6/16/04: Due to a very heavy training schedule, and some changes in the boat,
I have kept the journal entries for selection/training camp to a minimum, and will go into more detail when camp starts up
again on July 15. On Sunday June 13 six of us rowers met at the St. Joseph's Boathouse on the Schuylkill River and went
out in combinations of 4 from 7am until 11am. Since I hadn't been there for the first 2 days of selection camp I was
in the boat all 4 hours. Then the coach, John Riley brought us together to let us know what the lineup was going to
be. In the boat for sure is Jen Klapper from last year, Jesse ? (will have to find out what his last name is) who is
19, from Florida and rows for the Princeton crew, myself, and John has decided to wait until the end of the week to decide
who the 4th will be. Dwayne from last year, or Julie, who is a recent amputee, and rows with one leg. We are all
tired, since on Monday and Tuesday we have had 2 three-hour practices a day. John is demanding, yells a lot, and is
THE one who will be able to bring us together to be a winning team. I have blisters on my blisters, and finally
yesterday morning got the green light to get bike gloves. For those of you who aren't rowers, gloves are a total no-no
in the flat water rowing world.
Hedda has settled into a routine, and only barks when I leave the dock and return to
the dock. Isabel sits dog duty in between, and offers her water from her sport bottle. It has been on and off
raining, and thunder storms, with incredible humidity and heat. Everyone else is used to it, either being from Philly
or Florida . Well that's about it for now. Time to go get more food... At the end of training/selection camp,
John sent us home with a training schedule (2X/day) to follow for the 3 and a half weeks in between the 2 camps. With
the help of my buddies at Marin Rowing, Perry at Open Water Rowing, and Anna Cohen from University of Miami (home for
the summer with her own training schedule for the summer) I was able to get on the water every day, plus one work out a day
on the rowing machine. I fit work into the schedule too! The vet clinic got me all set with the plethora of paperwork
that Hedda needs for her flights. We are set to go.
July 13 2004 returning to Philadelphia...
Hedda, mom and I waited at the SF airport had a long 3.5 hour delay waiting for the Philadelphia
airport to open up again after tornado and foul weather warnings. We finally took off at 3:30pm, and landed in Philadelphia
close to midnight. Jennifer Arrigo and Sarah Del Percio met us at the airport. I immediately took Hedda out to
the parking lot to relieve, since she had refused her last opportunity at 1pm in San Francisco. She obliged instantly
when I removed the harness, and I was afraid they would have to put out a flood warning with the river she made. I got
to Russell's at 1am, and checked my voice messages to happily discover that the 5am row was cancelled.
Thursday July 14
Slept in till 8am (5am California time). Jennifer, Sarah and mom came to take me
to Trader Joe's, and to the Brandywine River Museum, where we got another fantastic tour from Dawn, which included the 2 new
galleries. Her descriptions of the Wyeth paintings were fantastic, and I could easily picture them. The museum
houses NJ Wyeth, Andrew and son Jamie's works. We then made it to St. Joseph's boathouse for the 5pm row, which ended
up being on rowing machines because all the rain water caused the river to be too high and fast to row on. We did steady-state
rowing on the erg (rowing machine) for 1.5 hours. I got home at almost 8pm, ate dinner, talked to Larry and
went to bed.
Friday July 15
Isabel and Jesse picked me up at 6:10 for a 7am row. John met us at the boathouse,
gave us a welcome back speech, worked on the rigging of the boat, and sent us to the water for our first row together in 3.5
weeks. It was nice to be back together as a team. We had to work out some kinks, and at the end of the row, John
sent us up the river for a final piece. In the middle of the river we all heard a weak voice calling for help.
