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The Greenies Reunite Back North

3.Mar.2019 by Wes Vear

Hello GRP followers! Earlier this week the men’s side of the rowing team wrapped up their first training trip down in Peachtree City, Georgia after a week of some very productive training. They’re now back up in the snowy north and back onto skis. The guys did some great work remembering how to move a single, figuring out how to match up with different people in team boats, and setting down a solid base of blisters to heal up and hopefully turn into callouses for the main training trip in a couple weeks. 

From where we left off in our past blog post, last weekend started out with a variety of team boats work with a nice long doubles steady state workout through the fog which provided for some great photo opportunities, as I’m sure you can imagine. The best part about rowing in the fog (as long as you’re vigilant about keeping an eye out for anything ahead) is the dead calm water that you usually get. Steve made sure to take advantage and have the guys focus on some important technical aspects around the release with bringing the bodies over and keeping them perched as we brought the boat towards us with the hamstrings.

Lucas and Wes venturing off into the great unknown in search of matching body prep and speed.

An easy breezy row that Friday afternoon in the quad helped get the guys ready for their first taste of speed for the following morning workout of 2x(5x(1:00 on, 1:00 off)) starting around a 30 and progressing higher and higher. Considering each row in the quad was the first time in each respective lineup, Saturday’s pieces felt surprisingly relaxed and quick. That morning’s lineup consisted of four of the GRPers with Wes in stroke, Lucas sitting in three, Kevin in two seat, and Andy making the calls from up in bow. Things got a bit rushed and forced once the final open rate piece rolled around, but it was nothing to lose sleep over considering it was everyone’s first time above a 38 in a boat since November.

Following a quick snack refuel to hit that catabolic window, the guys spent a couple hours with the juniors of Peachtree City Rowing Club to talk about all things sculling. The guys regaled stories and lessons they had learned from rowing in college followed up by advice from what they’ve learned in about sculling in the years since graduating. The guys split the juniors up into a couple groups and had each group spend half the time focusing on technical aspects in the boat while the other half was spent talking hitting the large themes surrounding erging, training, nutrition, and the psychology of racing. Obviously all of those topics, both in the boat and out of it, can be discussed for months on end, so the guys tried to hit a few of the key lessons each of them had learned over the years.

PTCRC Juniors learning all sorts of fun stuff about erging and other aspects of rowing off of the water.

Saturday afternoon after talking to the Juniors was spent with a quick and purposeful row in the singles in order to sharpen the guys up for the following morning fun. Steve lined up a 4,000m open-rate piece the Sunday morning’s practice with no set course. The guys were simply to set their speed coaches for 4,000m, start in one corner of the lake, and see how quickly they could cover. As some back story, the buoyed race course on Lake McIntosh covers 2,500m. An S turn near the start of the course can add an additional ~900m or so. Which means you needed to add another ~600m to the piece in some fashion or another. The assumption was that we would all probably divert from the course where the lake opens up and do a long loop around the rough circumference of the lake (all in the traffic pattern, of course) in order to add the necessary 600m to hit 4,000m on our speed coaches. Steve gave the group a start time of 8:15am for the piece. Everyone launched somewhere around 7:30 and everyone headed straight up to the course towards the start and added a couple short loops on the course to lengthen the warmup and kill time until the start. Everyone, that is except Lucas. For whatever reason (to be realized later by everyone else), Lucas went straight towards the finish line and down a small finger of the lake before turning around and heading to the start line. Not thinking anything of it, everyone gathered around the start location as you can see in the map below in the upper left corner. The usual pre-race banter ensued and then Steve sent everyone off on 45″ intervals based on seniority of birth. John Graves, being the most well aged (like a bottle of fine wine, one might say) of the group, started things off. Lucas, being the young gun of the group, started last. As everyone hooked a sharp turn towards starboard into a brutal headwind running from West to East that had picked up before the start of the piece, people’s splits suffered accordingly. It wasn’t until everyone was on the West side of the lake did we realize why Lucas had started his warmup by heading down the end finger of the lake. As he speeded straight down the course as the lake opened up, it was then that we realized he had been figuring out just how long he could stretch the lake in as straight of a line as possible. Everyone else took the red line in the map below, and Lucas made up gobs of time on most of the field by not having to deal with the wall of a headwind everyone else rowed into. Granted, the rest of the group had a semblance of a tailwind as they headed back east, but it was mostly blocked by the trees and land along the west side of the lake. Lucas demolished most of the field, only falling to the always silky smooth JGraveyboat and US 2018 Single Sculler, Kevin Meador. The only thing Lucas hadn’t foreseen was having to dodge people as they finished in front of him well short of the finger he barreled into with reckless abandon. He also hadn’t accounted for Steve’s wake as Steve sped to catch the finish of everyone else. Yet, Lucas’ ingenious plan payed off.

