Shaun Rubenstein

A South African paddler living a dream…

Training update!

The last 3 weeks of training h ave absolutely flown by. I am very happy with how they have gone. I did some awesome sessions with Tim Brabants for the first 2 weeks which was unbelievable. Always a great privilege to train with Tim. Not only did we do some great sessions on the water we also cycled up to the mast on top of the Tokai mountain. It is an 11km non stop clinb to the top and we did it in 1h10. It takes about 20mins to the bottom as you cant go fast because of all the switchback turns. I have really enjoyed this session and I have done it twice since with my best time going up now being 60mins and 13 seconds.

The last week has been spent training with Ant Stott and Graham Solomon. Great to have quality guys to train with again and I got some good marathon experience trying to hang on their wave while they were doing their K2 sessions. For now I only have 1 week left training here in Cape Town before I head off to Singapore. Most of my tough sessions are now behind me and I am just going to concentrate on maintaining the good rythm that I have found in my k1 and also try and get my speed up and portages waxed.
I have really enjoyed my whole build up to this world champs. Not only is it great to be doing something different for a change, I am really enjoying building up for this event without any pressure. Not even I know whether I have managed to build up enough endurance over the past few weeks to last the pace and distance of a marathon world champs and with Hank going so well at the moment, all SA’s hopes lie with him to bring us back a gold. I have been able to just lie low and do my own thing under the radar and I have loved it. After all the pressure of trying to qualify for the Olympics and the low of not having achieved that, these last few weeks have been a real pleasure.
So for now its just making sure I am completely recovered and healthy for race day and then to hope that my experience can get me through with a sniff of a medal :-)

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Marathon World Champs – Singapore

As I am sure that everyone following this blog knows that I have had a bit of a roller coaster ride the last few weeks even though I havent posted for a while. So unfortunately world sprint champs went pretty crap. I am still not sure why we werent firing on the day that mattered most, but it turned out that it just wasnt meant to be. We missed our chance to qualify a K2 for the Olympics which was a real disappointment as I am sure you can all imagine. There is unfortunately no more chances for SA to qualify a K2. SA has however qualified a K1 spot through African qualification but we will have to wait and see whether SASCOC is willing to send a boat to games considering our results at the world champs was below par across the board, besides for Bridgitte.

Anyway this is now out of my hands so I am trying not to think about it too much. What I am thinking about is the marathon world champs at the end of October in Singapore. Mt request to compete at the marathon world champs was accepted by CSA and my quest to transform back from a 200m to a marathon paddler has begun. Its quite a daunting task considering that I have been training for a 32 second race for the last 3 years and now I am trying to prepare for a 30km race in just 6 weeks. My training however has been going well and I am definitely getting fitter and getting back into the rhythm of marathon paddling. Whether I will have enough in the tank come race day will be a mystery untill the day as there are no pre races that I can do in order to test myself properly. I am however really training hard. I have a brilliant training partner for the next few weeks in Olympic Champ, Tim Brabants. Yesterday we bust out a tough 20km wash lead session which was great and definitely the kind of training sessions that will get me onto the front bunch at worlds and hopefully keep me there. Anyway I am super excited to go into an event with no pressure and no expectations. I obviously have set myself pretty high goals for the race but I am under no pressure considering my limited preparation for the event. I will be relying on a lot of experience come race day!!! Exciting Times!!!

Off the water I am pretty busy working on an exciting business initiative and also trying to finish off my studies. Days seem to be flying by which is a good thing as it means that I am busy. Will do an update on my marathon progress again pretty soon.

What are the chances that I will be celebrating like this on the 22nd of October???? Only time will tell… Its a long shot but I will certainly be trying!!!

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Ready to Rock!

