Aerial and Splashs' Rowing Blog -- U.S. National Adaptive Rowing Team
2006 World Rowing Championships Eton England
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2006 - US NATIONAL ADAPTIVE TEAM
World Rowing Championships
Eton England
August 20-27

2006 FOUR WITH COXSWAIN
fourplusaug17.jpg
Jamie, Jesse, Ryan, Jen, Aerial/ Hedda

Jamie Dean, Jesse Karmazin, Ryan Pawling (cox), Aerial Gilbert, Jen Klapper

click here to read Jamies Blog

US Rowing National Team Athlete Bios

Sunday August 13

6am row today.  I haven't quite adjusted to the 3 hour time change from California, and Hedda apparently hadn't either.  She didn't want to get out of bed, but finally got up when she heard the kibble hit the bowl.  We were all exhausted from the previous night's muffler party, and when we got in the boat, the magic was there.  We did a pyramid of pieces,  2000 meter piece followed by a 1000 meter piece, a 500, 1000, and 2000, all for time and at a set stroke rate.  We were very happy with our 1k time, the distance we will be racing in Eton.  Afterwards we went to Original Pete's for breakfast, and back to the apartment to relax.  Jen joined us later after the muffler escapade continued.  We returned to the boathouse at 5:30 for our technical row of drills for catching together.  The group went out for a dinner where we sat in chairs (not in the parking lot)  and had a big pasta dinner (I had soup and salad).  surprisingly the weather here in Philly has been like California; no humidity, and in the low 70's.  That's supposed to change tomorrow.

 

Monday August 14th

We had a reprieve from a morning practice, and had the opportunity to sleep in, which for me was 6am.  I got up and started working, and spent many hours trying to catch up with e-mail and phone calls.  Jaws (my screen reader) decided to act up, so it is only working intermittently, which requires great patience to stick with.

 

Practice started at 5:30; we all met upstairs where Karen started our meeting precisely on time.  Jamie showed up 4 minutes late…  Bad Jamie…  After conversations about race strategy, which I won’t go into here since there may be some of our opponents reading this blog…  (grin), we headed out to the water for our evening drills, also very top secret (grin).  It was very windy, which is good practice for Eton since we have heard there can be big gusts there.  We were very wet, showered, and headed to South St. and had Japanese dinner.  Another late night. 

 

Tuesday August 15

4:00am came around much sooner than I was prepared for, so I guess I am not completely adjusted.  We worked on starts and sprints for a long intense workout.  It was acting like a storm was coming in; warm, humid, and a lot of wind.  Afterwards we headed to Pete’s, which is a regular haunt for rowers from the Schuylkill, and now our place of preference, cheap, and volumes of food. 

 

We went to Trader Joe's to pick up ready-to-eat foods that we can quickly eat after practice so we can get into bed earlier than we have in the past few nights.  Then we had to visit a new rowing gear store, only in Philly.  It was very cool, a store dedicated to rowing esoterica.  We all shopped a little, butt pads, rowing trow and more…

Jamie and I came back to Russell’s so I could work and Jamie could write a law brief, both utilizing the high speed wireless connection in the apartment all while  Paul and Hedda maul each other, and chase around.

 

Back to the water at 5:30, drills and steady state evening.  We were all exhausted, so instead of dinner, we all went back to our own places ate and fell into bed. 

 

Wednesday August 16

 

Scott and Sandy picked us up for our 6am row.  The air was warm and a little humid.  We made it to the boathouse right on time, and had to rush to put Hedda on tie-down in her regular place in the erg room, grab the Cytomax and get hands on the boat.  I forgot my butt pad, which made me feel a little shorter in the boat.  We did lots of starts, and sprints, going through the 1k pieces getting ready for our mock race tomorrow.  We will be wearing our USA unis, and treat it like the real thing.    All three boats will have competition to race against. 

 

Afterwards we went to our classic haunt, Pete's, and had breakfast.  Frank and Karen were there too.  We then headed back to the apartment.  I got a little work done, but needed to get to Whole Foods for a few items like Cliff MoJo bars and flax seed meal for England.  So using my trusty GPS I navigated my way to 10th and South Street, shopped, and then searched for a pet shop.  Found one 2 blocks away, and set my destination to the pet shop and off we went to get pick- up bags and greenies for Ms. Hedda.  She got a little distracted when we had to pay for the items, and right at her face level were all the rawhides, and cookies.  She managed to resist them all, and she got lots of praise when we made it out of the building. 