The red course followed by almost the full group. The blue course followed by the ingenious Lucas Bellows.


Everyone milling around engaging in pre-race banter, completely unaware of Lucas’ plan.

After the 4k, the group talked again to the remainder of the Junior program who hadn’t gotten a chance to listen to the GRPers wax poetic about training and the art of sculling. Both groups of high schoolers were great students and seemed to really enjoy hearing the experiences of the Greenies as they look towards the horizon of collegiate rowing.

Bringing one of the Craftsbury specials down to Georgia: the dock talk.

Sunday afternoon after the 4k, Steve gave the group a quick power lift to… power through, before spending most of the evening relaxing as he made his promised Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow for us midwesterners) and the guys watched the latest adventures of Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledoor in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The rest of the trip unfortunately flew by in a blur of one of the windiest rows that the guys had yet experienced followed immediately by some gorgeous conditions for quad rowing and singles drills. We even got to end everything with some excitement as Lucas flipped Monday evening while doing stationary drills followed by Wes flipping Tuesday morning with the continuation of the same stationary drills.

As the guys headed north Tuesday morning, Steve drove even further south towards Trials I which will be hosted in Sarasota, Florida at the end of April. The full GRP Rowing team will be rejoining the trailer in DeLand, FL on March 19th for their long training trip in preparation for Single Trials. Until then, they’ll be taking full advantage of the pristine skiing conditions at the Center and dreaming about warm sunshine.

The final quad row in some gorgeous conditions.

The trailer, all snug and waiting for the GRP’s return south to DeLand, FL.


the GRP’s snowbirds fly south for a week

21.Feb.2019 by Wes Vear

After the women of the Rowing side of the Green Racing Project spent a week living it up out west, Cali style, the men of the team turned green with jealousy (not in the sustainability sense this time). So, the men planned a trip of their own to find some liquid water with the hopes of re-familiarizing themselves with the feel of oars in their hands for a bit.

Coach Whelpley set his eyes on Peachtree City’s Lake McIntosh in the heart of Georgia with hopes of finding glassy conditions to match those provided by Newport Beach for the women two weeks ago. But, Steve first had some fun up his sleeve for the men before they got a chance to slice through liquid water instead of on top of the frozen stuff as they’ve been doing for the past few months.

After setting south with a trailer full of the newest additions to our fleet of Hudson Super Predators, Coach Steve sent the men on a harrowing journey of self discovery during the annual rowers’ pilgrimage to the promised land of Boston for this year’s C.R.A.S.H.-B. Sprints. It was a weekend full of excitement as four of our men sat down for a 2,000m piece, including the latest addition to the Greenies, Kevin Meador. Kevin joins the GRP after a successful two years training at Riverside and representing the United States at the World Rowing Championships as the Men’s Single Sculls last year in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

The second greenest GRP member, Andy Raitto, was the returning Champion from 2018’s C.R.A.S.H.-B. who raced this past weekend along with veteran Greenies Lucas Bellows and Wes Vear. Out of the field of 48 competitors in the Open Men’s category, Wes Vear ended up winning the hard fought 2k and the coveted hammer with a 5:59.2 over Connor Corwen’s 5:59.7. Meador rounded out the medals with a 6:02.0 to take third followed closely by Raitto in fifth with a 6:05.9, and then Bellows in seventh with a 6:09.9. It was a slightly tougher day of 2ks for the men than they had hoped, but they represented the Cedar sprig well and gave it everything they had through to the end.

