This was it! The grand finale, and what better than attempting to run down a series of waterfalls? Having always had a fear of heights, I have to say that I never thought I would be able to manage this!
The waterfalls varied in height. The first few we ran down were relatively small, and my team kept reminding me that it doesn’t matter how high the drop is, the technique is the same. Of course, these wise words of advice were long forgotten when it came to attempting the last drop. As I approached the edge I was coaching myself out loud – “you’ve got this, it’s going to be ok”. As I pushed my paddle off the edge time seemed to stand still. I could feel myself pulling my head and body backwards, as if this was somehow going to save me from dropping down the other side.
When I came in to land I hit the foam pile, which made for a relatively soft landing, and it was all over. I had done it. Mission complete!
I have been lucky enough to have had an on-going dialogue with Red Bull-sponsored, extreme kayaker, Rafa Ortiz. He regularly runs huge scary waterfalls that make these ones pale into insignificance. He has given me lots of support and encouragement along the way, and it was nice to be able to make a (very small) nod to his work on my last day of kayaking in the French Alps. I came away from that experience feeling extremely proud of what I had achieved with just 6 months of training under my belt.