 

Scott and Sandy invited the team to their house for a BBQ, hot tub and the movie Murder Ball; it was one of those great bonding opportunities for all of the adaptive athletes to hang out together.  Hedda and Paul ended up hanging out together in the back room, since the temptation of low level food, another dog and 2 cats was pushing their limits.  It was great to spend time with Angela, Scott and Patty since the four + invariably spend more time together.  We are all getting excited about going to England, and fighting for every inch of water… 

 

I would have liked to have stayed and watched the movie, but I know myself, I would have been asleep in 10 minutes, after eating and hot-tubbing.  So the 2 old ladies, Jen and I, headed out a little early so we could get to sleep early for the mock race.  I was in bed by 9pm. (late by my standards)

 

Thursday August 17

0600 pushoff time.  In our USA unis, and the anticipation of competing.  Lisa Boron, our cox for '02,'03, and '04, was there to cheer us on.  Who else but a cox or a rower would get up that early to watch a race?  Ryan’s dad was on a launch taking photos of all of the boats, and some shots of us after we finished.  We did our race warmup, and then met Frank and another former national champion (in a pair) at the line for our race.  We had a good run, and they only got us by a seat.  We know what we want to work on, but also feel good about how we are moving the boat.  We put the boats away, did our regular routine of Endurox. 

 

I bet you think you I am going to say we went to Pete's, but oh, no.  Today we branched out.  I had an appointment with the Society Hill Veterinary Hospital for Hedda to get some of the final paperwork and medications done prior to her grand entrance to England  So we went to a little breakfast place on South Street.  Good, but not Pete's.  Jamie really stepped outside his regular bagel and cream cheese and ordered 2 boxes of fruit loops and a piece of cheese cake, truly the breakfast of champions.  He is now lying comatose from a sugar stupor and will hopefully awaken by the afternoon practice. 

 

 

 

 

5:30 workout started with our event talk by Karen, great one on visualization and racing psychology.  Lots of drills and a nice steady state row.  Felt great on our sore muscles from the morning's workout.  Jen went home to be be with her new beau Pete (not the Pete from the breakfast place).  The rest of the group went back to South Street to Jon's B&G, the home of Larry from the 3 Stooges.  Great food, had discovered it in June when I was here with Chelsea (Marin Rowing cox) for selection camp.  The boys had the big burgers, and I went for a nice salad...  Jesse's girlfriend Laura joined us for the afternoon, and had to get back to Princeton in the evening. 
 
Friday August 18
One more day before we leave, I can't believe it is almost time to go.  There has been a lot of preparation for this moment.  We were all dragging at the boathouse, and jumped in the boats to do a 7- mile workout of sprints.  Good work, but we are getting pretty tired now after days of double workouts.  I came home and did laundry, e-mail, blog, packing and getting ready for leaving.  Scott picked us up in his bright red vintage Jeep.  The open air ride through downtown Philly was an auditory/olfactory blast.  I knew when we were riding through Chinatown, made me hungry.  The 5:30 meeting consisted of plans for our departure to England, and the training schedule in Eton.  It is feeling real now!  Generously, Frank, Karen's husband, has offered to take me to the airport tomorrow.  The rest of the team flys out of Philadelphia at 1:30 to DFW, and from there to England on United.  Since Hedda is coming with me, I have to fly on one of the 3 carriers that will allow her in the cabin of the plane, so we will be flying British Airways at 7pm (direct to Heathrow)  I will miss flying with the team, but it will be worth it to have Hedda with me for the trip.  Jamie didn't have time to do the 6 month preparation that was necessary to bring Paul into the country, so he is leaving him with a close friend.  Jamie was an unhappy puppy after Paul left... 
 