Wes Vear with the all important C.R.A.S.H.-B. Hammer

After a long night of recovery from their 2ks, the men all headed down on Monday to join Steve in Georgia for the fun to really begin. They were met with a pleasant surprise of the familiar face of John Graves joining the fray as well as Mike Colella, a member of the Men’s 2- at the World Championships for the past two years who has recently swapped out his customary long oar for two shorter ones and is now learning the intricacies of wielding two blades at once. The first two days brought about plenty of rain mixed with the coldest conditions of the entire week’s forecast, and that’s not to mention the continuous wind bearing down on them from the side as the group made their way up and down the course. It was awesome. Everyone was beyond excited to get on the water. Steve ensured that we made the most of every opportunity to take a stroke with lots of team boats rowing in order to not try to bite off more than we can chew during our first few practices back on the water since November. We have had lots of technical focuses and have really emphasized making sure that all of our strokes are directed in the direction of quality instead of wandering down the endless road of quantity.

John Graves joining back up with the Greenies for the week.

Wednesday morning brought about beautiful conditions with perfectly glassy water and awe inspiring fog. The guys finally got a taste of pushing the envelope a bit with four 2,500m pieces somewhere around the neighborhood of Anaerobic Threshold level in doubles. The first three were headrace style but then finally Steve rewarded the group with some side-by-side work with three doubles across chomping at the bit. Steve then gave the guys the afternoon off from rowing in order to try to trick their blisters into thinking that they’re getting time to heal and to stop by the local Snap Fitness. Snap welcomed the group with open arms to liven things up with some bench press and deadlifting and really showed the guys the meaning of Southern hospitality.

Lucas and Wes in the double heading off into the great unknown during one of their 2,500m pieces Wednesday morning.

So far the trip has been a wild success and we couldn’t be more thankful to Peachtree City Rowing Club for so generously allowing us to train out of their facilities for the week and helping us out so much. It’s going to be a fun rest of the week of training while we fine tune our bladework and look towards Trials I down in Sarasota in April. With that in mind, it’s time to head to bed to get that full recovery in for tomorrow morning’s steady state. Stay tuned for more updates to come!

Scullers prep for USRowing Fall Speed Order

30.Oct.2018 by Jen Forbes
Scullers are heading to Princeton, NJ this weekend for their final Head Race of the fall season. Hosted by USRowing, the aptly named “Fall Speed Order” will take place over the course of two days in an effort to: first, measure athletes’ speed on the erg (all participants do a 6k erg test for time); and, second, test their speed and skills on the water- because as the old adage goes “ergs don’t float”. The fastest participants from Saturday’s 8k erg test are seeded favorably in Sundays on-the-water head race on Princeton’s Lake Carnegie.
Nothing necessarily “happens” if you win the speed order, but given that a healthy portion of the  athletes attending FSO are either on the National Team, or are highly ranked US athletes, the competition will be strong. Sometimes, if athletes perform very well at FSO, they may receive an invitation from either the Men’s or Women’s National Team coaches to train at the US Training Center. Usually, though, it’s just a great way to test one’s speed against highly ranked US scullers before the winter months settle over us. We’re all certainly looking forward to capping off the fall season with two good results, both on the erg and the water. After FSO, the four PanAm Games Trials athletes will continue preparing for their race at the end of November in Rio.

