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the GRP’s snowbirds fly south for a week

21.Feb.2019 by Wes Vear

After the women of the Rowing side of the Green Racing Project spent a week living it up out west, Cali style, the men of the team turned green with jealousy (not in the sustainability sense this time). So, the men planned a trip of their own to find some liquid water with the hopes of re-familiarizing themselves with the feel of oars in their hands for a bit.

Coach Whelpley set his eyes on Peachtree City’s Lake McIntosh in the heart of Georgia with hopes of finding glassy conditions to match those provided by Newport Beach for the women two weeks ago. But, Steve first had some fun up his sleeve for the men before they got a chance to slice through liquid water instead of on top of the frozen stuff as they’ve been doing for the past few months.

After setting south with a trailer full of the newest additions to our fleet of Hudson Super Predators, Coach Steve sent the men on a harrowing journey of self discovery during the annual rowers’ pilgrimage to the promised land of Boston for this year’s C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints. It was a weekend full of excitement as four of our men sat down for a 2,000m piece, including the latest addition to the Greenies, Kevin Meador. Kevin joins the GRP after a successful two years training at Riverside and representing the United States at the World Rowing Championships as the Men’s Single Sculls last year in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The second greenest GRP member, Andy Raitto, was the returning Champion from 2018’s C.R.A.S.H.-B. who raced this past weekend along with veteran Greenies Lucas Bellows and Wes Vear. Out of the field of 48 competitors in the Open Men’s category, Wes Vear ended up winning the hard fought 2k and the coveted hammer with a 5:59.2 over Connor Corwen’s 5:59.7. Meador rounded out the medals with a 6:02.0 to take third followed closely by Raitto in fifth with a 6:05.9, and then Bellows in seventh with a 6:09.9. It was a slightly tougher day of 2ks for the men than they had hoped, but they represented the Cedar sprig well and gave it everything they had through to the end.

Wes Vear with the all important C.R.A.S.H.-B. Hammer

After a long night of recovery from their 2ks, the men all headed down on Monday to join Steve in Georgia for the fun to really begin. They were met with a pleasant surprise of the familiar face of John Graves joining the fray as well as Mike Colella, a member of the Men’s 2- at the World Championships for the past two years who has recently swapped out his customary long oar for two shorter ones and is now learning the intricacies of wielding two blades at once. The first two days brought about plenty of rain mixed with the coldest conditions of the entire week’s forecast, and that’s not to mention the continuous wind bearing down on them from the side as the group made their way up and down the course. It was awesome. Everyone was beyond excited to get on the water. Steve ensured that we made the most of every opportunity to take a stroke with lots of team boats rowing in order to not try to bite off more than we can chew during our first few practices back on the water since November. We have had lots of technical focuses and have really emphasized making sure that all of our strokes are directed in the direction of quality instead of wandering down the endless road of quantity.

John Graves joining back up with the Greenies for the week.

Wednesday morning brought about beautiful conditions with perfectly glassy water and awe inspiring fog. The guys finally got a taste of pushing the envelope a bit with four 2,500m pieces somewhere around the neighborhood of Anaerobic Threshold level in doubles. The first three were headrace style but then finally Steve rewarded the group with some side-by-side work with three doubles across chomping at the bit. Steve then gave the guys the afternoon off from rowing in order to try to trick their blisters into thinking that they’re getting time to heal and to stop by the local Snap Fitness. Snap welcomed the group with open arms to liven things up with some bench press and deadlifting and really showed the guys the meaning of Southern hospitality.

Lucas and Wes in the double heading off into the great unknown during one of their 2,500m pieces Wednesday morning.

So far the trip has been a wild success and we couldn’t be more thankful to Peachtree City Rowing Club for so generously allowing us to train out of their facilities for the week and helping us out so much. It’s going to be a fun rest of the week of training while we fine tune our bladework and look towards Trials I down in Sarasota in April. With that in mind, it’s time to head to bed to get that full recovery in for tomorrow morning’s steady state. Stay tuned for more updates to come!

Last Day in Newport

12.Feb.2019 by Jen Forbes

Written by: Alex Spaulding

Newport really shined for us on our last full day of our training trip! We were blessed with great water and some serious sunshine!

