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Author Archive

Sayonara, Sebastian!

14.Apr.2016 by Jamie Chapman

Now that we’re settled in Sarasota, it’s nice to reflect back on our time in Sebastian and training at Canal 54. The Sebastian/Vero Beach area began to feel more like a home and less like a training trip by the end as we got to know our neighbors, the right radio stations for the right moods, and a few local groups. Ask anyone on our team, and they will say the number one quality setting Sebastian apart from other training locations is the community. We met Tom Lange and his high school athletes right away and frequently crossed paths at the boathouse; the Sebastian River parents helped us out with excursions to local spots; we connected with an awesome gym, Treasure Coast CrossFit; and the kids at Fellsmere elementary were a fantastic audience for a afternoon of inspirational talks. A BIG thank you is in order to the Sebastian community for welcoming us with open arms. I hope you enjoyed having us as much as I enjoyed being there!

Little people, big ocean

Little people, big ocean

Here’s catching up on a few of those events (see Maggie’s recent blog post for corresponding pictures). Coach Tom of Sebastian River High School Crew organized an informal Q&A in the school’s very nice 700-seat auditorium. After having fun testing the acoustics, we sat on stage and chatted with athletes and parents. Afterwards a few girls asked me about lifting (specifically: “How do I get jacked quads?”) and 2k pacing strategies, which was pretty cool.

Naaa Zvegnaa! A hazy sunrise at Canal 54

Naaa Zvegnaa! A hazy sunrise at Canal 54

Later that week, we set up an afternoon of talks at Fellsmere Elementary. Via contacts from a CrossFitter who works at the school, I met with the principal (Mr. E, as the kids call him) to scheme a program that would be inspirational and motivational for 600+ little kiddos divided into three 30-minute talks. It had been a long time since I’d been to the principal’s office! The visit exceeded expectations on all fronts. The kids were fantastic. When asked, they responded that their heroes were mom and dad, they jumped out of their seats screaming “YEAH SCIENCE!!” when Liz shared her favorite subject (similar reaction for Star Wars, Frid’s favorite movie series), and of course they asked hilarious questions. We brought a boat and oars for them to see and John commentated the quad’s 2014 World Cup race on a big screen, during which Mr. E started a “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chant. Afterwards, many produced autograph instruments—an inch-long blue crayon, a fat pink highlighter, an orange glitter gel pen—and asked for our autograph, often followed by a hug.

In a voice the size of her, one tiny kindergartner told me she too wanted to go to the Olympics, in the same sport as me—rowing! What good is a dream if it isn’t shared? Thank you to Mr. E and Fellsmere Elementary for inspiring and motivating us with your infectious energy, we had a great time.

Treasure Coast CrossFit all gussied up for the party

Treasure Coast CrossFit all gussied up for the party

Our social calendar exploded (relatively speaking) on our last weekend in Sebastian. On Saturday evening, Treasure Coast CrossFit invited us to be guests of honor at a gym-wide party. We’ve met quite a few members through teaching erg classes, so it was great to kick back and relax with familiar faces over a delicious dinner. The following Sunday, a parent on the high school team hosted a little gathering at her popular local hangout, the Tiki Bar. Good weather, good people, and cornhole by the beach—doesn’t get much better!

Liz and Pete enjoying the Sunday afternoon Tiki Bar scene

Liz and Pete enjoying the Sunday afternoon Tiki Bar scene

Stay tuned for updates from Sarasota! Racing begins Sunday with the Men’s 4x time trial at 5pm.

W2x excited about our sweet new units from JL Racing! Thanks for your support JL, we're some lucky gals!

W2x excited about our sweet new units from JL Racing! Thanks for your support JL, we’re some lucky gals!