GRP Scullers Complete NSR I / SSO I, Graves wins

26.Apr.2018 by Jen Forbes

 

As mentioned in the previous post, we spent quite a while in Gainesville, GA preparing for NSR I. We learned a ton by racing each other in singles, and doubles (with the ARION scullers), and overall, the trip was a huge success. Before we left, Lucas’ aunt invited the team over to ride horses at Bearfoot Ranch followed by an incredible BBQ put on by his aunt and the staff at the ranch. We learned that in addition to being a horse rescue ranch, Bearfoot provides equine-assisted activities and therapies for children and adults with special needs, regardless of ability. Thank you for taking us riding, we had an awesome time bonding with the horses! (pictures courtesy of Bearfoot Ranch)

 

 

After a month of focused training at Lake Lanier Olympic Park, the time came for us to pack up and head North for our first racing series of the 2018 season. We made one quick pit stop before our final destination (Princeton, NJ), in Charlottesville, VA to the home of the Hoos for a mini GRP training camp!

Frank, Nate, Lucas, and Wes in the 4x during our Gainesville Training Camp

 

Thanks to UVA’s Frank Biller (Head Coach for the men’s team), we were able to break up our trip from GA to NJ with a few days spent on the Riviana River. UVA Men & Women  shared their house with us, and we are grateful for their generosity. One of the big reminders taken from our visit, was this simple sentence written on the exterior of the boathouse: Entitled to Nothing. Grateful for Everything.” As GRP athletes, we have the privilege of following our pursuit of excellence in the sport of rowing; and, we have the responsibility of leaving every thing we are a part of, better than how we found it. In the words of former GRP coach, Larry Gluckman “practice makes permanent”, we know that in order to achieve greatness in all aspects of life, we need to practice being the best version of ourselves at all times. Doing the right thing, being kind, trustworthy, accountable, on-time, supportive, humble, and hungry are all things we are striving to do every day- things that start away from the water and the gym, and that do not have a stopping point, but that rather facilitate our evolution into better people and athletes.

 

On the water, Steve ran us through a supercomp series in order to help us both recover and prepare our muscles for a week of racing. Off the water, we had three days of transition to help our mental preparedness, as there was an opportunity to run through race course trailer loading, rigging, boat preparation, and visualization one more time before arriving in Princeton.

 

 

Racing ran April 17-19, though, it was originally scheduled to be a four day event, ending on Friday- race officials compressed the schedule due to severe weather conditions. To see a detailed race write up, go to the Craftsbury Outdoor Center news feed.

Frank, Nate, and Jen sporting their new JLRacing swag

We would be remiss if we did not discuss weather conditions in this blog post – which were very challenging given wind and wake; however, the results uncovered the strength of the GRP which is performing in adverse conditions with exceptional focus on the task at hand while simultaneously acknowledging the big picture.

 

Due to extremely difficult and rough water, Nate  flipped in the warmup area. He was having trouble getting out of his shoes and keeping his head above water, a task made harder by the combination of rough & cold wind and water conditions. Luckily, Will Daly (USRowing National Team Athlete Services Coordinator, Olympian and 12-time National Team Lightweight) was operating a USRowing safety launch when he saw Nate go in the water. Will removed his outer layers, and went in to the water to save Nate. Any one of the athletes racing at NSR could have flipped – it could have been any one of us in the water. Will did what he knew was the best decision at the time, and that was to help someone in need. Unfortunately, Nate was not in a good enough condition temperature-wise to accept the re-row that USRowing offered to him; and, as a result, he was no longer in contention to progress in the week’s racing series. We are happy that Nate was unharmed, no amount of thanks could express our gratitude properly to Will- but, thank you all the same.

Photo credit: Andrew Neils

As far as the rest of the GRP’s performance went, John, Wes, and Frank ranked 2nd, 10th and 14th, respectively, in the 1900 meter time trial giving them a pass to the next round, while Lucas (17th) just missed making the top 16 and progressed immediately to the D Final. Jen posted 4th fastest time, and Jenny 11th- both progressed to Wednesday morning heats.

