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Nicolas started canoeing-kayaking when he was just 10, but when Itiwit invited him to paddle along the Dordogne River from end to end.
In the summer of 2017, when I was taking part in the ITIWIT ambassadors days in Hendaye, we had the great idea of entering the “Dordogne Intégrale”. But I had no idea just what the “Dordogne Intégrale” was. It is an extreme, long-distance race for canoe-kayaks and stand-up paddles that covers 130 km. Wow! And I was a rookie.
But I got through the first 30 km without a hitch, feeling quite chuffed with my navigating skills. I took care to drink and eat enough right from the start, and throughout the race, to avoid feeling famished.
I really enjoyed myself between the 30th and the 70th kilometers. My kayak was gliding across the water superbly. I also saved energy by tucking into my competitors’ slipstream. I overtook a lot of other boats, including some members of the ITIWIT team. Every time, I exchanged a few words of encouragement with them.
At the 70th kilometer, things got more complicated when a headwind (my worst enemy) blew up and it started raining. It was really tough. I was all alone, with one group ahead of me that I couldn’t catch, and another group a long way behind me.
I shortened the length of my paddle to up the paddling rate and make better progress into the gusts of wind. One of the advantages of the new fiber and carbon paddle is that it can be separated and the length can be adjusted. You can even adjust the angle of the blades to match your style. It’s great!
12:22: TRAVEL TIME
130: RUNNING KM
3: NUMBER OF DEPARTMENTS CROSSED
1: ITIWIT X500 HIKING INFLATABLE KAYAK