I have been in Hungary now for about 2 weeks, completing my final preparations for World Champs in a little town called Szolnok. I have spent most of my pre world champs training camps here over the last few years so I feel very comfortable here and I always get to do a good quality of training here. So far, this year has been no different.
Mike and I have had a great 2 weeks of training. Our k2 is going really well, we are both healthy and strong so now its just to put the last 3 years of preparations into play when we line up next weekend in Szeged for the World Championships and the Olympic Qualifications. This race is by far the most important race for us as a k2 combination so while the pressure is on, we both feel as if we are in the best shapes of our lives and we are paddling faster than ever, so were are excited to get into the racing and see what we can do.
I am super excited to race in Szeged. Not only will the atmosphere be unreal, with thousands of spectators lining the side of the race coarse, my wife will be in town to watch me race internationally for the first time. Alongside my wonderful wife will be my parents, my brother and sister in law, my in laws and 3 of my mates from back home so it is going to be a great weekend with lots of proudly SA support.
The pic below is of Mike and I doing a time trial in our new Vanquish Quatro. Nelo have designed such a spectacular boat. Just when you think it cant get better, Nelo come up with the goods. I am proud to be associated with such a great team.

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Time is ticking!

2011 season seems to be flying by… We have now raced all our pre world champs races and we are now left with 2 months of really hard training preparing for our attempt to qualify for the London Olympic Games, when we race off against the rest of the world at the world champs in Szeged this August.

We raced world cups 2 and 3 and we had mixed feelings about our results. We ended up coming 2nd in the B-final at the 2nd world cup in Racice and while we were very disappointed with the result we spent a lot of time analyzing where we were losing time on our main competition. We spend the following week trying to put our new lessons into practice. The 3rd world cup in Germany went a lot better for us and we felt as if we were racing well and competitive with all the other top crews. We made the A final and even though we had a shocker of a start in the final we had a solid race, coming 8th but not too far off the medals.

Since then we have been back home in Cape Town, training really hard and focusing very hard on perfecting absolutely every part of our race. While it has been a bit chilly, we have had pretty good weather most of the time allowing us to train at high level. We will be here for 4 more weeks before we head off to Szolnok in Hungary to do our final preparations in a hot climate, preparing our bodies for the heat in Szeged. For now its head down and focus on speed…

The pic above is of the sunrise that we are treated to every morning before training!

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SA Champs!!!

SA champs 2011 is now a thing of the past and I really pleased with how Mike and I raced our K2′s. Most people we suprised to see that Mike and I have swapped places in our boat, with Mike taking up the stroke position with me in the back. This was our first time ever racing like this so we were pretty excited to see how we went and we have definitely seen some good improvements. Our first race together was the 500m K2 which we won very comfortably in a time of 1:29,6 a full 3 seconds ahead of 2nd place. Our next race together was the 200m K2 which again went very well. We clocked 32,7 and finished 1,8 seconds clear of 2nd place. At this stage however times and winning margins are just numbers as our focus is on racing the best crews in the world. The biggest plus that we can take out of our racing at SA champs is that our new combination is working well and that our boat is running very smoothly. We will only be able to see whether the new max speeds that we are achieving now are competitive against the rest of the world in 2 weeks time when we race World Cup 2 in Czech.

In the K1 races, I only raced the 500m and 200m, but Nick Stubbs was in a league of his own. He won the 1000m very convincingly and in the 500m I got to feel just how well he is paddling. Nick and I broke well clear of the rest of the field and got to the final 100m’s neck and neck. Nick however controlled his raced perfectly and started pulling away in the final 50m with me coming in 2nd. The 200m K1 was a very tight race with Nick, Mike and myself. Nick suprised everyone here by matching Mike and my acceleration and top speed and true to his 1000m form he managed to keep his top speed up longer than Mike and I, edging Mike into 2nd and me into 3rd. We were all a second clear of the rest of the field. I am very stoked with how well Nick is paddling. Qualifying in the 1000m K1 is a very tough task, but it looks as if Nick is heading that way. I am very excited to see him race in the world cups. I think he might just continue to spring some suprises.

All in all it was a good weekend out for our little core team coached by Marcus. The 1000m, 500m and 200m K1 and K2 was won by Marcus’s athletes which is a good confidence booster for all of us, knowing that our training is going well and according to plan. The pic above was taken of our team after all our races.

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