Dare and Dare Not

Posted: 13th June 2015 by Casey Eichfeld in Uncategorized

   Travel has made the Earth seem a little smaller in size, but greater in the enormity of its beauty and diversity. Perhaps that is a very privileged thing to say as I have been a world traveler from the age of fourteen. I have been racing for the United States for nearly twelve years across the globe where I have been lost in many countries, pointed at unknown meal choices on the menu, and followed a crazy dream.

   I hope you won’t forget, just as I haven’t, that racing is as much a job as it is a passion. I have many meetings to attend, deadlines to meet, and performance expectancies. Never will I deny how lucky I am to travel this planet, but neither will I deny the many hours of hotel rooms and center aisle plane rides. We certainly have the occasional day to go do a little sightseeing, however, I am always aware of the beast that is exhaustion creeping in the shadows. Who is the un-doer of hard work.

   We travel to these far off lands to represent the United States, and to chase the greatness that is the kindling of our dreams. Never knowing what the future holds, many of us will never reach that greatness we so desire. There is no tougher pill for me to swallow. But the unknown breeds possibilities. Sometimes the glimmer of a chance is all it takes to ignite a roaring desire.

   Every athlete, coach,manager, and psychologist has different ideas of what produces success. There are the naturally talented, the determined, and all combinations in between. I accept the possibilities the future holds for me, but I do not admit such fog into my dream. I am lucky to have been offered a sponsorship with my gym as it is a welcoming place that helps me to overcome my dislike for any training that isn’t paddling exciting whitewater. Life is full of unsavory things, but I refuse to be boxed in by the work I’d rather not do. The wall behind my favorite lifting rack shares an answer that makes each salted bead of sweat worth the effort, each injury worth recovering from, each defeat another log on the fire…

   “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

What’s Been Happening…?

Posted: 23rd November 2014 by Casey Eichfeld in Uncategorized

Goodness. What has happened since our 2014 Deep Creek World Championships? Well, let me start by saying that the World’s came and went far more quickly than I’d have liked. Now they feel as though they were years ago.

Deep Creek was a learning experience for me. I went in feeling strong and ready. I left them feeling disappointed and as though I was unprepared. Of course I was disappointed. I knew what I was capable of and didn’t meet that potential. Was I unprepared? Certainly not physically. I had trained plenty on the course and was in good shape. So what was it? Deep Creek reminded me of the intense “mental game” that racing is. This reminder has sparked me to look at training differently, and to focus on my focus. The arrival of a certain teammate may be perceived as an invasion or threat by some, but I see it as an opportunity. I am grateful for any chance to learn, and the focus shown by this individual is inspiring. Enough about that.

3Photo Credit to Ben Kvanli

We jumped pretty quickly from World’s to our National Championships as they were the weekend following Deep Creek. It would seem things like to happen in bunches. I was excited to once again take the top of the podium at Nationals! It was also fun to be racing at Dickerson! Dickerson is a terrific asset for us. Access to this facility has become more difficult over the years, but it is my hope that we can strengthen our relationship with the power plant so that we may see more training, camps, and races there. We are a small sport so it is important that we show everyone just how important we are.

2Photo Credit to Sandy Powell

Nationals concluded the racing season for us. This meant I needed to make some hard decisions. My car had recently taken a turn for the worse. It is now up and running after months of being down. However, it is no longer strong enough for training camp trips, and will need replacing. I am so grateful to my friends who have graciously helped me get around! I have also returned to working groundskeeping at the whitewater center here in Charlotte. I had worked in this department leading up to the 2012 Olympics, but left afterwards due to the combined toll of physical labor and training. The lack of car meant making a decision though. I am fortunate to live on the other side of the Catawba River from the whitewater center. This meant I could use my other form of transport! :) My commute means hopping in the boat and paddling to work. This time of year is a little cold, but I like to look to the positive things. The big dipper lights my early morning commute everyday. It’s a shining reminder of the world we live in, and not once have I gotten lost. Paddling also means no gas money, and is actually faster than the drive! I keep moving forward, despite the toll, because we do what we have to so that we can chase our dreams.

Of course sometimes I get tired, scared, or overwhelmed. I’ll end this time with a quote from a wall at my gym that I turn to on those days…

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” -Theodore Roosevelt

 

 

#DeepCreek2014

Posted: 17th September 2014 by sarah in Uncategorized

Today are the opening ceremonies for Deep Creek 2014!

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