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A Guest Perspective

15.Oct.2017 by John Graves

Hi everyone, this is Felice Mueller! This morning as John and I hopped in the car to go to practice I said to him, “I feel like we were camping last night, even though we slept in a bed in a really nice house.” Craftsbury has found a way to simultaneously be luxurious, wild, and simple. As we drove in Tuesday night you could look out the window and only see darkness, just barely making out the dark ridge of the mountains and the blinking lights from the windmills. When we got out of the car I was met with the most spectacular display of stars I’ve seen in over a year (since camping in the bottom of the Grand Canyon), and it was only 9pm. But then we stay in this gorgeous farm house, and in the morning drive into the center, where this thriving community exists. We grabbed some coffee with fresh milk, some homemade sourdough toast and jam, and made our way to the brand new fully-equipped gym where we could warm up for our practice. There’s no cell phone service up here, but there’s a physiologist who is operating on the cutting edge of sports science. No gourmet restaurants, but a gourmet dining hall. Simple, but luxurious. Craftsbury is made up of honest, hard work, good food, a Zen-like focus, and a great appreciation for the natural world. I’ve been here a few times and each time I come back, I’m renewed with a sense of awe that this dreamland exists.

It was only my second-time rowing on Hosmer Pond (or is it a lake?) as I set out to launch this Wednesday morning, and I was warned that the conditions I was about to endure were “choppy” for Hosmer. It was windy, but by no means un-rowable. I was even able to work on some technical aspects of the stroke I’ve been thinking about. Despite the “rough” conditions, I was eager to get out on the water this morning, not because I wanted to practice but because I wanted to get warm! Spending the early part of the fall in Florida makes the transition to 40 and 50 degree weather a bit of a shock for the body. It took me 20’ of continuous rowing for my hands to regain control and feeling. I completed three laps of steady state, with a little bit of pressure mixed in, which totaled 17.5k. Maybe it’s because I’m on a new body of water, but the kilometers on Hosmer seem to fly by. I can appreciate the colors of the trees against the sky, the reflection of the water, and the occasional loon call to break up the monotony of a long, continuous row.

After the row John and I grabbed some chocolate milk from the dining hall before going to shower at the center. Once warm and dry, we went to relax in the new ski lodge while we waited for lunch to open. Laying on a bench, I felt grateful a place like this exists. It’s hard to train for the Olympics. It’s hard because it’s physically very hard, but it’s also hard to do financially, and it’s hard to defend the decision to put careers and other interests on the back burner as you go for this one incredible goal. It’s hard to find the support staff you need, and hard to find funding to go compete. Training to compete at the Olympics is a hard, weird thing for people to do for so many reasons, but Craftsbury (The GRP) is making it happen. And it’s not just meeting the basic needs of athletes, it’s providing athletes with the support, equipment and nutrition they need to be their best! It’s really quite extraordinary, and I’m so lucky to be able to experience it for a few days.

The Craftsbury Bump

2.May.2016 by John Graves

After almost three months soaking in the sunshine and sweat in Florida, I have been really enjoying bringing out sweatshirts, long sleeves, tights, and most notably winter hats for our rows. I think I may have let myself get a little too tan over the course of our stay in the south, so it’s probably a good thing to have a few practices go by where my skin doesn’t see the light of day. Since getting back, the men’s quad of myself, Peter, Ben, and Ben have been training fairly modestly in an effort to get the travel out of our system and to avoid getting sick in the colder temperatures. Unfortunately, both Peter and I came down with a little cold this week and have been unusually quiet in the boat as a result. I think young Ben and Ben are enjoying this uncharacteristic silence ( while it lasts). This weekend we have been really lucky to have one of our coaches Dave Gleeson around for a few days. Dave lives with his family in southern California and has taken some time away to sharpen us up before we leave for Europe on May 11. Dave spent a week with us in Florida in March and provided us with a lot of the technical focuses we used to keep the boat firing on all cylinders going into Trials. The combination of Dave, Larry Gluckman, and Troy as our coaches has been excellent. Each brings something different to the table and they are all valuable in their own right. Larry will be traveling with us to the Final Qualification Regatta in Lucerne( and hopefully beyond), but Dave and Troy have certainly been a huge part of the process to getting us to where we are now. There are just under three weeks until we begin racing for our spot at the 2016 Olympics. We will be facing all the boats that did not qualify in the top 8 at last years World Championships in France. Top contenders consist of Canada, Russia, New Zealand, Italy, China, Norway, France and others. Top two finishers will be going to Rio. In the final days leading into racing, we aren’t trying to reinvent anything we will just be trying to show up to the race feeling healthy, strong, and ready to lay down our very best piece. So far this boat has been a blast to row and I think we are all looking forward to showing it off on the international stage in a few weeks. For now, we trying to breath as much fresh VT air as possible and get what Larry likes to call the ” Craftsbury Bump”. Although its not for long, it feels really good to be home.

M2x in Sarnen

27.Jun.2015 by John Graves

Hey all,

Ben and I have been in Sarnen, SUI for the last week following WC 2 in Varese and we will be training here for one more week before we move over to Lucerne for World Cup 3. We have been enjoying the mountain scenery and glassy water while also taking some time to hike around the area. We hiked up to see the sunset on thursday night. Here are a couple of pics.




Ben and I have enjoyed a fairly easy week this week recovering from racing the week before but will now begin to do a lot of hard work in the boat to prepare for WC 3. We were encouraged by our speed in Varese but were not quite able to finish out the regatta the way we wanted. We are eager to fine tune some things and show up Lucerne ready to have a great regatta. More to come as we get closer to racing!



View from the Kiddy pool

29.Aug.2013 by John Graves