The row felt fabulous, and we did a high speed row-by in front of a big crowd standing on the St. Josehph's dock, who had gathered for the sendoff party.  It felt exhilarating, and our first taste of a cheering crowd that is awaiting at the championships.  The party was great, there was a big group of supporters, family fans and lots of food.  Ron made it out from California in time for the party, so the team is now complete.  Ron is our single fixed seat arms only rower, and an amazing athlete, the quiet storm... It was great to meet Ryan's parents' siblings, who will be joining us in England on Monday as well as his coach from La Salle.  I am so excited now, that it was hard to fall off to sleep thinking of the next leg of our journey.  This is the culmination of many practices, and a lot of hard training for over a year by the whole group.  I know for me, on those days when I had a lot of inertia to overcome, I would think of Eton, and it pushed me to keep this goal in mind. 
 
From World Rowing News 8/18/06

2006 WORLD ROWING CHAMPIONSHIPS
The 2006 World Rowing Championships will be kicking off tomorrow, 20 August, and racing will be staged until 27 August in Eton (GBR).

The number of athletes taking part in the World Rowing Championships is over 1'000 and represents a staggering 28% increase from last year's participation. Nations will compete in a total of 400 boats in 27 boat classes (including 4 adaptive rowing events for rowers with a disability).

Detailed race reports will be published at the end of each day of racing on the homepage and in the news section of www.worldrowing.com and a photo album specially dedicated to the World Rowing Championships will be published in the World Rowing Photo Gallery.

DORNEY LAKE
The Eton course held its first 2000m international event in May 2005, when it hosted the opening BearingPoint Rowing World Cup of the Beijing Olympiad. The regatta was widely acclaimed as a great success and the course was held to be of an excellent standard.

Although close to the River Thames, the water in the lake is not from the river but is drawn from freshwater boreholes. Great care is taken to ensure that no pollution is allowed into the lake with special arrangements for the re-fuelling of launches and a variety of natural methods employed to discourage water-weed growth.

With a superb boathouse, plenty of space for athletes and spectators and a 'country park' feel, Dorney Lake is an outstanding rowing venue. The eight lane, 2000m lake was completed in 2003 and the five lane warm up/down lake alongside will be ready for 2006. The course has been chosen a the Rowing and Flatwater Canoeing venue for the London 2012 Olympic & Paralympic Games.


Saturday / Sunday August 19/20 (time change) . 

The flight…  Frank Biller, Karen’s husband, drove us to the airport.  When we arrived the line was huge, so Frank took me up to the first class line.  Good thing since when I got there, they looked at the dog, and then the reservation, which mentioned the dog. And she said “we weren’t expecting you…. ' For the next hour, the British Airways agents were running around like chickens with their heads cut off, calling London, filling out paperwork, asking me the same questions that they had asked me on the phone 2 months ago.  Well after a lot of waiting, and chaos, They finally said, ok we have it all under control now.  They felt bad for making me wait, so they bumped us up to Business Class.  Works for me.  Both Hedda and I had seats, so we would have lots of room. 

 

Well it was just fine after that.  The business class seats, which went flat for sleeping, the food and attention clearly made up for the hour of tension at the airport.  They even made the bed for me and one for Hedda.  I let them know she could sleep on the floor, but they would have none of that.  She had a bed with blankets and a pillow.  Oh well. We both slept well for a few hours;that was nice, since we got off 1.5 hours late because of a storm in NY causing a backup of 45 planes.  Once in the air, we were great.  When we landed Liz Schickle met us on the plane to check Hedda's chip (which she couldn’t find at first) and do blood and check her paper work.  We were escorted through customs (we bypassed all the lines) and then immediately picked up my bag and out the door, so Hedda could get to a place to relieve.  Liz was enamoured with Hedda, and she had a relieving spot all picked out for her.  She also brought a little food so she could eat right away as well.  A volunteer from the rowing  venue was there to whisk me away from the airport.  I arrived to find my team waiting to get on a shuttle to go to the rowing venue.  So I checked in my bags and hopped on the bus with them.

 

The ride was about 25 minutes, and we immediately went into the USA container to retrieve our equipment and oars.  We rigged our boats, and and got everything set up for a row tomorrow.  We were all exhausted.  The flight that the rest of the team had taken wasn’t as restful as mine, so they were even more tired than I was.  We then headed back to the hotel to eat dinner and go to bed.  Bed sounded really good by this time. 

