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Author Archive

Back to Clemson and Back on the Water

27.Mar.2014 by Phil Grisdela

Every year I’m shocked by how fast the spring flies by, especially after the winter of hitting the ergs and ski trails. We’re already almost at the end of March with less than four weeks until our first major test of the 2014 season at the first National Selection Regatta in Princeton, NJ. Hard to believe that it was barely three weeks ago that I hung up my skis for the winter (although with all the snow coming down back home maybe I’ll get a chance to bring them back out!). Here’s a bit of a photo montage from the end of our winter training and the first few weeks on the water in Clemson, SC.

There’s nothing to make you more excited to be done with winter training than a 2k test and a VO2 max test. Our last week in Craftsbury was packed full with assessments to see how effective our training has been. It’s definitely good to see that a winter of skiing can pay off, with some good PR’s and physiological data for the squad.

We got to cap off the winter with a 2k test on the ergs without the mask and then a step test to find our VO2 max, pictured here

We got to cap off the winter with a 2k test on the ergs without the mask and then a step test to find our VO2 max, pictured here

It’s pretty surreal to go down to the boathouse in the winter, seeing the boats surrounded by snow is a bit unusual but definitely gets us excited to get back on the water.

There were boats in there somewhere!

There were boats in there somewhere

Business end of a snowy trailer

Business end of a snowy trailer

Oars ready to make the trip, two of these things are not like the others!

Oars ready to make the trip, two of these things are not like the others!

The drive down to Clemson was actually much the same as last year, for some of us this is a great chance to stop and visit our parents on the way down the east coast.

Gaffney, SC for those who are into House of Cards. For those who aren't, check it out.

Gaffney, SC for those who are into House of Cards. For those who aren’t, check it out.

We also got to watch the thermometer steadily climb on the drive down, by the time we made it to Clemson it was a balmy 70 degrees and sunny, a great way to start the trip.

Those four are helping, promise.

Those four are helping, promise.

We were all pretty excited to hit the water again, even Dan has gotten in on the action once in a double with Steve. From Dan “Getting back in a boat reminded me how simple rowing is, and how much I dislike wake and cross-winds” Preach! Even Steve was optimistic: “If there was a world championships of rowing at a 14….we would stand half a chance.”

Even Dan got in on the rowing action

Getting back on the water means a return to callused hands, a fight which it seems like as hard as you try your hands always lose at first.

Welcome back to rowing!

Welcome back to rowing!

While our hands may be torn up worse than this, it does feel right that the oar grips should share some of the pain

While our hands may be torn up worse than this, it does feel right that the oar grips should share some of the pain

We’re super lucky to be able to row out of the Clemson boathouse where I am currently poaching internet, but it also gives us a chance to help out at some of the college races. I’ve always wanted to help with the stakeboats at the start, these are the people who hold the sterns of the boats before the start and keep everything even. My dad would always do it for our high school races and I had never been on that end of the event. Especially now that we’re in small boats without coxswains, it’s easy to forget how loud and fun the start of a race can be. While our own races are a few weeks away, it was great to get close to the action and remember what we’re training for.

Sunrise stakeboating

Sunrise stakeboating

Craftsbury's Clemson Office

Craftsbury’s Clemson Office

Even on a training trip there’s a little more to it than just the training. We keep busy in between practices at our awesome housing. The house I’m in right now has a foosball table that Kyle Lafferty may be reigning champion of although Peter Graves is giving him a run for his money. There’s also some Jenga and a great movie collection that we’re doing our best to get through (name a movie better than Titanic, so far we can’t).

Passing the time in between practices

Passing the time in between practices

Last year I ended up doing an event for charity in Oklahoma to raise money for childhood cancer research through the St. Baldricks program. While I did it on a bit of a whim last year, it was inspiring to see so many people there for a really good cause. Watching mothers last year shave a full head of hair with their kids who were either cancer survivors or fighters sitting on their lap made me want to do it again this year to help them and others like them. Knowing that I was going to shave my head I enlisted the help of some of the girls on the team here to dye my hair green the day before the event. The before and after are here, check it out:

I'm not going to tell you how long it took to get my hair this green. Thanks for the help Sarah!

