August 16, 2009
Oklahoma City, OK
Our first practice in Oklahoma City we decided as a crew upon a new line-up. The new line-up puts me in stroke seat, Eric McDaniel behind me in 3 seat, Andrew Johnson in 2 seat and Jennifer Klapper as bowman. The focus of this training camp is to build confidence and gain speed.
Every practice has included some type of speed work; higher ratings and shorter distances. This is a big switch from the focus of our training camp in Indianapolis which was mostly geared towards moving together as a boat. With such a short time to train together as a unit we have to smush 500 miles of training into 2 weeks. If you do the math, that is nearly impossible. Never the less we have gained about 10 seconds of speed in our 1K time.
The Oklahoma facility was incredibly impressive. They have a fancy new boathouse with one of my favorite pieces of training equipment- an indoor sculling ergometer. At Purdue, where I rowed in college, I used an ancient gamut machine to train indoors. This was a new and improved version and I could get my average splits. We were all impressed with the hospitality in Oklahoma City. Jen managed to pick up a sinus infection somewhere along the way. She was having a tough time fighting through asthma and sinus congestion. She is a very intense athlete and I admire her perseverance to win.
Eric was able to bring his service dog, Jamaica, which also added an element of excitement. It is always nice to have a mascot for your team. Jamaica seems to fit the profile of a mascot nicely as a fearless protector.
The training camp was a success and we are more ready for the race in Poland. We leave Wednesday August 19th for Poland and will rendezvous as a group again in Frankfurt Germany.
August 21, 2009
After 24 hours of traveling we have finally arrived at our destination, the 2009 Rowing World Championships in Poznan, Poland. Sleep has come and gone without me and yesterday I found myself dragging my body behind me through the last stretch of the airport.
Today was the first day on Poland time (6 hours ahead of Chicago). To bridge the time gap we woke up with the sun to catch breakfast. When we heard the wake up call this morning, I could barely squeak my eyes open. We sauntered down to the breakfast buffet and forced food down. It felt like I was drinking coffee at midnight and if I were in the United States that's exactly what I would have been doing. It seems like one of the biggest challenges for the team at this point of the training process is getting acclimated to being tip-top shape for racing at 9:00 AM, because to us it feels like three o'clock in the morning.
To begin the process we went for a 45 minutes walk after breakfast. The same amount of time it would take to warm-up, race, and cool down. The walk this morning was simply to get adjusted to being physically active at that time of the day. We are hoping that by Monday the time change will feel normal to us.
Today was also our first practice at the Poznan race course. We are racing in a brand new Wintech stern coxed 4. It is a great shell to use and since it is brand new there are no major problems. As usual, when a crew is introduced to a brand new shell there are some kinks to work out before your strokes are perfect the way they were before you left the country.
It always seems like the first row in a new place and a new shell is destined for disaster however this row was not a disaster; it was definitely not a perfect row. Now that we have shaken out all the jet lag I expect tomorrow's practice to be much more fitting to the strength of our crew.