Category Archives: General

Out of the Silence

After over a year of silence I am once again writing a blog post. It is really quite shocking that it has been so long since my last post. I apologize for the silence! If you noticed from some of the posts leading up to this, I had been trying to do quite a bit. I ended up overwhelming myself and that is the primary explanation for the silence. I had taken far too many commitments and was flooded. But after quite a battle with it all, I am beginning to regain control– or rather I am finally submitting control to the Lord– and things have leveled out quite a bit.

I will try to give a quick recap of what has happened over the last year.
- I started dating an amazing girl (who has made an appearance on here previously when she let me bring my kayak into her classroom at The Children’s Center in Bethany and speak to her students.) Nov. 2011
- I bought a house…. (yes, my dad and I purchased a house – may have been overly ambitious but it happened.) Feb. 2012
- Blacked out from exhaustion… had to stop training for two week, and undergo a bunch of tests. Feb. 2012
- Won second place in the K1 1000m at the Olympic Team Trials, qualified for the Senior National Team (not Olympic), and U23 National Team. April, 2012 (I have sure relived this race a time or two over the last eight months.)
- Won a bunch of races at the Collegiate Nationals (7 all within a few hours of each other) and really screwed something up in my shoulder and haven’t been able to train on the water regularly since then.
- July 7, 2012 I proposed to Ashley Faye Baumann (She said Yes.)
- November 17, 2012 I got married to Ashley Faye Bond.

So today this finds me happily married; a Junior at Oklahoma City University studying Social Studies Education; and less fortunately, a crippled kayaker who’s training consists of physical therapy, running, spin biking, and physical therapy exercises. David Huslig has been amazing and has really helped me make a lot of progress over the last year, but I am still not fully able to train.
If you think that might be a little frustrating you are correct. It has been very difficult. I don’t know when I will be healed but I am hoping it will be soon enough to race this summer. I don’t mind not winning so long as I can give it my all on the water – something I cannot do right now.

I hope to give an account, over the next few months, of my return to health and training. My goal in this is to share the many ways the Lord has been good to me. Thus I will naturally include bits about Ashley and my life together and how we are growing. Marriage has been absolutely wonderful. The Lord is teaching me so much through Ashley and we are both growing closer to Him. Ashley has been very encouraging and prays very faithfully for my shoulder to be healed. Her prayers have mingled with those of many others and this has been a huge encouragement.
Please continue to pray for the complete healing of my shoulder and for a speedy return to the water.
Thank you all for reading! I leave you with a stanza from Anna Waring’s great hymn of Faith:

Father I know that all my life
Is portioned out for me,
The changes that are sure to come
I do not fear to see;
I ask the for a present mind
Intent on pleasing Thee.

Back at it!

Since my last post, just shy of two months ago a fair bit has happened. I left you all with an excited summation of the World Championships and thanksgivings for the wonderful blessings in my life. So, to catch you all up on what the Lord has been doing in my life lately, I’ll give you the run through.
I returned to OKC and hopped directly back into the routine of class and work and life. I took a much needed week off the water, and got caught up in my classes. After bumming around in a few of my friends rooms I got my housing situation worked out and ended up moving into the best rooming situation I could have dreamed of. I’m rooming with two acting majors and a rower, so we have two athletes and two artsy people – two cooks and two cleaners – two chill folks and two fast paced people and it’s been incredible! My roommates are Scott Jones, Brock Turner, and Nathan Goodrich and they’re all stalwart Christian guys. It has been so incredibly encouraging living with these guys.
My life has actually gotten busier than any other point. I’m taking fifteen hours of classes, working fifteen hours at Cuppies & Joe, training baseball players on Tuesday nights (more to follow), and training 20-25hrs a week. In between all the scheduled things, I’ve been cooking for myself, meeting with my new mentor, and living life with all of the wonderful people God has put in my life. For the first month and a half I was going strong but lately I’ve gotten a little fried. I need to make sure and let God do it all and not try to do it myself.
I mentioned that I’ve been training some baseball players on Tuesday nights, well it’s even cooler than it sounds. A friend of mine, Matt Floyd owns the company, Prodigy Sports OKC and it’s a training group for middle-high school aged baseball players to develop their skills and help them become the best baseball players they can be. But far more importantly, his idea behind it is discipleship and relationship. So I go to the gym, instruct them on their workouts, help them out with the mental side of sports, and lead them through a core workout, but ultimately my job description is to invest in these guys and point them toward Jesus. It has been an incredible blessing.
I’ve definitely hit “the grind” of training again. Time to push through and consciously decide to love the sport, even when it’s cold and painful. But even with through all the hard work and grind, I am still infatuated with the sport. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous lately, sunny and in the 60-80s with calm water.
I’ve also had some really cool media opportunities lately. Two weeks ago I was featured on the local Channel 4, in a little story about coming down from the Northwest to kayak in the middle of the country and how I work at a coffee shop and other fun stuff. It was a neat story and a great opportunity. Then that week I was also featured in a TV program called The Real Winning Edge, put on by Challenger Films Inc. They feature Christian athletes and their life and journey with their Savior. I really struggled with it a lot- why do they want to do a feature on me? But then I realized that it wasn’t on me at all, it was a feature on Jesus =) What a blessing to get to be a medium for telling people about Jesus!
In thirty minutes or so I am going to be speaking at a pediatric hospital/care center for handicap children in Norman, called the JD McCarty Center. I am so excited! I got to do this kind of thing twice this last summer and it was a remarkable blessing. Pray that the children will get joy out of this!

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.

Blessings Immeasurable

As I have been training lately I have been learning so much about the incredible Goodness of the Lord, His provision and purpose for my life.
The generosity of so many of you has been incredible! I am too excited to see what the Lord has planned for me in the next few weeks.
I’ve had quite a number of media opportunities lately as well as probably one of the greatest opportunities of all my kayaking carrier so far. I had a TV interview with OU Television, a piece from the Children’s Center, and next Saturday I have an interview with an Atlanta based TV program. Also today I had a phone interview with Tacoma Weekly. All these are opportunities to glorify the Lord and I am so grateful for them!
The two days I got to go speak at the Children’s Center in Bethany, OK were some of the most beautiful days this sport has given me. I got to bring in all my paddling equipment along with my boat and talk to all the children there, some of whom were very severely handicap and would never have been able to learn anything about kayaking or anything like it. The joy on their faces as they got to touch the paddle and the boat was beautiful.
Tomorrow I leave for Nationals in GA then next Sunday I leave for Italy. It’s all so crazy, I pray that every minute of it will be used for God’s glory. Pray that I will have many opportunities to share the Gospel!
I’ll keep you all posted!