Lisa spotted a man hanging onto a log floating in the river. We made our way over to him, got him to hang on to the
side of our boat, and carefully rowed back to the boathouse. It was difficult to get the story from him, but he had
obviously been in the water for a very long time, was cold and delirious. He picked the right boat, with 3 nurses on
it, to assess the situation, keep him talking, and get help once we got back to the dock. When the paramedics arrived,
they said that they had gotten a report at 7:30 that there was a man missing in the river. It was then 10:30, and if
it was the same man he had been in the water for 2 hours. The paramedics took him to the hospital, and we will come
back to the boathouse for our second practice at 2:00pm. The time between practices went quickly, just time enough to
do e-mail/blog, eat a little lunch and get a little rest. Isabel picked me up at 1:30. John was at the boathouse
working on the rigging of our boat, and we were on the water at 2:30. We had a technical row, working at a slow rating,
and perfecting working in time together. We had a rough row, but tomorrow is a whole new day. Hedda has settled
into her routine of a month ago, waiting with Isabel at the boathouse, barking when she catches sight of our boat, and settling
again when we are out of view. I like that audible location finder, it helps me stay oriented as to where we are on
the river. We were off the water at 5:00pm, and waiting for us was our gear from the National Team with our names on
our bags. Mom, Jennifer and Marc and I all went to dinner in South Philly, at the Oregon Diner. Diners on the
east coast are very cool, lots of choices and great food. I tried the bison burger (very low fat) and very good!
I was home by 9 and asleep by 9:10!
Saturday July 16
Isabel and Jesse picked me up at 6:10 for a 7:00am row. Today's row was higher in intensity.
We did a race warm up, and then along with some other boats that John is coaching, we all did three 1000 meter race pieces,
focusing on different parts of the race in each one. I felt under the gun in the stroke seat, and could have done a
better job keeping the pace of the boat, have some points to work on, and tonight will be a new row...
The afternoon row at 2:30 was back to a more technical row, working on catch timing, and rate.
After the workout, mom, Jennifer, Marc and Sarah picked Jen Klapper and me up and we all went to Jack's Firehouse, an old
firehouse converted into a restaurant. Running down the center of the building hanging from the ceiling is an old wooden
eight with oars, and lots of photos of Boathouse Row. The food was fantastic, we sat outside, and had a very enjoyable
meal. Afterwards we went to the gelato place near Marc's office. The perfect ending to the day!
Sunday July 17
We were all at the boathouse for an 8am row. Dwayne called to say he had fallen and hurt his wrist
and was on the way to the hospital to have it checked out. John's friend Mike hopped into the boat and rowed with us.
He had some great observations, which helped the boat immensly. We went home and were all hoping for the best outcome
for Dwayne. I went home, and spent an hour in the sauna relaxing my tired muscles. When we met again at 1pm, the
news was good; Dwayne has a minor strain, and can row again in 3-5 days. In the mean time John jumped into the bow seat
and rowed/coached us from the boat. We learned a lot with him in the boat. We practiced starts and a couple of
1000 meter pieces. Sarah Jones and her boyfriend Jeff came up from Princeton for the evening. We walked to South
Street and went to Jim's for a Philly Cheese steak. Wow, they were outstanding. We had a great evening catching
up and hearing about her pending trip to Greece to participate in the Olympics.
Monday July 18
Russell left at 5am for his trip to Alaska with his son Jamie. We rowed with John again at 8am.
We worked on our starts, and the transition into the race pace. We are making great progress with our speed, power and
timing. Sarah and Jeff are out exploring the sights right around the apartment. Liberty Bell, Independence Hall,
the Constitution Center etc. We will be meeting again at 1:30 for the second workout. Just time enough to get
e-mail, eat and get caught up on phone calls. Mom, Jennifer and Sarah sat Hedda watch for the practice, and got to meet
John. He pumped mom for any dirt about me he could then tease me about. Mom was happy to provide ammo for him.