A Rower’s Winter in a Nutshell

14.Feb.2016 by Jamie Chapman

After spending more than a year away from Craftsbury training elsewhere, coming back to Vermont to start off the new year was a figurative and literal breath of fresh air. The dining hall coincidentally served my favorites for my first dinner back: salmon, beet burgers, and a newly improved snacks section. The food is fabulous, but my favorite part about Craftsbury is the great group of people. Even with my recent transient visits, it feels like a second family.

Checkout Ben Dann’s interesting approach to the deadlift: The Dann Deadlift

Despite a lackluster snow month in January, the grooming team kept the core trails and loops loaded with snow. I wore a big smile for the entirety of the first few skis there–happy to be sliding around again in my favorite place for winter training. We sprinkled some skiing, weights, and circuits into our erg work during January, offering variety to lots of kilometers on the erg.

The highlight of the month work-wise was getting to work and spectate the Paralympic Biathlon North American World Cup, held at Craftsbury at the beginning of January. It’s one of my favorite things about this place: it’s common to cross paths with world-class athletes on the trails, on the water or in the dining hall. I helped with the biathlon race for sit skiers and visually impaired athletes, who ski with a guide and use a laser rifle equipped with a sound accuracy system that beeps as they near the target. There’s nothing quite as motivating as doing erg pieces while watching sit skiers double pole up the hill past the gym windows. I had a celebrity moment at lunch when I sat with Oksana Masters, an inspiring athlete who has Olympic medals in both rowing and skiing and also cleaned up at the NorAm races that week.

The upper field during the Paralympic racing

The upper field during the Paralympic racing

A few short weeks after arriving in VT, I loaded up my car with team food (gallons of maple syrup, buckets of peanut butter, and other less important items), a few duffel bags, and my boat and trekked down to Sebastian, Florida, where we’ll be training for the majority of the winter. I could not have made it down with my sanity intact if it weren’t for cookies from my Princeton host mom, a CD from skier Liz, and Harry Potter books on tape from Kaitlynn. Stay tuned for updates from Canal 54 as we turn our dry-land fitness into water speed!

Catamounts doing a ski train

Catamounts doing a ski train

 

Our Slice of the Kingdom

4.Aug.2014 by Jamie Chapman

After logging some hours behind the yoke during our spring training trip in Clemson, I thought that returning to Craftsbury would force a hiatus in my piloting lessons simply due to its distance from any small airports. But as local Vermonters have proven time and time again, where there’s a will, there’s a way. A friend put me in contact with Will Ameden, a farmer and Jack-of-all-trades kind of guy who has a small private airstrip at Under Orion Farm in Cabot. He restores a vintage Cessna and mows an airstrip at the highest point in his field, sharing the space with his cows (although I never saw them anywhere near the landing strip). I couldn’t help but laugh at the simplicity of his set-up: all we really need is a plane, a windsock, and a straight, flat-ish strip of land, and we’re good to go!

Immediately upon take-off, the stunning beauty of this area took my breath away–some things just never get old. I felt like a bush plane pilot, flying with the contour of the mountains and buzzing over Craftsbury and Big Hosmer. I did a low pass over the skier’s house that may have scared the chickens a little bit; I didn’t hear of any drops in egg production, so I’ll assume that it didn’t bother them. I was able to crack the window and take some cool photos. Enjoy!

Hosmers, Big and Little.  One of my favorite pictures of Craftsbury.  Head of the Hosmer quiz:  draw a straight line down Big Hosmer Lake without interfering with the shore.  Is it possible?  Nobody knows!

Hosmers, Big and Little. One of my favorite pictures of Craftsbury. Head of the Hosmer quiz: draw a straight line down Big Hosmer Lake without interfering with the shore. Is it possible? Nobody knows!

I miraculously caught the Center in a moment of calm.  Here's the lower part of the lake, docks near the right of the frame, COC above them.

I miraculously caught the Center in a moment of calm. Here’s the lower part of the lake, docks near the right of the frame, COC above them.

Home!

Home!

Gerrie's is the little white house at the bottom of the picture, Little Hosmer to the left and the aptly-named Kidney Bean pond below the house.  Squint and you can see our cows!