 

Monday August 21

Larry called at 6am knowing I would be awake; well I wasn’t and I couldn’t even talk I was so tired.  So Jen and I went back to sleep, and didn’t wake up till 8:30.  I don’t think I have ever slept that long in my life  --11 hours.  We went to breakfast which is a pretty good spread of anything you can think of from fruit, cereal and yoghurt to all of the eggs, bacon, sausage and stewed tomatoes.  The food is set up in a separate room from the rest of the normal hotel patrons.  I guess between the volume that we eat, and the way we smell when you get 100 rowers in a room at one time, this was motivation to keep us separate.  The  Australians, France, a Scandanavian country are all staying  at the Crown Plaza.  The rest of our US team is at the Holiday Inn.  We got separated because the Holiday Inn didn’t have any wheelchair-accessable rooms. 

 

The hotel is very nice with a big pool, saunas, hot tubs and a nice gym, which of course we all had to check out.  We were quite a scene with body parts removed to get in the pool, legs lined up against the wall, canes, and dogs…  I am sure we didn’t go unnoticed. 

 

We all caught the 11 bus and went out to the venue, so we could eat lunch and then go out on the race course for our first practice at 1pm.  At lunch we ran into the Australians,  who we had spent much time with in Milan in '03.  Suzie the coxswain, Gene the 3 seat and Julia were all there, and there were 2 new rowers in their four. They are also staying at the same hotel so it will be great to socialize with them again. The wind kept building, and there were whitecaps as we were finishing our practice.  This was no problem for Angela, Ron and myself since we were used to this kind of wind on the west coast.  The wind is a cross tail wind, so it is hard to go straight, but makes the times very fast on the course.  We had a good practice in spite of the wind, and afterwards heard some nice comments from people who had been watching us.  That was nice to hear, since our competetors were out practicing at the same time. 

 

After rowing, we had a meeting with Karen to go over our rigging, and any changes we needed to make.  Then we carried our oars over to the dealers for Croaker oars; we had been having problems with our handles, so they showed us how to clean them (which had never been done) which removes the hand oils, and makes them much less slick.  This took us about 1.5 hours, but was well worth it.  They are like new again.  Jen and I took a walk down the course and did a little shopping -- yes mom, I did find the perfect sweatshirt for you… The union jack made with oars that says Eaton '06 world Rowing championships on front and back…  Got a few other goodies, then headed back to the hotel just in time to feed Hedda and head down for dinner. 

 

As we walked down the course there were boats practicing.  Hearing the single click of the oarlocks, and the single drop of the oars in the water to the sound of classical music in the background was surreal.  The absolute precision of the boats, and music with the explosive power of the athletes was amazing to hear, and I can also see how an unaware spectator might think this this was a serene, peaceful sport.  Rowing is an amazing combination of the precision of threading a needle and the power of a weight lifter repeated 20-40 times a minute over a 2K course. 

 

Tuesday August 22

 

Jen and I automatically woke up at 6:00am.  Hedda did her morning ritual of snuggling and greeting me, then running to the right side of Jen's bed to greet her.  She learned in Banyoles that because of Jens leg being exposed at night she couldn’t come to the left side of her bed.  Without missing a beat she remembered the right-sided ritual, and continues to follow that rule.  We went to  breakfast, which to our surprise is a great variety of healthy (and grease bomb if you want it) food.  So I had my muesli and fruit and some passable coffee.  We caught the 9:30 bus so we could have time to watch the events in the morning and walk around the course.  It was fun to walk the course and get an image in my mind of the venue.  The sun was out and the wind was absent. 

 

At 11:30 Isabel found us and told us that the visually impaired rowers were to be classified in 10 minutes; originally the time was 2:30 pm, so we had to rush to the room where the classification was taking place.  Every year they have physicians there from FISA, the world rowing organizing body.  They have to verify that you are blind, and what level you are for competition purposes.  So after a lot of sitting and waiting, Jamie and I were certified “B1” blind.  We had paperwork from our physicians from home that designated this but that have to re-check it.  Yep, we are both blind… nothing has changed.  Then we went to lunch at the course, meeting up with our buddies from Concept 2, Bob and Russ.  From lunch we had our practice.  Russ took Hedda to his tent so she didn’t have to be left tied up to the boat rack unattended for a couple hours while we were on the water.  This was a huge relief for me, and freed me up to fully think about rowing, and not worrying if Hedda was ok.  The practice felt good, we did starts and sprints, and some drills, and the course and boat were feeling very good. 

