Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Inland paddling
Post Reply
LondonPaddler1999
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2021 4:15 pm
Has thanked: 1 time

Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by LondonPaddler1999 »

Hi Everyone,

I am at a point were I am able to catch all of the eddies on the Legacy course. Get in each of the holes and get out again pretty consistently. I am at a point where I think I am ready for the Olympic assessment but just wanted some insight from others who have passed it what they feel like the level of paddling should be for this?

Thanks In advance!
Franky
Posts: 650
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:07 am
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 28 times

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by Franky »

You might well be ready for it, but be aware that the Olympic is a different beast from the Legacy. Once you're on, you're on - it's a non-stop roller-coaster ride.

The main differences from the Legacy are:
- The flow is very powerful. Sometimes it's on 4 pumps, sometimes on 3, but even 3 pumps is a big step up from the Legacy on 3.
- Feature follows feature rapidly: you need to be 100% alert. There's no opportunity for rest except in the big eddies, and even there the recirculation is very strong, so you can't let your guard down.
- The gradient is greater than the Legacy - pychologically, it can be quite daunting, and it looks a long way down.
- There is one stopper in particular - directly below Boom, the bottom big drop - that you really don't want to get caught in. Decide before it which side you're going to eddy out below it. If you go down the middle, you WILL get stuck, regardless of what boat you're in!
The same applies to a lesser extent with Jaws, the first of the two really big drops. Immediately below it is a wave that you'll sail over, but there follow two powerful stoppers that are best avoided. Most paddlers do the same on Jaws as on Boom - pick a side on which to eddy out, and avoid going straight down the middle.

Before you run the course, I'd advise walking down it from the side, and watching what other paddlers do.

Before I did my assessment, I did a 6-week Paddlesport Development course on the Olympic. It was excellent for getting familiar with the course and knowing which features really bite. The current offering is this: https://www.visitleevalley.org.uk/paddl ... ter-course. (Unfortunately the cost has gone up a lot since I did it, but £140 still doesn't seem unreasonable.)

Alternatively, you could just try your luck and take the assessment straight off. If you've done Grade 4 rivers, you can probably read and run it; if not, you might not hit all the eddies that the assessor wants you to, but on the other hand, you might.

It partly depends on how young and/or confident you are. I was in my 40s when I took the assessment - I was fit, but I didn't have the suppleness or the ability go flat out for minutes on end that a 20-year-old has. If you're young, you could get by with simple muscle power and determination.
User avatar
John K
Posts: 605
Joined: Mon Sep 02, 2013 7:23 am
Location: Brighton
Been thanked: 11 times

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by John K »

LondonPaddler1999 wrote:Hi Everyone,

I am at a point were I am able to catch all of the eddies on the Legacy course. Get in each of the holes and get out again pretty consistently. I am at a point where I think I am ready for the Olympic assessment but just wanted some insight from others who have passed it what they feel like the level of paddling should be for this?

Thanks In advance!
Sounds like you’ll be fine. Have a walk along the course, watch other people on it, then if you’re thinking “I could do that” then get your assessment booked in.
LondonPaddler1999
Posts: 5
Joined: Sun Dec 19, 2021 4:15 pm
Has thanked: 1 time

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by LondonPaddler1999 »

Hey guys, Thanks for the responses! I think I will give it a shot I was there over the weekend and walked the Olympic course and I am waiting for available assessment slots slots from Lee Valley!
User avatar
Jim
Posts: 14279
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton
Has thanked: 39 times
Been thanked: 108 times

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by Jim »

I understand (because I'm too far away to even think about getting an assessment) that a major part of it is going to be demonstrating control and ability to look for and respond to bank signals before attempting certain blind sections (so you can be stopped if another paddler is already getting a beating) and to be able to paddle safely with rafts.

