Since 8 years the first weekend of October is Sickline time. The Adidas Sickline Race is one of the worlds greatest Extreme Kayak Race and it is named The Extreme Kayak World Championship. This years edition offered something special. For the first time in history all 25 female entry spots have been taken and so the ladies got ranked in their first official world championship result. The ladies startlist presented many impressive names like Jennifer Chrimes (GBR) and Toni Gorge (NZL) who both made the podium in former Sickline Races, multiple times Sickline Queen Martina Wegman (NED) and top female kayaker Mariann Saether (NOR). Only last two years winner Nouria Newman (FRA) was missing to complete the list.
Some of the ladies have been training hard during the year and competet in the Canoe Slalom World Championship in London two weeks before the Sickline event. So I assumed that they must be in a
very good shape and the race will be very exciting to watch this year.
I went to the beautiful Ötz valley three days ahead of the race to have a few days of training myself. It was amazing to meet friends from all over the world and to see how many ladies were already doing laps down the final race course.
First race day. On the first race day I had a good start and it felt like I was flying through the crux of the course called Championskiller. With my first run I placed 2nd only 0,05 seconds behind Martina Wegmann (NED). In my second run I went down Championskiller and came out a little to far right, touched the right hand rock before making it through the slot. I made it to the finish line with almost two seconds more on the clock than in my first run. So Sandra Hyslop from Great Britain who nailed the fastest female time in her second run moved me on the third place in the qualification result. Eight of the Ladies were allowed to start in Semifinals the next day down the Wellebrücke race course.
Final race day. Its been a cloudy night so it didn´t frost at night. As the Ötz is a glacier feeded river and the first snow came already down in the mountains higher up the valley the river came up overnight about 10 - 15 cm.
Again, the ladies had to race first. I felt good in my mandatory practice run, only had to struggle a little bit below Championskiller at the end of the final race course.
In my semifinal run I had a good start and a clean line till the end of the TNT cataract. There I unfortually pulled a little to hard right and catched an eddy. After that my race mood was over. I made it out of the eddy, hit another rock and had to eskimo roll behind Championskiller. As my direct opponent Alona Buslaieva (UKR) had a clean run down the course I got kicked out in this round and placed eight in the end. As I was a bit disappoiunted by my semifinal run I went up the valley to paddle some whitewater with my friends. I enjoyed the rest of the day paddeling laps on the middle Ötz. Congrats to Mariann Saether (NOR) winning the competition ahead of Jeniffer Chrimes (GBR) and Alona Buslaieva (UKR). Get the results here!
Day after the race. After the race is before the race. So I spent the day after the race getting in some practice laps on the final race course before I made my way back home.
It was great to see so many paddlers out there and I´m a little sad because I have the-season-is-over-now-feeling and I already miss catching up with all my kayaking friends on the weekends all over Europe. Hope to see you all next year, especially all you Ladies!