 

After practice the physically disabled rowers had to be classified, so I went to the Concept 2 tent and hung out with the guys and of course Hedda, who was very happy to see me.  She had her own water bottle and lots of attention while I was on the water.  She has a standing invitation to hang out there when I row now.  All of our team passed the classification, the missing limbs were still gone, and there were no surprises. 

 

After leaving C2, we ran into John Riley and his quad.  Hedda gave him a huge greeting to thank him for buying food for her and having it waiting at the hotel when we got here.  We watched his crew practice, and then John offered to take us to dinner.  So we called Ryan, Jesse and Jamie and had them meet us in the lobby for a pick-up time of 6pm.  We went to a great restaurant, a pub called The Harvester.  The food was incredible, roasted chicken, ribs etc.  Afterwards we wandered around Windsor by the castle.  It was a great evening and a fun break.  We did a lot of laughing which is great boat bonding, very important. 

 

We were tired when we returned, so it was a quick call home and off to sleep. 

 

Wednesday Aug 23,

Up again at 6:30, and an earlier practice today at 11:40, which is after the morning races are over.  We will head to the race course at 10:30.  Friday will be our first race, but we haven’t received our heat lineups yet.  So we are unsure of who we will be racing yet.  The 1st place boat will go right to finals on Sunday and not have to participate in reps on Saturday.  That is our hope, so we don’t have to spend the lactic acid on Saturday before the final. 

 

Went down to the course at 10:30 with Jamie, Jesse and Jen  (all the J’s in the boat)  We had the whole bus to ourselves.  When we got to the course, we were met with some big winds, and when we dropped Hedda off with Russ and Bob they told us that the cross wind was so bad that the races had been cancelled.  John’s lightweight men's quad race had gone off right before they closed the course.  This was a race for lane draw, and has no heats, only a final.  We had an early launch time of 11:40.  Originally they were going to have us row in the warmup area, but the winds died a little as we were launching, so they let us row on the course.  We did our race warm up, two 500’s and a 1000 piece.  We felt good in spite of the winds  and our times were the same in both directions.  I did catch some nice back-splash and was pretty wet by the time we docked.  We got off the water just in time as a big black cloud came over and started dumping just as we entered the cafeteria for lunch. 

 

The course was closed down, and after lunch we headed back to the hotel.  All took showers (separately of course) and then hung around watching tv and throwing the toy for Hedda.  Jen and I drifted off for a little while during a stupid game show.  Dinner and laundry is on the agenda for the evening.  Karen wanted me to be sure I said a big HELLO to her husband Frank, who is reading the blog…  Hi Frank… 

 

Laundry should be done now.  Time for some phone calls back to the states.. 

 

Thursday August 24th

Last day of practice before the competition begins.  We have a late practice today because races are taking place with other boats.  John Riley called us to say he would take us to a grocery store, so after a leisurely breakfast Jen and I got our gear together for the practice, and made a list of goodies that we wanted to get from the store.  We both get a lot of pleasure of checking out grocery store items in different countries.  We also both had a few items we knew we wanted to get like McVites digestive cookies, PG Tips tea etc.  We went to the Saintsbury grocery store, and John had fun guiding us around to the discoveries he had already made since he had been here for over a week, and has a condo and has been cooking for his crew.  We got fresh little French strawberries, blueberries, HP sauce, teas, multi grain bread, crackers, Cheshire cheese (mmm good) and what ended up being an hour and a half shop, lots of laughs, and a basket of goodies, so will be gifts. 