John was our fourth rower again, coaching us from the bow seat. It was a privledge having him in the boat, and we made
great progress in improving our timing together as well as the starts, and transitions into the race pace. He is holding
us to a high standard, and I am loving it! Dwayne will be back in the boat tomorrow. We called and left him a
message that we were looking forward to having him back in the boat again. After practice and one of the new non-fat
Frapichinos from Starbucks I quickly cleaned up at the apartment, fed Hedda and we met Marc down town for a sushi dinner.
Good thing it was an "all you can eat" restaurant, I was starving (again).
Tuesday July 19th
Practice started at 6:30. It was nice to all be back in the boat together again,
and all the work that John had done with us had paid off. The boat moved nicer and with more power than we had had before.
We did steady state, focusing on technique. We will meet again for a 3pm row. Lisa and I went for breakfast
(a big one!) and then to the mall for some last minute shopping. We gave up on that quickly due to exhaustion,
and returned to her house for a nap before the second row. It was 94 degrees and humid, which made for
a very hot row in the afternoon. We were only out for an hour of technical rowing, but that was enough. at 6:30
we went to the PRPD boathouse for a very nice send off celebration and photos for the web site (prpd) Angela and
Ron came in from California and Scott and Sandy were there too, so we had the whole team. Afterwards Jen, Jesse, Jennifer,
mom and Sarah and I went for Thai dinner before we headed home. We have one final row at 7am, and then
it is off to the airport, and heading to Spain. I have a 4 lb bag of Eukanuba packed (sealed) to get Hedda through
till we can find the store in Banyoles for the rest of her food. We are set to go! Next stop Banyoles. There
will probably be a couple day lag in posting on the site so stay tuned.
Friday July 23
We had an uneventufl flight to Paris and then Spain. Then a bus ride up to Girona
which took about 2 hours. The Australian team was on the bus as well, and we dropped them off at their hotel in Girona
and continued on for another 1/2 hour to our hotel just past the acient town of Becalu. The hotel-golf course is very nice,
no phones in the room, and there is only one computer to use in the building. The juniors and seniors are all waiting
to use the same computer except those who brought their own laptops. .Scotts computer died, so I'm having a little trouble
getting set up with the address to get on to website builder. Hedda is doing very well, and even had a chance to go swimming
at the rowing venue in Banyoles. The lake has 2 launching docks and 2 docks for returning boats. The return docks
are in the shade, and make a great place for Hedda to launch from. John and Lisa set up our four which is exactly like
the boat we have been using in Philadelphia, which is a Chinese repleca of a Fillippi boat.. We weren´t allowed to row
today because there was no "official" time set aside for the adaptive boats to be on the water, and I am sure there is a great
risk of us drowning if we don't have the proper athorities following us on the race course (grin) . Hopefully tomorrow.we
will have our first opportunity to row.
Sunday July 25
We are getting up at 6:30am in order to get sun on our faces, to help us adjust to the time change.
We got to explore the town of Banyoles near the race course on Saturday, finding a local grocery store so we could stock up
on some extra snacks for the room. We discovered a local delicacy, almond cookies which are like mini biscoti.
Very good! We are going through 3-4 liters of water each/day since it is so hot here. They
cancelled the bus at 11 am and we borrowed a van from the national team, put all of our team, 3 wheel chairs, a guide
dog and 2 extra limbs in the van plus 7 people. It was tight but we made it. By 1:30 pm they allowed the adaptive
boats out on the race course. It is a beautiful course urrounded by mountains and some trees for shade. the water is beauticul,
clear and lots of fish. It is spring fed, and very clear. We rowed steady state for 1.5 hours to get use to being on the water
again, and in the new boat. Went a little rough especially since we were still tired, and quite hot. Hedda
got in and swam to cool off, and when we were on the water Isabel had a hard time keeping her out of the water.
Monday July 26
Jen and I have created a routime in the morning when we get up we go outside and
sit on the viranda sipping our coffee/tea and enjoying the calm beauty of the area, we end the day the same way as the sun
sets (without the coffee of course). The 360 views from the hotel are amazing, with green rolling hills, and off
in the distance (north) mountains stacked on each other getting lighter as they retreat back on the horizon. John
gave us a big pep talk night to get us in the right frame of mind as a team. Am enjoying socializing with the JR and senior
national team, feeling more integrated than previous years.
