Olympic Whitewater Course

Something strange happened a few weeks ago: I got back in a playboat in a concrete river and had fun. I'm classing it as training for the 'proper' (river) paddling I'm hoping to do this season, but secretly: a part of me enjoyed waiting in a queue of boats in order to get on to a wave or into a hole to get thrown around by the force of the water, trying to convince it that I was worthy of an 'established' front surf or split wheel. I blame the Olympics, seriously: the new Lee Valley course is actually pretty good and has clear blue water. So I've now been there a couple of times and have played 'til my arms hurt. I've also been to Cardiff and forced myself to play in every hole on the course - I figured that after the holes I involuntarily entered in Italy, I may as well actually make sure I can remember how to have fun in them. I succeeded.

Here's a couple of pictures I took of the Olympic course (both with and without water). I always find it fascinating to watch the water level rise or fall at these artificial courses - to see how and where the designers have carefully placed their oversized lego bricks to create the features we enjoy. These are the same bricks that always seem perfectly placed to hit the back of your helmet as you're trying to roll up after an impromptu (and failed) front loop attempt:

Looking Upstream from the bridge:

And Downstream: