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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.

New Zealand 2.0

28.Sep.2018 by Kaitlynn Miller

This is the GRP’s second year in a row making the trek down-under for a late summer, on-snow training camp. While last year’s camp seemed hard to beat, this year’s camp was up for the task. The camp was roughly broken into four segments with a three day dryland training stint in town, a largely technique focused period on snow, a short racing period, and last but not least, a volume block. The primary goals of the camp were to transfer summer technique changes to snow and to get in some quality intensity workouts to solidify those changes. The hope is to make our second transition to snow in the fall much smoother allowing us to maximize our potential at early season races.

After nearly 30 hours of travel we walked off the plane in Queenstown and, despite some pretty extreme fatigue and jet lag, it was hard not to feel happy and excited when greeted by towering peaks and crisp mountain air. And John Alexander, a former professional rower who we met through a Craftsbury rowing camp coach, made our lives much easier by generously offering to transport our ski bags to our rental house in Wanaka. While living in town, we focused on recovering from travel and getting in some short intensity before moving up to altitude at the Snow Farm. We also threw in some adventure running, because who could resist?!

Lake Wanaka

Mountainous views from our first adventure run

View from the gym. Ski camp or tropical vacation?!

Spring in NZ = cherry blossoms (had to sneak a flower photo in here somewhere)

While we enjoyed life in town, we were all pretty excited to move up into winter at the Snow Farm. For our first week on snow we focused on making a good transition from rollerskis to skis. This meant a lot of time spent doing video review and focusing on some element of technique for each workout. While many of us were tempted to just go ski our brains out, it was important to not overdue it too early in the camp. The goal was to maintain good energy so that we could ski well and instill the right technical habits. We were lucky to overlap at the Snow Farm with Stratton and the US Ski Team so we were able to combine some workouts and train with each other.

While sometimes it’s necessary to ski on your own to focus on a personal technique change or reach a personal workout goal, there are also benefits to skiing with others. Different people have different strengths and we can learn a lot from each other.

Pepa, with her trusty iPad, keeping a close watch on us

And pricking our fingers to test lactate mid-interval workout

Corey skiing some Merino Glen switchbacks

Liz with the Snow Farm Lodge in the background

Skiers or ants?

Next up was the racing block! Racing opportunities included the famous Merino Muster as well as the New Zealand Winter Games.  These races provided a good opportunity to get in some low pressure racing and work on maintaining our technique, and newly acquired good habits, at high speed. To meet personal training goals not everyone raced every event, but competition was stiff with racers from Stratton, the US Ski Team, and the Japanese National Team toeing the line. You can read the full race reports here:

Merino Muster | NZ Winter Games

Adam (fourth skier from the left) racing the Merino Muster. Is he being caught by a pack of tutu-clad women, or did he just pass them? He placed second overall so that gives you a clue.

Ida (second skier from the right) racing in the NZ Winter Games skate sprint final

Another shot of the women’s final with the Snow Farm’s UFO towering above the skiers

Ben (third from the left) racing in the men’s sprint final

Adam and Ben (front left) in the lead pack of the men’s 15k classic mass start event

Both Adam and Ben landed themselves on the podium in second and third respectively. Apparently blue mirrored lenses were the choice of the day and directly correlated to podium finishes…

And Caitlin and Ida added to the GRP podium crew placing second and third, respectively, in the women’s 10k classic event

A big thanks to Nick for his tireless wax support, not just during the races, but throughout the whole camp

With the races behind us we turned our focus to volume, but not before a day off to recover.

Lakeside relaxing in Queenstown. We also ate some ice cream, did some chocolate shopping, and wandered through the nearby park.

We encountered a real life Merino Muster while driving back up to the Snow Farm. So many sheepies!!

We spent the last portion of the camp focusing on volume which, of course, included some crust cruising as well as some night skis. We were blessed with significantly more sun and snow than last year which meant a greater number of open trails and much tanner faces, complete with raccoon eyes. The incredible weather made the training extra enjoyable. While poor conditions can certainly be good training for mental toughness and adaptability, we do love skiing in the sun, especially when surrounded by jaw-dropping scenery.

Views in every direction

Cruising that crust!

And soaking up the sun!

A behind-the-scenes shot of getting the perfect selfie. In addition to being a great training opportunity, the trip to NZ also gives us the opportunity to rock our awesome new Skida headwear!

The geology surrounding the Snow Farm is quite unique

Zen Ben

It was a Classic Toko Glove kind of day

Summit selfie on Mount Pisa!!

The whole GRP Ski crew (minus Ida who was on a plane)

And that’s all for now! Thanks to Nick and Pepa for all their help, guidance, and logistical management throughout the camp. And thanks to the Snow Farm for the comfy accommodations, gracious hospitality, stellar grooming, and tasty food! Also, thanks to Steve, the Snow Farm manager, for bringing our ski bags to the airport! And last, but certainly not least, a big thank you to Concept 2 and the Craftsbury Outdoor Center for the support that made this camp possible.

Photo credit: Caitlin, Nick, Pepa, Corey, and Kait

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!