Tuesday July 27th
My access to a computer is very limited since
there is only one in the hotel, and I have to wait on line for 1/2 to 3/4 of an hour every time to use it. My husband
Larry is going to act as my amanuensis when I speak to him by phone every night, and will post my daily weblog descriptions.
The hotel is very luxurious (other than lacking
phones in the room) and in a beautiful setting. There is a golf course and a pool, which we jump into when we return
from our workouts with our clothes on, to cool off and get the sweat out of them. We've established a routine; every
morning we get up early get our coffee and go outside to watch the sunrise. We get on the bus to the competition
site at 11 am and arrive after a half hour bus ride. The site is a natural lake, very beautiful. They tell
me the water is so clear you can see to the bottom, and fish swimming far below the surface.
We practice every day from 1.30 to
3 pm. At first we practiced mostly starts, but now we do 500 meter pieces, starts and settles (the main body
of the row). The first day on the course there were teams from China and Canada on the water with us. Most teams
from other countries had arrived but weren't on the water yet. Tuesday other teams were on the race course, including
Great Britain and the Netherlands. Our coach, John has done a terrific job of getting our boat ready and we've had no
equipment problems. The weather has been very hot, with no
cloud cover. The race course is very windy, with a strong cross wind, which affects all the boats.
Thursday will be the first heat. Ten
boats will compete, out of which 6 will be chosen for the A-finals on Sunday. The rest of the boats will go to B-finals
on Friday. .
Wednesday July 28th
Today we practiced 1000 meter pieces, the
same as we'll be doing in the race. It's still very hot and windy at the race course; there's a strong headwind plus
some crosswind, and it makes it hard to keep the boats in their lanes. We rowed a little better today as
a team and feel more encouraged about the trials tomorrow. There will be 10 boats in our race, with 9 boats in
the singles race (arms only) and 3 doubles.race (trunk and arms) 6 out of the 10 will make it to the
finals. By now the teams from all the countries are present, totaling 14.
During my free time I hang out with the Concept
II people (makers of oars and erg rowing machines), Russ and Bob, who are always very welcoming and kind to me and Hedda.
They are the official Hedda baby-sitters now, keeping her well hydrated and shaded from the hot sun. We went to town
again, checked out the outdoor market that has been going continuously since the 13th century, and had fun there. Back
to the hotel and into the pool in our rowing unisuits to wash off the sweat, and wearing sandals in the pool to avoid the
broken tiles at the bottom since someone cut their foot on them. Tomorrow's a big day
Today at the A finals, heavy gusts of wind at the
start of the race threw us off course into the adjacent lane, and we lost precious time trying to get back into the correct
lane. The field was very competitive; the intensity and quality of rowing has escalated immensely since previous
years. The level of competition in the adaptive events is now world-class, and our four was not prepared for the competition that
we faced. The winning boats have all blind (able bodied) rowers in their boats, as the "mixed disability"
rule was relaxed to encourage more countries to participate. Those of us who are rowing with participants with other
disabilities have a distinct disadvantage. This was valuable information for preparing for next years team. We did the
best we could in a field of high quality, elite rowers, and advanced to the B-finals along with Italy, Canada and China.
We were all verydisappointed, but we have a chance to redeem ourselves in the B finals tomorrow, and think we have a chance
of doing well there. Winning in the B's would give us a chance to achieve a personal best.