 

John brought us back to the hotel to drop off our haul, then back to the racecourse for our 3:39 practice, no that’s not a typo, the practice was to start at 3:39.  The winds were very high with standing waves.  We practiced called starts and it felt good, also a 1k run-through.  This got us excited about racing.  The traffic was terrible getting back to the hotel and what is normally a 25 minute drive was almost an hour.  I had a 7pm pick-up time with my cousin Max Steinkopf, and fortunately he was running late.  He told me the dinner was at a very nice restaurant, and that I should dress up.  Well for a rower traveling, I didn’t bring much in the way of nice clothes.  Jen helped put me together at the last minute, but I ended up wearing nice jeans, a top that Jen loaned me and my funky Keen sandals.  My backpack and no purse of course. 

 

Max picked me up a little after 7, and we went to Brea which is close to the racecourse in Eton.  The restaurant is literally rated one of the 2 best in the world.  I was a little nervous walking in looking like a California rower.  But Max was able to slip in when we were offered drinks that I wasn’t drinking because I was rowing in the World Rowing Championships.  Well that was a big hit with the staff, and I don’t think it mattered anymore what I was wearing.  They were recalling memories of Sir Steven Redgrave and Matthew Pincent eating at their restaurant and clearly GB rowers were national heros.  The restaurant was on the Thames and just beyond the river was a hedgerow, and beyond that the Eton racecourse.  There wasn’t a breath of wind, and it was like being jettisoned into another place in time.  The balmy air, incredible food that was like an explosive symphony with every mouthful, and the sound of fours, quads, doubles and single rowing shells going up and down the Thames.  It was like something out of a movie.  It was great to spend time with Max and get caught up, and share rowing stories.  Max was a rower in college and very competitive, making it to the Canadian National selection camp.

I got back to the hotel by 10:30, and right off to sleep.

 

Friday August 25th

We had to get up early, and be at breakfast by 7:15 so we could catch the 8:00 bus to the racecourse.  The singles had their heats first, followed by the doubles and then the fours.  We all had the stomach jitters and the pre-race excitement going on.  When we got to the racecourse,  instead of the bus being able to drive right in, the athletes were diverted to a parking spot down-river, and ferried across about 50 yards to the start of the course.  Hedda loved being on the ferry, finally she got to have a boat ride.  When we got to the course we took Hedda right to Bob at Concept 2, her official sitter during our water time.  Then off to the Family area (an inside seating area at the finish line with TV monitors).  It was chilly, and it felt good to be inside.  We did lots of stretching, running to the bathroom, and waiting for the singles to go off.  Patty’s race was first and she had 2 other rowers in her heat.  She came in first by open water, and will advance directly to the final on Sunday.  Then Ron’s race came down the course, and he lead the field, winning his  heat and also advancing directly to the final on Sunday.  By this time it was hour before our event and we needed to launch.  The sun was out, no wind and the course was flat (nice!)  We went down the warmup course to get to the starting line, and by that time the doubles went off.  We didn’t know till our race was over that Scott and Angela won’ their heat as well, and also advanced directly to the final on Sunday. 

 

When we got to the starting line the refs took 9 minutes to line us up.  There was no wind, but they spent an inordinate amount of time moving each country back and forth at the start line till we were perfectly lined up.  It was really unnerving.  The race started, and it was the Netherlands and us duking it out to the finish line.  They had a couple seats on us for much of the race, but at our sprint we closed the gap, and if we had had another meter it would have been our race, but the final outcome was that we came in second by  six-tenths of a second.  We had all put so much into it that we didn’t even know for a while what place we had finished.  None of us could breathe, and we just sat in the water silent for a few minutes.  Then we could hear Riley’s voice telling us we had done a great job and he sounded thrilled with our performance.  We took a lap down the warm-up lanes in front of the grandstands, and then all the cheering came alive.  I hadn’t heard anything except for Ryan's voice throughout the race, and the rest was devoid of sound.  Out of the cheering crowds yelling go USA, I heard Lindy Edwards!  She was here to cheer us on all the way from the Marin Masters Womens program.  A voice from home that made me glow! 

 

We brought the boat back to the dock, and on legs of jello, we made our way to the boat racks.  We had a great team meeting with Karen, which gave us the juice to be excited about the opportunity to row in the reps tomorrow.  This is a good thing, and we had done a great job in the race.  We then picked up Hedda and spent time with Ryan’s family, and friends.  We met up with Lindy and her brother Jonathan, and got to watch some of the other races, like the men's 8, which ended up nipping out Germany by just millimeters. The rest of the day we will recover, and prepare for tomorrow. 

