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Archive for May, 2013

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

Lightweight Update from OKC

2.May.2013 by Kyle Lafferty

The Phil’s and I are still on the loose in OKC. Although we are getting some quality training with a solid group of athletes out here, we are quite jealous of our GRP teammates who have made their way back to Craftsbury and the recently thawed Hosmer. Much respect to the first GRP’er to row on Hosmer this Spring – skier Susan Dunklee! I’m sure she was navigating the last chunks of ice floating around out there. The scenery on the Oklahoma River is quite different as you can see from the video below. In the background, you can see the OKC skyline and the Devon Boathouse where we train everyday.

The training atmosphere out here has been growing more intense as we approach the racing season and selection camps. Official selection for the lightweight men’s four begins with the 2nd National Selection Regatta which is scheduled for May 15-18. All members of the group here will be racing in pairs at this event. We have been doing lots of training in pairs with as many different combinations as possible. The constant switching has made for some great competition. The video below is from one of our training sessions.

Last weekend, the Phil’s and I ventured downtown to attend the OKC Marathon registration where we helped promote the Learn-to-Row programs offered by the OKC Boathouse Foundation. It was great to chat with members of the community and get people excited about rowing. We gave our best sales pitches to convert runners to rowers as they perused the booths scattered throughout the large registration room at the Cox Convention Center.

Recruiting new rowers at OKC Marathon

Recruiting new rowers at OKC Marathon

In my last post, I mentioned that there was no recycling pickup at our apartment complex. While that fact remains, we have been making weekly trips to the recycling center which is located downtown. We’ve had some pretty big hauls!

Loading up to hit the recycling center

Loading up to hit the recycling center

Phil sorting recycling - and looking good!

Phil sorting recycling – and looking good!

So we will be heading to New Jersey on the 9th to prepare to race at NSR #2 with at least some of the GRP coming down from Vermont. We’ll keep you posted as we continue to travel and begin racing.