French National Slalom Championships 09 - L'Argentiere La Bessée

Valentin Grollemund's view to Slalom racing

A week long combination of slalom and creeking

As every year on July there's the National slalom championship. This year we came to L'Argentiere La Bessée on July 6th until 12th. The program was simple, we do our official training on the slalom course every day and all the rest of our time we scout the rivers of the region.



We started easy the morning on the Guil river with Alex Dimitriou and Eric Deguil. We had a good water level and it's a real pleasure to enjoy this beautiful alpine jewel!



Early in the morning we went to the Lower Guisanne with some guys from Pau. A little and easy ride to be ready for a good day!



We start early to enjoy again the Guil river just before our training on the slalom course. So, Eric and I were very motivated on the water and we did Chateau Queras - La Triple Chute (triple falls) in 30 minutes...



After our training Raph Thiebaut took Eric and me to the "secret spot" on the Fournel river and I have to say you it's crazy and funny over there!! On the evening I went to Briancon at Raph's home to enjoy a good dinner and the evening.



It was race day for the kayak men, so Raph, Eric and I went again on the river. This time we paddle the rapid of Malafosse near Briancon. Raph knows this rapid as he knows his pocket or his photo camera while he paddles over there often. We had a little look at the rapid and let's paddle this steep section.

On the slalom course, Hugo Cailhol finally took his place on the 2nd spot in Junior K1 after years of problems. Thibaut Gibert finished 2nd in K1 cadet, 1st in C2 cadet with Antoine Runet and Eduard Grosjean 3rd in team K1 cadet!



It was now my turn to paddle on the slalom course of L'Argentiere, and I may say you it was a real pleasure for me to be on the river and go big for this race and finish 2nd C1 senior at the first run. It was probably my best race and my greatest sensations in slalom!! ...Unfortunately, I didn't do the same thing at the second run, and the judges gave me a hard and delicate 50 seconds penalty, so I finally finished 37th... too bad...

Saturday evening, I had the opportunity to be in the jury at the kayak film festival. I saw some great films and more on a big screen!


The results:

Jury prize = The Gispy Family in Corsica by Mat Coldebella

Image prize = French Tour 2008 by Stéfun Pion

Adventure prize = Volcano Ride by Stéphanie Augras and Eric Deguil

Best editing prize = Volcano Ride by Stéphanie Augras and Eric Deguil


Public prize = Volcano Ride by Stéphanie Augras and Eric Deguil



It was the team races day, this year we have the great chance to have a team at my club - MJC Rodez Canoe Kayak with Pierrik Gaudin, Hugo Cailhol and I. We really enjoyed our 2 runs, and it was so good to do this race with 2 duddies! We finally finished 18th at the National Team Trials.

It was for me a great week with some great creekboating and slalom, too bad my slalom races ended bad but that's the game! It was my last race in C1 and I'll probably concentrate myself on the creekboating and don't worry. I'll already train in slalom but with a kayak. New ways are opening for me and for sure it will be more and more steep than a slalom course! ;-)

Many thanks to all of you were support me in C1 slalom, I really enjoyed it and I had great times!

Text by Valentin Grollemund

Pics by Eric Deguil, Jean Grollemund and Valentin Grollemund



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