Saturday August 26

We slept in till 7am, when Hedda started her greetings for myself and Jen, followed by the breakfast dance.  We had our regular breakfast, and packed our things for the repechage.  We have a new strategy that we are anxious to test, and are happy to have a chance to run through it before the final on Sunday.  We went to the race course early so we could watch some of the finals.  It was cloudy and a little windy, which continued to build through the morning.  Fortunately it was a straight tail wind, which makes the race times fast.  We had lunch at the race course, and stayed in the cafeteria where they have big screen TV’s so we could continue to follow the races. 

 

At 2:20 we met at the boat, and got ready to go hands on.  We were in the second heat with Italy, Hong Kong and Croatia.  The first heat included Australia, Canada, Portugal and Brazil.  The first 2 boats from each heat would progress to the A Final, and the others to the B Final.  We just needed to come in 1 or 2 to progress.  There was a fierce battle for first and second among Australia, Canada and Portugal.  The US and Italy progressed from our heat.  So the A final tomorrow will include Netherlands, GB, Australia, Canada, Italy and US.  This should be a very competitive race, and we are very excited!  We are prepared, rested and ready… 

 

We received our shirts to wear under our unis which are for the A Final competetors to wear during the event.  Hedda will stay with Jeff during the race, since our buddies from Concept 2 are heading home early tomorrow, and John’s boat is in their final right after ours so he will need to video the race on his bike. 

 

It all comes down to tomorrow…  We have trained hard and are prepared to row our race, and trust each other to take it all the way.  Now for a good night's sleep.   

August 26, a year of training and preparation for one three-and-a-half minute race.  The day is finally here, and our anxiety is high.  We had breakfast early, and got everything ready.  Credentials, uni, butt pad, cliff shot, blackout goggles, water bottle, sox, Hedda’s water bottle and items to trade with athletes from other countries.  All accounted for.  We took the 9am shuttle to the race course.  The sun disappeared and the wind and clouds appeared.  This was not going to be a flat water race day. 

 

When we got to the race course we went to the grandstands and watched some of the races.  Then went to the rest tent to stretch and have some quiet time.  The Australian adaptive team was there, and quiet was not in order…  I gave Hedda to Isabel, and we put hands on the boat at 11:45.  We did our race warm-up, and then after the double race went down the course we called to the line.  Again there was a lot of boat shifting with a huge tail wind.  This took at least 10 minutes.  The start and a false start by the Netherlands.  So it was back to the start line and another 5 minutes before we got lined up and finally got underway.  We had been pointing diagonal to the lane line, so had to pull hard on starboard to get our line again.  Ryan did a great job of getting us straightened out.  Then we went to our 20 high, and kept the rate up at a 35 even when we settled.  We did a big power 15, and where all the boats were all right together.  The race was a dog fight to the end, and the race was over with all 6 boats coming across the line within 1.5 seconds of each other.  We were 5th, and of course exhausted, and disappointed that we didn’t medal.  The racing and competition was fierce, and we are 5th in the world. 

 

It was hard to hide our disappointment, and when we looked at it realistically, we had only trained together as a boat for a total of 2 weeks before the race.  The GB team had trained together full time since September, Australia, Netherlands and Canada for 6 or more months.  So for us to pull it together in 2 weeks and come within 1.5 seconds of first place was incredible.

 

Angela and Scott remain the world champs in the double for the 5th year, Ron came home with the silver, even after having to stop completely and adjust the pontoons on his boat which had been pointing down into the water.  Patty came home with Silver in the Women’s Arms-only single division.  So overall for the USA, the non-adaptive team brought home a gold in the Women’s 8, a bronze in the Men's 78 and another bronze.  The adaptive team brought home a gold and 2 silvers; half of the medals for the whole team. 

 

We all went to a local pub for a team dinner, had a couple Guinness beers, and enjoyed our wins and participation in the world level of rowing.  Lots of talk of Munich next year, and the preparation that will be needed in order to be competitive, or stay competitive for the ever increasing bar! 

 

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