I think it has been reconfigured since I last raced there in 2019, but it is a good step up from the other artificial courses. I love it, just wish it was feasible to arrange an assessment so I can paddle there at other times, although I haven't paddled a plastic boat for so long I've probably forgotten how.
Franky
Posts: 650
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 9:07 am
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 28 times

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by Franky »

Jim wrote:
Tue Feb 01, 2022 12:49 am
I think it has been reconfigured since I last raced there in 2019, but it is a good step up from the other artificial courses.
At the end of 2019, they made a lot of changes, to enable the UK slalom team to practise for the Tokyo Olympic course. It became twistier and more like a river. It was good, with features that really challenged your (well, my) ability to stick to lines.

That was until last summer. Bit by bit, since then, they've been reverting it more or less to how it was previously. I suppose the Tokyo configuration wasn't so easy for rafts to navigate.
User avatar
scottdog007
Posts: 1321
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:34 pm
Location: Hertfordshire.
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by scottdog007 »

I remember when I went for the assessment, directly after the bridge I got in an eddy and I could not get out easily the power of the water going past kept pushing me back in. I had to start right at the back of the eddy to get some speed up, then paddle constantly on one side to pump across the eddy line. Seems I had an audience standing on the bridge laughing at me.

It was along time ago but I was told you needed to get a certain number of eddies on top section, and people often failed for not doing this.
User avatar
Chalky723
Posts: 942
Joined: Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:56 pm
Location: Cambridgeshire
Has thanked: 20 times
Been thanked: 12 times

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by Chalky723 »

I must admit, I booked an assessment on the Olympic just to see what the course was like (remove the "fear") and to see what I'd have to practice at to pass it "for real".

I passed it on that attempt!!

My view was that you can walk up & down for weeks psyching yourself out, by getting on & doing it I'd see what it was like for real (it's what you do for the Legacy!!)

Have a go & Good Luck!!

D
Jackson Nirvana, Gumotex Palava 400
gp.girl
Posts: 625
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:54 pm
Location: Crawley Down, West Sussex
Has thanked: 17 times
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by gp.girl »

Chalky723 wrote:
Sat Feb 05, 2022 12:28 pm
I must admit, I booked an assessment on the Olympic just to see what the course was like (remove the "fear") and to see what I'd have to practice at to pass it "for real".

I passed it on that attempt!!

My view was that you can walk up & down for weeks psyching yourself out, by getting on & doing it I'd see what it was like for real (it's what you do for the Legacy!!)

Have a go & Good Luck!!

D
I did the same, turned up knackered and minus my roll and still passed! The standard required is pretty relaxed so it's best just to go for it.

I'm still totally out of my depth on the course and don't normally paddle it but it's not going anywhere so there's no rush.
I can roll :)
User avatar
TechnoEngineer
Posts: 3365
Joined: Mon May 12, 2008 7:47 pm
Location: Berks, Hants, Essex
Has thanked: 8 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by TechnoEngineer »

Not only should you be able to make eddies on the Legacy, you should be comfortable doing high crosses as well. I shot some video demonstrating a practise run on the Legacy (many many years ago.....)


Before I took the Olympic Assessment I undertook a training session with Glenn Jarman and Andy Holt, which was useful. Alternatively you could take an Olympic Assessment as a "dummy run" since they give you feedback on what you need to work on anyway.

It's also worth observing the patterns of the rafts on the Olympic; on their first runs they tend to bomb down the course, and they eddy out more often on subsequent runs. One day I anticipated it wrong and was run over by one of the rafts whilst I was in a sticky stopper :)
XL-Burn-3 / Monstar / XPlore-X/ My Videos
gp.girl
Posts: 625
Joined: Mon Jul 01, 2013 5:54 pm
Location: Crawley Down, West Sussex
Has thanked: 17 times
Been thanked: 9 times

Re: Lee Valley Olympic Assesment

Post by gp.girl »

Oooh that looks strangely familiar, it's a bit different now.

Doing an assessment as a dummy run well worth it, you will probably pass and it's a lot cheaper than booking coaching. Water is warming up now ;)

LondonPaddler1999 did you go for it?
I can roll :)
Post Reply

Return to “Whitewater and Touring”