I’m not going to tell you how long it took to get my hair this green. Thanks for the help Sarah!

Less Grizzly, still green though!

Less Grizzly, still green though!

We also took a trip to Greenville, SC over the weekend to keep things fresh and see the city. I had never been here before but it really was worth the trip, especially on a beautiful warm day.

Awesome waterfall under a single-sided suspension bridge (say that five times fast) in Greenville, SC

Awesome waterfall under a single-sided suspension bridge (say that five times fast) in Greenville, SC

I honestly can't explain how surreal this was, hula hoop party in Greenville.

I honestly can’t explain how surreal this was, hula hoop party in Greenville.

We’re coming to the end of the third week here, with a little less than four weeks to go until the first NSR. As we’ve gotten through the beginning stages of adapting the bodies to the water and the boats the next few weeks are the real meat of the camp where lineups will get decided and we put the work in to bring the most speed possible on race day. Stay tuned here to catch all the action and enjoy the snow back North!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Open House at Gerrie’s

25.Jul.2013 by Phil Grisdela

This week we had a chance to learn a little more about the house we live in and get in touch with some great members of the community as the Hosmer Ponds Watershed Initiative and Craftsbury Historical Society held a party at Gerrie’s (formerly the Faraway Farm or the Fox Farm) where half of the GRP rowers live. It was a bit of a mad dash to get everything ready but with everyone in the house pitching in we got the house looking great inside and out.

The garden at the house looking great after a good cleaning

The garden at the house looking great after a good cleaning

Steve checking out some of the photo albums of the Faraway Farm from years past

Steve checking out some of the photo albums of the Faraway Farm from years past

Dave Linck, President of the Craftsbury Historical Society starting the historical discussion about the house.

Dave Linck, President of the Craftsbury Historical Society starting the historical discussion about the house.

The event went off without a hitch, giving the community a chance to take a look at one of the more recent expansions of the outdoor center and to meet and get to know some of the athletes for the GRP they might not otherwise have known. For us it was great to talk to our neighbors and learn more about the house that we live in. Dave Linck of the Historical Society gave a great talk about the history of the house and the area, complete with photo albums of the house through the years and a bit of an idea of the lineage of the land. The event was definitely a nice break from training and a good reminder of the community that we’re a part of here at the Outdoor Center. Now though it’s back to normal as the group prepares for racing at the USRowing Senior National Trials and at the Canadian Henley Regatta at the beginning of August. Stay tuned for updates from all the racing!

Playing in the Boat Pays Off

15.Jul.2013 by Phil Grisdela

While John Graves has been posting impressive results in his bout overseas in the men’s heavyweight single for the US, he has also shown that all the time perfecting tricks in the boat at Craftsbury has not been wasted. Before his semi at the second world cup in Eton, UK John noticed a clump of seaweed directly in his lane. While the stakeboat holders at the event had nets to grab seaweed out of the lane, John was able to flip up the seaweed on his oar and hand it to the officials, all while keeping his boat straight and ready in a crosswind before his race. Here’s the story from John’s point of view, check out the photos to see what we’re talking about!

“This was my proudest moment of the regatta. There was a bunch of weeds in my lane and I told the official I would attempt to remove the weeds myself (of course, while maintaining my point in the crosswind!) So I picked up the weeds with a flat blade, while balancing and tapping with my port blade. The stakeboat holders and officials thought it was hilarious. I then delivered the weeds to their basket and dumped them into the basket. Mission accomplished! I said to the girls holding my boat, ” I have been training my entire life for this moment.” Haha!! Moments later, the race was started, and well, I was fourth. I won the skills competition though!”

John picking up the seaweed in his lane before handing it to the stakeboat holder

John picking up the seaweed in his lane before handing it to the stakeboat holder

All while keeping his point in some tough crosswinds right before the race!

All while keeping his point in some tough crosswinds right before the race!

