It’s still two months before Jess Fox defends her silver at the world’s most prestigious sporting contest in Brazil but after a horror training camp on the South American course she’s happy just to escape alive a second time around and return to the safe waters of Italy for the start of the World Cup series.
Having based herself in Europe until the entire world descends on Brazil for 17 days in August, Fox made the second of three trips to the host circuit last week for a training camp. And thankfully, it was much more successful than her earlier trip just last month.
Her kayak made the trip this time, her paddle survived and she wasn’t attacked by fire ants again.
Suffice to say, she’s never been happier ahead of next week’s start to the 2016 World Cup series in Italy.
“On day four [of that training camp], I was working on hard courses and blocked my back and it went into spasm,” Jess writes in her team blog.
“I got off the water and laid on the grass to try and stretch. I noticed these little ants that looked pathetic compared to the monsters you find in Australia so I wasn’t too worried. But they were feisty and I got bitten three times, but I’m tough so I didn’t cry! Within five minutes my eyes started swelling up, then I started getting itchy, then my whole neck went red, then my whole back got hives. Sore back, severe allergy - Double whammy!
“A couple of positives from this situation: I saw how I may look with facial plastic surgery gone wrong, and I had a valid excuse to nap from 1pm till 6 pm.”
But with her brand new kayak having arrived, the rest of the week went pretty well to plan bar a broken paddle and broken down car. Yet no such misfortune last week, Jess emerging unscathed after another week on the competition course to return to Europe primed and ready for three consecutive weeks of competition.
Stop No.1 of the World Cup series will be contested next week in Italy, before Fox and her rivals descend on Spain the week after that and then her second home of France the third week of June.
It's an opportunity not just to get race fit but to test herself against who will be here biggest rivals. Namely, Spaniard Maialen Chourraut, reigning world champ Katerina Kudejova and Germany's Melanie Pfeiffer among a handful of others.
She’ll then enjoy two weeks away from competition before contesting the Under 23 World Championships in Poland come July and then returning to Brazil for one final training camp as she prepares to go for gold.