Despite the dismal winter we’ve had, SuperTour Finals was a resounding success and a fun end to the 2015/16 race season for the GRP skiers. It’s always great to race at home with friends and family lining the course! The groomers did an impressive job farming snow and we were able to race on a hilly and challenging 3.5k loop composed entirely of manmade snow. The weather cooperated, freezing overnight, and the many enthusiastic volunteers made the whole event run incredibly smoothly. Here’s a smattering of photos from the week. You can read, in more detail, about the first two races here (the individual skate and classic sprint) and the second two races here (the relay and the 30/50k classic). Also, you can view results here.
Archive for March, 2016
At Canal 54 the GRP rowers are training hard gearing up for Olympic Trials in a little over 3 weeks. (Everyone except Parker and Andrew who finished up the National Selection Regatta in Chula Vista, CA this week with an 8th place finish in the pair and an invitation to the Princeton Big Boats Selection Camp.)
Here is an assortment of pictures–some old, some not so old…
We move on April 8th to Sarasota where Olympic Trials will be held. Check the COC website for updates on trials racing starting the 18th!
Parker and I left Florida on a very high note after a very solid block of training where we saw good strides both in strength, speed, and boat skill. When we arrived in Florida we began a new training plan design by Dave Gleeson and Larry Gluckman. Though Parker and I were apprehensive about making large changes we have adapted very well to the new plan and have found his sweat-drenching lifting sessions to be particularly beneficial.
The trip to Newport Beach California, while a little circuitous, went smoothly. We woke early last Monday morning (3:00 AM early) and drove Parker’s car to the Orlando airport parking, where we then hopped on a 7:00am flight to Seattle, the flight went smoothly and I did some reading, which was quickly disrupted by a showing of the new Star Wars movie. A first viewing for Parker who enjoyed it very much despite a couple interruptions from a fairly large flight attendant passing out drinks. In Seattle airport we did a quick dash to our terminal with a detour to Runway Burgers, whose prices felt more like runway robbery. We boarded or next flight and flew down to San Diego. From there we took a rental car and made a detour to take a quick look around Lake Otay and the Olympic Training Center. Finally, we entered the home stretch and arrived at the Hogans’ house in Newport Beach.
The Hogans, John and Sue, are great. They have welcomed us into their lovely home, which has been a perfect place for us to rest and also play with their three wonderful dogs: Merry, Henley, and Sammi. Additionally, they have treated us to some delicious home-cooked meals and a seemingly endless supply of hilarious stories. Parker and I rowed with their son JP in college. JP is a bit of a Newport rowing legend; winning Youth Nationals twice in the 8 and giving America its best ever result in the Junior Worlds pair. Interestingly, while at Harvard, JP was my first major instructor in how to row the pair well. I remember morning sessions we spent doing release-to-catch drills finding that calm and confident entry into the water. There is some sort of poetical significance that after helping me get my start in the pair, his family is helping Parker and I achieve our ultimate speed in the same boat class.
The training in California has gone smoothly. We have been assisted by Steve Dani who helped us pick up our shell and allowed us to train out of the Newport Aquatic Center. NAC has a terrific facility and while we initially struggled with the concept of tidal rowing, we have been able to get a lot of value out of both our steady state and more intense pieces.
In addition to training we have also been able to have some fun. We tried a bit of the local fair with Tom Graves as our guide; we hit a section of the beach that the Hogans affectionately called “the warzone,” although we found it to be rather tame; we went to Irvine Spectrum to watch 10 Cloverfield Lane in dazzling IMAX quality (a slight upgrade from the Bijou in Morrisville); and we were able to visit the JL Racing factory store and do some modeling as well as help make one of this year’s racing unisuits.
Leading up to the NSR next week we feel proud and confident in our speed and the work we have done. It can be difficult training in isolation, but the downside training separately has been mitigated by the awesome work we have done with our teammates. Back in Fellsmere we trained against Erik and Hugh, and on our last hard day we did some 2ks versus Willy and Steve, which really elevated our performance. Here in Newport Harbor we did competitive pieces with Tom. We know our speed, now its time to execute and find out the speed of the competition.
We arrived in Toblach, Italy last Monday to some of the first full-winter I’ve seen all season. It was dumping snow on the drive in and we had already had some reports from Emily, who was in nearby Antholz training for IBU Cups in biathlon, that the skiing was epic. We saw the two foot high snowbanks, but it wasn’t until the next day that we got to play in the winter wonderland.
Toblach (also known by its Italian name Dobbiaco) is nestled in the northern Dolomites right on the Austrian-Italian border. Known for their sharp protruding peaks, the Dolomites fit into a postcard perfect view of ski vacations in Europe, and with the new snow we were in skier heaven! Add to that all the pizza, pasta, prosciutto, and gelato we could stomach, and we were definitely living the dolce vita.
However, we were there to race, and although we got the trails to ourselves for the first few days eventually the European teams started trickling in. The trails in Toblach definitely get a lot of use- first and foremost for World Cups and also as a perennial stop on the Tour de Ski. Although the Tour didn’t use this section in 2016, the pursuit start from Cortina d’Ampezzo to Toblach up and over the mountain pass has got to be one of the more unique World Cup stage events.
Anyways, back to our races! The last weekend of OPA Cups is run as a mini-tour, meaning that all the times from all the events are added together for an overall tour standing at the end of the weekend. The first race of the weekend was a 2.5k skate prologue, which is a strange in between distance that we rarely race but can be either fun or disastrous, depending on pacing. I’m sure the rowers could give us some tips on that one. The next day we raced a 10k classic individual, and then the following day a 10k skate pursuit, where our start order was based off our time back from the previous two races combined. In that format, whoever crosses the line first wins the overall tour.
Overall, the Americans held their own in the mini-tour, especially in the junior women’s field where Julia Kern powered her way to 2nd overall in the tour. The junior men were also strong, and the senior women, including Heather and I, had some solid results and some that left a little to be desired, but still ended up in the top 30. To see a write-up of results and link to FIS, check out our news section here.
We tried to get our fill of winter because it sounds like the East is ready to move on to spring. We still have 4 more races in the season and Craftsbury is determined to pull them off. Stay tuned for updates from SuperTour Finals, where we’ll have the entire team back together after World Cups and OPA Cups and we’ll be looking to end the season on a high note!