Getting the Band Back Together

22.May.2013 by Phil Grisdela

It’s been a crazy two months since three of the lightweights from the GRP joined up with the USRowing training center in OKC but we’re about to meet up with some of the group again here in New Jersey for the second National Selection Regatta. Here’s some pictures from since the last time we were all in Craftsbury.

Loading the trailer for Clemson

Loading the trailer for Clemson

It was definitely a surreal feeling loading up the trailer while navigating snow drifts that had built up to waist level at least down by the boathouse but also exciting to get back to the sport that we’re here for. Packing for a ten-week trip can also be a bit overwhelming, especially when you’re trying to fit everybody and their stuff in the least amount of space possible. We made it work though, even if it was a bit tight.

Pretty sure we couldn't pack anything more into the car on the way down

Pretty sure we couldn’t pack anything more into the car on the way down

Was definitely a tight squeeze for the 18 hour drive

Was definitely a tight squeeze for the 18 hour drive

Sunrise in the rearview on the way to Clemson

Sunrise in the rearview on the way to Clemson

We were able to split the trip up into three days on the way down which made a huge difference. Lucky for us there were three families to visit on the way so we got to enjoy some home cooking and great hospitality on the way down. My dad also led us on a evening tour of the monuments in DC which is always great.

Lincoln Memorial at night

Lincoln Memorial at night

The FDR memorial at night, one of my favorites

The FDR memorial at night, one of my favorites

We got to Clemson in one piece and settled in to get the kinks sorted out after a winter spent mostly cross country skiing. It was gratifying to see how much the fitness translated from the one sport to the other and Clemson had a great environment for training. After only ten days there though we rented a car to drive out to OKC for what we expected to be around a ten-day visit there at the national team training center. On the way we got to stop at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Hotel Lorraine in Memphis to see the site of the Martin Luther King Jr assassination.

A stop at the Hotel Lorraine and the national civil rights museum on the way to Oklahoma from Clemson

A stop at the Hotel Lorraine and the national civil rights museum on the way to Oklahoma from Clemson

Training full-time at this level means being flexible and ready for anything. We weren’t really sure how long we were going to be in Oklahoma or where we would be staying, but still had to be ready to row in any seat in any boat as we got to work. Luckily I packed light, with a backpack and a duffel bag for what would end up being around two months at the training center.

The life of a full-time rower means crashing wherever you can get a place to stay. We were lucky to get housing from the folks in Oklahoma, making the training there possible

The life of a full-time rower means crashing wherever you can get a place to stay. We were lucky to get housing from the folks in Oklahoma, making the training there possible

I thought I had packed light for a 10-week training trip to Clemson, this is actually only half of it which I ended up bringing to OKC

I thought I had packed light for a 10-week training trip to Clemson, this is actually only half of it which I ended up bringing to OKC

The Devon boathouse where the USRowing training center is definitely a style of its own with a very modern feel and some cool training tools. It can feel a bit space-age sometimes with it’s high altitude chamber and metal spiral staircase, stark contrast to the open-air boathouse at Craftsbury.

Devon boathouse at the end of a long day

Devon boathouse at the end of a long day

A view of the course where we were rowing

A view of the course where we were rowing

Everything inside the Devon boathouse was a bit space age, here's the spiral staircase down to the boat bay

Everything inside the Devon boathouse was a bit space age, here’s the spiral staircase down to the boat bay

Altitude chamber with spin bikes, ergs and a TV

Altitude chamber with spin bikes, ergs and a TV

Erg room at the Devon boathouse

Erg room at the Devon boathouse

We got a chance to get out a bit and experience the city itself which actually had a lot to offer. You can tell that the energy companies setting up shop in the city are working hard to rehabilitate the city’s image and to get new, young people to come and enjoy living there. On a beautiful day after the OKC memorial marathon we stopped by the Oklahoma City Arts festival and got to take in the city.

Some crazy art at the OKC art festival

Some crazy art at the OKC art festival

Botanical Gardens in OKC

Botanical Gardens in OKC

Devon tower overlooking all of OKC

Devon tower overlooking all of OKC