Gerrie’s is the little white house at the bottom of the picture, Little Hosmer to the left and the aptly-named Kidney Bean pond below the house. Squint and you can see our cows!

A cool shot of Craftsbury Common on top of the hill

A cool shot of Craftsbury Common on top of the hill

The village of Craftsbury, with Pete's Greens on the left of the frame

The village of Craftsbury, with Pete’s Greens on the left of the frame

I also took a few shots of local windmill farms, conveniently tangential to a few recent GRP blog posts by Ida and Pete.

Windmills on Lowell Mountain Range, the inspiration for Hannah's painting and the site of recent training adventure by the GRP skier boys

Windmills on Lowell Mountain Range, the inspiration for Hannah’s painting and the site of recent training adventure by the GRP skier boys

Another nearby wind farm in Sheffield, VT. So much green!

Another nearby wind farm in Sheffield, VT. So much green!

Science Class with the Garden Gurus

31.Jul.2014 by Jamie Chapman

Last week I asked Pam what she needed help with in the garden, she said that they were going to spread fish on the plants. I pictured tossing actual dead fish at the crops’ roots, naïve about what this would do besides attract bears. Bears aside, I wasn’t far off.   So I asked the Pam and Amy, our Garden Gurus, and got a science lesson to rival Bill Nye. Supplemented with some expert Wikipedia research, here’s what I learned. Fish hydrolysate is basically pureed fish, sourced from fishing boats’ bycatch and then ground-up to be sold as agricultural supplements. I won’t overstep my primitive science knowledge, but Pam explained it as giving the earth a dose of the sea, rich in nutrients and minerals that elude terrestrial beings. There’s some magic in the fishies! Try this at home: into a full watering can, mix one full tablespoon fish and one scant tablespoon molasses, then give the plants a generous drink. Molasses for the sugar content—a fish and molasses smoothie!

One watering can, plus one T of fish (middle container) and one T of molasses (dark container) does the trick

Fish and molasses: one watering can, plus one T of fish (middle container) and one T of molasses (dark container) does the trick

We source lots of produce for the kitchen from our gardens, and it’s cool to see something that I’ve planted, nurtured under the watchful eye of the Gurus, and then harvested end up in the hot meal line or in the salad bar.   It has flourished under the construction of a new fence to keep the bunnies and deer away from our delicacies.

From left: kale, more kale, onions, garlic

From left: kale, more kale, onions, garlic

From the front: rows of parsley, basil (on the left, more parsley on the right), chard just after being harvested for the kitchen, baby beets, peppers, tomatillos, and peas in the back.

From the front: rows of parsley, basil (on the left, more parsley on the right), chard just after being harvested for the kitchen, baby beets, peppers, tomatillos, and peas in the back.

Peas for days

Peas for days

Lots of purple snow peas!  We also have yellow snow peas and sugar snap peas, now growing fast enough to pick a few small bags every couple days.  I have a high eat:pick ratio, especially with the sugar snaps.  Benefits of growing organic!

Lots of purple snow peas! We also have yellow snow peas and sugar snap peas, now growing fast enough to pick a few small bags every couple days. I have a high eat:pick ratio, especially with the sugar snaps. Benefits of growing organic!

But there’s only so much produce to harvest, and sometimes we want to make the place look nice, too.  Amy and Pam gave a few of us girls a lesson in creating flower arrangements, a task that has skyrocketed to the top of my favorite jobs at the Center.  Tricks of the trade: more is more, purple and yellow don’t match, and embrace unorthodox materials–kale and stripped limbs of wild berries add a little spice.

Tricky stuff: Caitlin and I with the raw materials, on a really hot and humid day in the garden.

Tricky stuff: Caitlin and I with the raw materials, on a really hot and humid day in the garden.

Voila!

Voila!

Beautiful from all angles

Beautiful from all angles