As with every day of racing, there’s always a sense of optimism of ‘doing better’ the next day, but not all plans go that way. The race for Ricardo got off to a bad start when he fell putting him some way back in 12th position, wet and cold. Meanwhile James’ start was not the greatest and he was well back in the pack. It was going to be a long tough day.
As the race settled after quite some distance, Ricardo pushed exceptionally hard and at one point found himself up with the front runners. James had also been pushing hard to make up the distance and was leading a train for some time, but paid the price in burning himself out. Meanwhile Ricardo was able to conserve some energy in trading drafting positions.
Unique on this day is the ‘Weir’ where paddlers must dismount and endure a short portage of their boards between waters. The hard part is in lifting the board from the water and running the 100m to the next section of water. Ricardo came in here very strong, James just a bit behind. Later at the rest point, James was visibly exhausted, Ricardo was still in good shape.
With the last leg to go it was time to put the hammer down. Ricardo went off strong, but James who left a little after, seemed distracted and uncomfortable. It was a long windy section and at final finish line in Dokum, Ricardo finished well ahead of James seemingly in good shape, but well behind the front runners.
It was not to be James’ day as it ended with a visit to the hospital, as a result of being rammed from behind and striking his head. He finished bloodied, bleeding and daze, so much so that a trip to the hospital was required. He had given his all on this day, but maybe a little too much, but we salute him for his huge courage in rising to the challenge.
Japan’s Akira paddled out of his skin in keeping up the lead pack for quite some time. At race finish, well behind Ricardo he was clearly battered by the days racing, but had given a tremendous effort. Edonays continued to be upbeat and finished again in great spirits looking forward to the last day. Each day he has been learning more and going faster.