ve been here in the small town of Pusiano, Italy for the last five days and am absolutely in love. There’s coffee everywhere and the food is both delicious and great fuel for training. I haven’t been anywhere I could so easily move too as here. Even the language is not that difficult. Between knowing Spanish and having taken some Latin, I can generally make out most of what is said. It is also one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, between the glassy lake, the Dolomite Mountains, the white houses with red roofs and the eighteen church steeples I can see from the lake- I think it may take the cake! That’s not mentioning all the Ducatis I’ve seen and how wonderfully efficient the European cars are.
As wonderful as all that is, the real reason I’m here is to get wicked fast before World’s next week! So far, that’s exactly what we’ve been doing. David Petrovics and I trained together for about 3 weeks in Oklahoma City and fixed a number of kinks but we’d hit a plateau, we’d got as good as we could without a coach. Now we have Guy Wilding watching over us every practice and Shaun Caven and Stein Jorgensen have both helped us quite a bit with video review. We’ve been getting faster by leaps and bounds! Tomorrow morning we have a time trial so I’ll let you all know how the boat’s moving!
I am learning so much everyday! It is one of my favorite things to do- to perfect the talents given me from above. I thank God for every day I get to paddle!

One of many great things about Italy!

National Championships

This was a good Nationals! I didn’t taper much for Nationals, but nevertheless I felt very strong going into the regatta. My best performances were definitely in my K1 with a 5th place finish in the K1 1000m, 4th place in the 500m, 7th in the 200m and my best ever performance in a K1- 3rd place in the K1 5000m. (*placings are of US athlete’s only, Carlos Garcia was racing Internationally). David and I placed top 3 in all of our K2 races, but I still feel like we have some more speed to un-tap. With the help of the awesome coaching staff we have here, we’ll be tapping that in no time!
As I mentioned earlier my K1 5000m was my best performance ever, and it was quite possibly one of my favorite races ever! Here’s the lowdown:

The 5000m race felt so good! Going into it I thought it was going to be very different than it played out. I was anticipating a large peloton-like group made up of 8-10 of the top guys brutally fighting it out to the death, and it looked even more like that as we vied for starting positions. Then the race was off and the two Michael brothers and Carlos Garcia pulled out in front and no one else was there! I tried so hard to catch their wash, I nearly had it at the first turn but then lost them in the mess of Junior K2s. As the three top boats pulled away, I was left alone figuring the whole pack was nipping at my heals ready to ferociously swallow me up in their wash at any moment, so I pounded through that first lap. After finishing the first lap and still no sign of the other paddlers I had a paradigm shift, instead of passively waiting for someone to catch me, then hopping on their wash, I should press on alone and hold them all off. From there on I pushed and pushed, every time something hurt I’d pull harder, whenever my boat speed dropped, I’d pick it up, when I pulled up on a boat, I’d put a burst of speed and pass them. I was pushing my limits but I told myself I had none. The only limit I had was my mind. It was great, the boat was running and each stroke was strong. End of the second lap I saw Carlos all off the Michael brothers’ wash, he was done after that, I watched him give up. So I threw some more coal on the flames and headed after him! I caught him at the final turn. That was the first chance I had the whole race to ride a wash and i was on it for a grand total of 200m. And it wasn’t an easy 200m, the whole last stretch I was trying to fight my way over Carlos’ wash. But every time I’d surge forward, he’d match my speed. With 200m to go I just made a mad dash for it and fought all the way to the finish – just a hair behind Carlos. Because Carlos is an international paddler, his races didn’t count as part of the US Nationals so I ended up getting 3rd place behind the Michael brothers! I worked my heart out for this medal and definitely paid for it. I felt sick until the next morning.
I am so thankful for this race! The Lord encouraged me so much through it. He taught me to press on harder, and not just in a race but in kayaking as a whole. To press hard through every workout, and to keep that knife-edge focus through out the whole workout. But I would be deeply neglecting this lesson if I didn’t also apply it to my life. Every gift we receive is fulfilled when we give it back to Him, so this race and the lesson I learned is to be used ultimately in my walk with God. How often do I just ease up and wait for a ride in my spiritual walk? And how often am I “content” with my pitifully meager knowledge of Him? I shudder at how often I find myself dragging at the exit and not hitting the catch! But in Christ who lives in me I am able to live like Paul; “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” And God is so faithful, even when I am contenting myself with eating dirt, He restores my soul, to follow Him in spirit and in truth. Praise be to God! Because He enables me to no longer squander this opportunity here on earth but instead to be His servant, His kayak ambassador, that His beautiful purpose might be achieved. Consider that! Even I can be a participant in the plan of the Almighty Author and Perfecter’s plan! That is why I kayak! Because God has made me a kayaker on a mission. Praise be to God!

PS:

I tried to post a Nationals update sooner but was thwarted by none of the airports I was at having free WiFi, most of this was actually written by hand on one of my flights. But finally I found some WiFi here in Pusiano, Italy, 45min from Switzerland, at a lake in the foothills of the Alps.

Local Sports Figures Offer a Father’s Day Salute

Staff Reports, June 19, 2011. NewsOK.com, in print in the Oklahoman.
Local Sports Figures Offer a Father’s Day Salute

Oklahoma City University sprint kayaker Cedric Bond about his father, Douglas:
“He wasn’t a coach or anything like that. He just supported me in what I do. I’d say probably the biggest way he supported me was making sure that I know it’s not all about kayaking. I’m very religious, and I live my life as a Christian, not to make my way to heaven but out of gratitude and love for the gospel. He led by example, showing me how that’s done and by teaching me. He might have said, ‘It’s not all about kayaking,’ but he definitely went on to show what it is all about. Just a wonderful, wonderful influence in my life.
“Last summer, I was in Lake Placid, N.Y., at the U.S. Olympic training center there. He actually got to come up to it. He’s an author, so I think he was at a book conference on the East Coast and was able to come up for my regatta. It’d been a number of years since he’d been able to come to a regatta. It was really fun. It was really a good time.”

Read more: http://newsok.com/local-sports-figures-offer-a-fathers-day-salute/article/3578612#ixzz1Tp3fz1Ar