Mikel Sarasola | Translated by Katie Ellis | Sportscene - Many people have written to me over the last few days asking me if we’ve returned from Argentina yet because they haven’t heard anything for ages. Here we are, it’s been a few weeks since we arrived back but the truth is that I still don’t feel like I’m home. After finishing the expedition everything went really quickly and I just haven’t had time to stop and rest a bit.
As soon as we arrived in Donosti, I spent two days in bed feeling really ill, only getting up to occasionally do some shopping. As soon as I’d recovered a bit, I left for the Pyrenees, in order to paddle and train because the first world cup of the year would be opening the following week and I wanted to remind myself how to paddle white water before going to the competition. This wasn’t the time to be ill.
For 5 days in the Pallars Sobira (in Catalonia) I managed to paddle loads, getting on the water in the morning and the afternoon. I went down the Alto Noguera many times as well as the Arreu and Palomeras. It was great to return to my local rivers and enjoy them together with friends who I hadn’t seen in ages.
Last Tuesday we set off for the alps together with our French friends. The Outdoor Mix festival is an event which brings together competitions in different adventure sports such as climbing, paragliding, windsurfing, longboarding, mountain biking and in the case of kayaking, the long distance race is the world cup for extreme kayaking. The competition consists of 4 parts, of which they take the final competitiors, but the most important of these parts is the Long Race.
The first day we had the Sprint race on the Guisane river which I didn't know. I struggled to get into the swing of the competition, normal I think considering it’s been almost a year since I competed and I finished in 6th position.
The following morning we had the slalom race, in which I had a good run and was placed in 4th position, however in the final I made a mistake, which resulted in a hard hit on a rock which meant I was relegated to 8th position.
Next came the boatercross competition, a format which I have never liked much considering 4 kayakers start at once and they battle with each other trying to be the first across the line. Ironically, this is the race I did the best in, I felt I had settled into the competition and I finished in 2nd place behind the unbeatable Eric Deguil.
On Saturday the most important race of all was celebrated, the long race on the river Guil. By this stage the tiredness in the competitors was obvious. We had already completed several days of competition and this required a lot of effort.
The water level was low which revealed many rocks on the river so it was extremely important to pick a good line before the race, not easy in a 10 minute race. For this reason, every day after racing for the last few days we’d walked close to this river to have a go and check our lines.
I felt really good, with every day of competition I felt happier, I felt physically really good and I was paddling comfortably, so I was really looking forward to this last race.
I had a really good run and the truth is that I would have struggled to have done better but it wasn’t sufficient for a podium place. In the end I finished fourth, just out of the podium places which just showed how strong the other competitors were.
Here are the top 5 finishers:
- Eric Deguil (FRA)
- Bernard Le Gal (FRA)
- Michal Buchtel (CZE)
- Mikel Sarasola (EUS)
- David Pierron (FRA)
In the end I was left with the frustration of not being able to do just a bit more, but very happy with having paddled and enjoyed it so much. I am happy that I’m paddling well once again after my injury and I have really enjoyed the last few months, it’s just what I needed to refresh my soul.
Now, I must return home, rest a bit and get on with my many jobs that need doing.
I want to take the chance once again to that all those who helped our expedition go ahead. It was the most incredible experience and something that I never would have thought was possible. To all those who contributed, I want to say that we will be in touch soon to reward and thankyou for your support.
Website Mikel Sarasola: http://mikelsarasola.blogspot.com.es