 

All GRPers that raced in Wednesday morning heats advanced to semifinals later in the evening- a schedule compression that race officials felt would give athletes racing in the finals (now set for Thursday instead of Friday) the best possible water conditions, as Friday’s weather forecast looked poor. Jenny’s lightweight heat was postponed for Wednesday evening, and all D+ finals were cancelled due to deteriorating course conditions. As a result, Lucas’ overall result at his first NSR remained 17th.

Photo credit: Andrew Neils

Because of the augmented schedule, GRP prioritized recovery between races. As soon as we came off the water, we either erged or biked for 40 minutes, and ate or drank a snack to help replenish our glycogen stores ASAP. When we got back to our house, we ate a good breakfast and utilized NormaTec Recovery pants to help aid with flushing out residual lactic acid and prepping our legs for the semifinals. We all got about 8 hours between races, the latest race started at 7:26 pm.

 

Conditions for Wednesday evening’s races were markedly calmer. Admittedly, it was one of the most visually stunning races we’ve ever had. Tearing down the course, racing to the finish line before the with   bright red-orange sun disappeared behind the westward trees, competing against five amazing athletes – some Olympians, some world champions, and some (including two of our own) still novice scullers – was a truly unique and fun experience.   Thanks to Julbo Eyewear – our eyes stayed happy for the duration of that gorgeous sunset, as the course runs nearly exactly West to East. Vear took 4th in Semifinal 1, while John and Frank took 2nd and 6th, respectively, in Semifinal 2. Jen took 4th in Semifinal 1, while Jenny took 3rd in her heat.

 

In order to progress to the A Final, GRP needed to be in the top 3, any other result meant racing in the B final. Because of the shift in the lightweight’s schedule, the top 2 finishers in the evening heats would progress to A final, and everyone else to the B final. John progressed to the A final, while Wes, Frank, Jen, and Jenny progressed to the B final Thursday morning.

Wes & Frank on the Rivianna, Photo credit: Andrew Neils

John won the A final with a time of 7:21.41 at 88.6% of the World’s Best Time or “Gold Standard”. Wes placed 3rd in the B final with a time of 7:19.80 at 88.9% GS- taking 9th overall. Frank placed 5th in the B final with a time of 7:27.99 at 87.3% GS- taking 11th overall. Jen  placed 3rd in the B final with a time of 8:03.21 at 88.4% GS – taking 9th overall. Jenny placed 3rd in the B final with a time of  8:29.70 at 87.1% GS- taking 9th overall.

 

We left Mercer feeling good about this first week of racing, but hungry and excited to get back to training.

 

So, whats next for us?!

 

Jen made a speedy U-turn this past Sunday from Craftsbury to the Mid-Atlantic. Just 36-hours after getting home from Princeton, she drove down to Washington, D.C to join in on Potomac Boat Club’s 2xs selection matrix. There, she joins five other women (Margy Bertasi, Maggie Fellows, Mickey Fili, Emily Huelskamp, and Julia Lonchar) for the opportunity to make a 2x that will race at NSR II / SSO II against other top lineups in the country, which will also be a precursor for 4x selettion. NSR I/SSO II runs  May 17-20.

 

From USRowing:

NSR Events: M2-, W2-, LM2x, LW2x, PR3M2-, PR3W2-
Speed Order Events: M2x, W2x, PR2M1x, PR2W1x

 

The rest of the GRP remains in Vermont, for now, and are training on the Lamoille River, thanks to the help of UVM Crew.

Wes and Nate rowing on the Lamoille River, as Great Hosmer is still 14 inches thick with ice!

Stay tuned for more updates!

 

As always, thank you to Craftsbury Outdoor Center & Concept2 for supporting us in the pursuit of our Olympic dreams both at home and on the go; to JLRacing for outfitting our team with high-quality racing and training apparel; Julbo Eyewear, for your generous donation of racing sunglasses; and, to NormaTec Reovery – having recovery tools like yours helps immensely especially when we have same day races!