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Archive for March, 2013

Seasons Changing Down South

29.Mar.2013 by Steve Whelpley

…slowly but surely. While we’re all envious of the whitest March we’ve seen in a while, now that we’re in rowing gear, I think most of us were hoping for 60’s and sunny down here in South Carolina. Instead, we’ve had our bouts with wind and the below:


Ice, ice baby.

Definitely looked at this freezing puddle with mixed emotions. Nonetheless, stuff is going well for all of us. No major injuries, and despite a few uncomfortable discussions about TV usage and dishes left in the seat, we’re all still on speaking terms with each other in our closer, more isolated quarters.

A couple weeks ago Clemson granted us access to one of their three varsity weight rooms. We’re doing our best to be respectful and leave a small footprint, but it’s a facility that merits getting a bit excited. I’ll let the following pictures do some talking and then fill in a few blanks.


Awesome Olympic lift stations.


Bench row.


Squat racks galore.


Dumbbells, free weights, and tigers. Oh my!


Pano view from the indoor turf section of the gym.


Gatorade fountain. Feel free to choose from Fruit Punch, Lemon Lime, Fierce Grape, and more. Oh, you need a boost? Add a pump from the multi-vitamin syrup or grab a Gatorade bar.


Just you’re average Gatorade fridge fully stocked with multiple types of Gatorade Protein Shakes.

So yeah… it’s a pretty solid gym. While we can do a lot of productive work for our rowing without access to a gym, it’s really awesome to have this resource made available to us. Perhaps the new workout room in the new touring center could look something like this with greens and whites in place of purples and oranges. Sweet Rowen in place of Gatorade?

Rowing has been going well and today marked some of the best all day conditions we have ever had. The water was great in the morning save for the serious fishermen that took Friday off, and the wind stayed quiet in the afternoon as well. Good stuff. Dan’s been weaving more and more speed work into our program now, and having completed a race last weekend in Gainesville, GA, I can feel our racing season quickly approaching. I think a post covering the race will be coming up soon.

X-treme Baking

26.Mar.2013 by Emily Dreissigacker

As you may or may not know, one tends to have quite an abundance of free time on training trips. This weekend Becky and I decided to take full advantage of our teammates birthdays’ as an opportunity to waste a little time baking. We did not, however expect it to turn into quite the production that it did. Blame it on too many episodes of cupcake wars or our combined perfectionism but 6 hours, 5 batches of frosting, 2.5 bags of confectioner’s sugar, and an undisclosed amount of butter later we unveiled the finished product, two perfectly frosted cake bricks, complete with GRP rowing themed fondant decorations. What’s a cake brick you might ask? It is a cake that is shaped like a brick. We invented it. Having limited cake pan options in our two rental houses we were forced to improvise somewhat and make one giant sheet cake in a hotel pan and then cut it into 4ths. Two layers might seem like a normal number of layers for a cake to have, but these were not normal layers. Each layer was approximately 2.5” thick, so total cake height was around 5”, yet the cake width was a mere 4.25”. Yes we measured.

About two hours into this undertaking things were moving along smoothly and the end was in sight. That is until John remarked that the leftover cake scraps would make a good boat. As you can imagine things escalated from there and before I knew it I was whipping up a batch of homemade fondant, which I actually don’t know how to make at all. Not to mention the fact that we were missing about half the key ingredients. We ended up with a sugary lump of play-doh that we were able to dye a variety of colors but most importantly empacher yellow for Steve’s boat and green for the GRP cedar leaf logo.

photo-5 photo-6


Music Video from Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club

23.Mar.2013 by Gordon Vermeer

What to do with mid-winter (aka beautiful) skiing conditions at the end of March? Why, make a music video, of course. The Craftsbury Nordic Ski Club presents, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Gangnam”.


Get your skis shined up, grab a stick of juicy fruit!

23.Mar.2013 by Steve Whelpley

Today, I’m 30. This commercial is 29. I don’t know how I feel about that. I also don’t know why Juicy Fruit felt the need to go with the jingle lyric “get your skis shined up,” but I wish I had found it sooner. Another testimonial to my age is senility that had me thinking the lyric was “get geared up,” which, being a catchy jingle, occasionally gets into my head when things are ramping up on either a micro or macro level. In this case, I was prepping to write a post about doing more speed work and race prep pieces.

Just before leaving, Pepa ran us through a VO2 test on the erg. While it wasn’t true for everyone of the GRP rowers, an interesting find was that many of us had substantial anaerobic capacities. Essentially, this means that once our body was moving into an oxygen deficient state and our energy systems were switching over to faster burning sources, we were still able to get a good amount of work done. This was notable to Pepa since many of her skiers at the peak of racing didn’t go this anaerobic and to Coach Roock since we were still out of season and hadn’t gone to a purposefully anaerobic training plan.  Both observations had concrete answers. While there was plenty of benefit and crossover to our nordic skiing throughout the winter, our sport straddles both the aerobic and anaerobic abilities of the body. The pace you need to go in order to race 2000m only keeps you in a strictly aerobic state for a portion of it. Meanwhile, the efforts of skiers is much more aerobically based, and while they have sprint races, they have many races that are much longer than 2k.

As for how we grew so anaerobically trained without explicitly training for it, skiing provides the answer here as well for two reasons.  One, although we grew more and more proficient at nordic skiing, we still do not have the ultimate proficiency and sport specificity to be truly efficient with our efforts. Consequently, what is an easy ski for a GRP skier is more than likely an AT workout for a GRP rower. Additionally, skiing inadvertently added some additional race workouts into our winter, base training. We competed in every Tuesday night race series we could and, as a result, added some intense racing to our “off season” training.

Full circle. The point of this is that despite having decent anaerobic capacities right now going to race pace still hurts. Earlier this week, we did 4 by 4 minutes at pace. Basically, go for four minutes as hard as you can. For men, this is just over half an actual race, and for women, it is about half. We did two from a start and two from a running start. Then, yesterday, we did 9 by 250 meters. Now, 250 meters is nothing, but it’s surprising how long it can feel when you attempt to cover it as quickly as possible. Interesting paradox. The 250 meters were supposed to be at 2000m race pace. Three from a start, three to practice the base or middle of the race, and three to practice the sprint. However, as competition would have it, many of the pieces if not all were done at sub-2k pace. Either way, both workouts served as rude (yet for our breed pleasurable) reminders of what racing is like. Acid build up in the legs, gasping for air, dangers of tensing extraneous muscles, etc.

This Sunday we head to Lake Lanier in Gainesville, GA. It was the site for rowing and flat water sports for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. We’re participating in the Lake Lanier Sprints. They are not of any consequence to us, and to be honest, our group will be the greatest source of competition for each other. Nonetheless, it will be a great forum to practice backing into stake boats, racing in lanes, and growing familiar with the 2000m distance. Some years in the past, I’ve entered the first National Selection Regatta (aka NSRI) without having raced at all. While that’s doable, it is far from preferable or smart. Get geared up.