Friday, July 30th
We did it! - we won the B finals by a huge margin
of 15 seconds ahead of the second place boat, Italy. We won by 2.5 boat lengths. Canada came in third. If we had
rowed this well yesterday, we would have made it through the A finals and gone to the main race on Sunday, but we know we
couldn't win there against the stiff competition we'd face. Nevertheless, we feel much happier than we were yesterday for having
redeemed ourselves, and all our hard work during the year being to some purpose. Exhausted, we returned to the hotel
to rest for the remainder of the day. Enrique, an employee of the hotel, visited us, well really Hedda, as
he was a vet in Cuba before he came to Girona 13 years ago to take care of her parents. Enrique offered to take
Jen and I on a sightseeing tour of the area, which we took him up on. We met him at 5pm after his shift was over
and then went to the town of Girona to visit the 2 ancient cathedrals once built in the 11th century and the other in the
13th. The sounds in the buildings were amazing, with the tall vaulted ceilings, and the musty smell of the ancient stone
building. Jens Spanish was good, and Enrique spoke a little English. It was great to have him as a tour
guide and he gave us all the historical details and showed us the back roads and things we wouldn't have experienced
on our own. We walked on the wall that surrounded the old city, which is draped with vines that are in blossom.
We stopped for some Gelato, which was the best I have ever had. The last bite tasting as amazing as the first.
We then went for dinner at an outdoor Italian restaurant. Jen and I were starving for a great salad and our dreams were
fulfilled! The air was balmy and pleasant, and we returned to the hotel at midnight, to find a note under our door
from Lisa. She wanted us to knock on her door and let her know that we got home ok.
Saturday July 31
We returned to Girona with Frank, Lisa ande
Scott to do a little shopping and have more local food for lunch (at the same restaurant it was so good the first time).
We then returned to the venue to watch some of the B and C finals that the US team was in.
Sunday August 1 Today was the A-finals, and the last events of
the whole championship were the adaptvie races. First the fours went off, and Great Britian came in first.(check results
on the Banyoles web site), then the doubles race where Scott and Angela for a 3rd year held the title, and retained their
gold, the only gold medal for the US team in 2004. Then the singles race where in spite of having an equipment failure
of the seat breaking in the first 5 strokes of the race, Ron Harvey came in 3rd even through he couldn't row full strokes
without risking falling over backwards. We all returned to the hotel after the races were over to change our clothes
and get ready for our celebratory dinner in Banyoles. We got a ride from the US team in a van, and went to an amazing
restaurant which served Paella with langustino and muscles. We started with salads that had local olives on them, french
style bread with tomatoe and garlic, and after the paella which was amazing, they served chicken and the finale was the creme
brule. We enjoyed so local red wine (a lot of it!) and after returning to our hotel, we went for a swim in the pool
under the full moon. We didn't get to sleep until 1am and had to be up at 5 for our bus ride to the airport in Barcelona.
My ticket was missing (I didn't know they were paper, not electornic) and so was Jesse's, so we had to purchase new tickets
at the airport, which will be reimbursed when we return. We had a 3 hour layover in Paris. Jen and I got bumped
to business class bulkhead so that Hedda could be comfortable for the 7.5 hour flight to JFK. It was fantastic.
Once in New York, we hightaled it out to a patch of grass for Hedda, and then boarded a van for the 2 hour ride to Philadelphia.
Unfortunately John had to stay at the airport with Ron and Angela since their wheelchairs didn't make it on to our flight,
and they had to wait for them. We got to Philly around midnight, where Sarah Del Percio met me and took me back to her
place. Hedda got confused a couple time during the night and went running down the stairs panting and shaking, then
went back to bed. We flew home the next evening so that Hedda had a chance to recover a little before sitting on another
airplane for 5.5 hours. It was fun to be back in Philly, where we went up to Noddingham to visit Jennifer, and the Nike
outlet before going to the airport. The flight got delayed due to a thunder storm, and we finally got home to Petaluma
by 1am. Hedda and I were happy to be home in our own beds! I am already missing my teammates and feel a sense
of let down now that it is all over. I will start thinking of next year and how to prepare, and hopefully make the team
again. John has some great ideas on how to recruit nationally and early so we can put together a medal winning team!