Parker and I left Florida on a very high note after a very solid block of training where we saw good strides both in strength, speed, and boat skill. When we arrived in Florida we began a new training plan design by Dave Gleeson and Larry Gluckman. Though Parker and I were apprehensive about making large changes we have adapted very well to the new plan and have found his sweat-drenching lifting sessions to be particularly beneficial.
The trip to Newport Beach California, while a little circuitous, went smoothly. We woke early last Monday morning (3:00 AM early) and drove Parker’s car to the Orlando airport parking, where we then hopped on a 7:00am flight to Seattle, the flight went smoothly and I did some reading, which was quickly disrupted by a showing of the new Star Wars movie. A first viewing for Parker who enjoyed it very much despite a couple interruptions from a fairly large flight attendant passing out drinks. In Seattle airport we did a quick dash to our terminal with a detour to Runway Burgers, whose prices felt more like runway robbery. We boarded or next flight and flew down to San Diego. From there we took a rental car and made a detour to take a quick look around Lake Otay and the Olympic Training Center. Finally, we entered the home stretch and arrived at the Hogans’ house in Newport Beach.
The Hogans, John and Sue, are great. They have welcomed us into their lovely home, which has been a perfect place for us to rest and also play with their three wonderful dogs: Merry, Henley, and Sammi. Additionally, they have treated us to some delicious home-cooked meals and a seemingly endless supply of hilarious stories. Parker and I rowed with their son JP in college. JP is a bit of a Newport rowing legend; winning Youth Nationals twice in the 8 and giving America its best ever result in the Junior Worlds pair. Interestingly, while at Harvard, JP was my first major instructor in how to row the pair well. I remember morning sessions we spent doing release-to-catch drills finding that calm and confident entry into the water. There is some sort of poetical significance that after helping me get my start in the pair, his family is helping Parker and I achieve our ultimate speed in the same boat class.
The training in California has gone smoothly. We have been assisted by Steve Dani who helped us pick up our shell and allowed us to train out of the Newport Aquatic Center. NAC has a terrific facility and while we initially struggled with the concept of tidal rowing, we have been able to get a lot of value out of both our steady state and more intense pieces.
In addition to training we have also been able to have some fun. We tried a bit of the local fair with Tom Graves as our guide; we hit a section of the beach that the Hogans affectionately called “the warzone,” although we found it to be rather tame; we went to Irvine Spectrum to watch 10 Cloverfield Lane in dazzling IMAX quality (a slight upgrade from the Bijou in Morrisville); and we were able to visit the JL Racing factory store and do some modeling as well as help make one of this year’s racing unisuits.
Leading up to the NSR next week we feel proud and confident in our speed and the work we have done. It can be difficult training in isolation, but the downside training separately has been mitigated by the awesome work we have done with our teammates. Back in Fellsmere we trained against Erik and Hugh, and on our last hard day we did some 2ks versus Willy and Steve, which really elevated our performance. Here in Newport Harbor we did competitive pieces with Tom. We know our speed, now its time to execute and find out the speed of the competition.