Rest in peace, Maestro

Dear Eduardo,

I still remember as if it were yesterday my first year living with the Spanish Canoe Junior team at the Joaquín Blume High Performance Center in Madrid. I was 16 years old and it was the first time in my life that I lived away from my family, my friends and the sea. I remember the hours we spent sitting next to each other in the van on the way to the Picadas reservoir, chatting while my teammates slept during the long drives to training and back. Hours and hours talking about history, European royalty, wars, communist countries and especially training. I have never asked as many questions to anybody or learned more about training methodology than with you. I asked you so many questions that you came to nickname me “the unrepentant curious”.

I also remember the hours we spent analyzing technical videos in your room in the old Blume building that was demolished a few years ago. You were ahead of your time. You had all kinds of cameras, printers, and other kinds of technological gadgets. I still have prints of a sequence of frames from my paddling technique. In them I wore a Bracsa I paddle, a copy of a NELO Mosquito made by Bidasoa (a local manufacturer) and an Indian-style headband influenced by the Czech canoeist Martin Doctor.

I remember how in those technical analysis sessions, sometimes you liked to take a nap, and I, a 16 year-old with the characteristic shyness of a young Basque who had just left his Basque environment, did not dare to wake you up and let you sleep peacefully. If it had happened today, I would have recurred to my mobile phone and spent time watching videos on Instagram or Tik Tok, or some series on Netflix. However, it was 1999 and there was none of that, so I killed the time flipping through your books and scientific journals on training methodology, physiology or sports psychology. So, indirectly, you continued to help me with my sports education.

I hope dear Eduardo, that wherever you are, you meet more “unrepentant curious” people and you have as much patience with them as you had with me.

Oh, and I hope that wherever you are they have good jamón. I still remember the words you told me every morning at breakfast: “if you eat jamón, you will become a champion.”

Rest in peace, maestro.