Our day started with our first all singles practice of the trip! Steve took us out for some Lido Laps where we did a mixture of drilling and steady state. It was great to be able to slow it down and get some solid technical work in during our last day! It was just icing on the cake that we had some glassy water.

After our final siesta of the trip, we headed back to the Newport Sea Base boathouse for one last row. We were able to take out some 1xs again, which allowed us to take advantage of all of the little canals that the waterway has to offer. We circled behind Balboa Island (where we stayed during the trip) and crossed the main channel to finish the trip with one last Lido Lap!

After our PM practice, we said goodbye to our oars (which we conveniently sold to a local club), and thanked our friends at SoCal Scullers for having us! We then headed home and Chef Steve whipped up some gluten free protein-banana-waffles. They were served with syrup and a hefty dose of sarcasm – but they were DELICIOUS. 

We ended the night with packing, cleaning and some reminiscing about what a great trip we’ve had. It was really awesome to be able to sharpen our skills and check back in to confirm that we do actually still know how to row :). We are excited to be headed back to Craftsbury for 4 more weeks of winter training!

Till next time!
Alex (Spaulds) Spaulding   

12.Feb.2019 by Jen Forbes

Sunday Funday!

Written by: Mickey Fili

What day is it?!?!? RAAACE DAAAAY!!!! After a handful of days of solid rowing we finally got to race!! We woke bright eyed and bushy tailed around 4:20am to catch our carpool ride by 5:20. We arrived at Long Beach Rowing Association to participate in one of their winter series 5k head races. Alex, Bridget and I raced the quad with a local club member named Sherri who steered an amazing course! Sherri is an accomplished sculler who won a silver medal in the Lightweight Women’s Quad at the 1998 World Championship’s held in Cologne, Germany. She was incredibly helpful, giving us tips and instructions to help us row as efficiently as possible. We finished at a blazing 19:01 over 5.2k, almost 2 minutes ahead of the next fastest crew! The water was smooth and clear even though we got caught in a bit of rain the last 2k of our race. Fortunately, the rain was gone by the time we cooled down inside on the ergs and dried off. We even had a couple of retired rowing pals drive up from San Diego to watch us race!

Sam Stitt (US National Team Alum, Georgetown + Potomac Boat Club Coaching Alum) + Laura Carroll (Northeastern University Rowing Alum) yelling at us to pull harder


After the race, we went and had breakfast at a Greek restaurant called Pietris Bakery with authentic food, coffee, and baked goods. Delicious and nutritious! Afterwards, we promptly took our afternoon nap to recharge for our afternoon session. Steve had us do a 30 minute erg and an hour lift to finish off our day.

Steve experiencing FOMO over a missed Greek Coffee opportunity
Greek Coffee!!!


Once we were home we had some pasta and brussel sprouts for dinner and watched the Grammys before another early bedtime! California dreaming of sunshine and blue skies for our last day of rowing!

Fast & fierce women!

Day 5: “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” in Newport Beach

11.Feb.2019 by Jen Forbes

Written by: Bridget Schodorf

Day 5 started off with some 1-minute pieces in the morning. Alex and Mickey in a quad with Maggie and Julia were up against two junior men in a double. The row had some ups and downs in difficult conditions, but the pieces were good, and competition is always fun. I was in a single, working with Steve on my spinning ability, starts, and 1-minute pieces.

The morning started off dry, until storm clouds came through, and we rowed a bit in a downpour. At least it calmed the water down toward the end of practice (and rain in Southern California doesn’t last more than a few minutes, it seems). We decided to do a double a.m. practice. So, after we dried off, we headed out for coffee and snacks in preparation for our second workout.

A.M. #2 started with a core circuit and then a 50’ sweat sesh on the erg. As nice as it is to row on water, sometimes you just need a good long erg. Afterward, we headed home for a much- anticipated meal.

With the afternoon off, we decided it was time for some exploring!  Alex headed out to watch the Duke vs. UVA basketball game with a friend from LA. Mickey, Steve, and I jumped on our bikes and took the ferry to Balboa Peninsula, in search of fish tacos and coconut water—straight from the coconut. We met up with Julia at Bear Flag, a seafood restaurant Steve discovered during his last training trip. We ended the evening with a dinner whipped up by Mickey and Steve, followed by a viewing of one of our favorite shows.