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Archive for March, 2018

GRP ROW- 2018 Season Update (Part 2)

29.Mar.2018 by Jen Forbes

This entry is a continuation of a previous post: catch up here 

 GRP ROW- 2018 Season Update (Part 1 of 2) 




GRP rowers took to the water this February for the first time since November during our first training camp of the year in DeLand, FL. Three women from three elite sculling programs across the US joined us for the fun: Mickey Fili, Potomac Boat Club; Maggie Fellows, SoCal Scullers; and Julia Lonchar, Vesper Boat Club. Additionally, the GRP welcomed a new and now 6th member to the squad – Frank Horpel –  a 6’6″ former swimmer turned rower, a basketball fanatic, and a self-proclaimed good-guy. (We can confirm!)

Our guests, and we, got a few opportunities to line up against – and boat up with – the guys and gals from the Saratoga-based rowing club, ARION (Advanced Rowing Initiative of the Northeast).


The GRP + friends arrived in De Land safe and sound. Time to rig the boats!


On Valentine’s Day, we had a heart-throbbing grip & rip water session, followed by an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at The Old Spanish Sugar Mill Grill: a 57-year-old griddle house nestled in the De Leon State Park among an eerie, yet etherial forest of southern live oaks and cypress trees draped elegantly with Spanish Moss.


Spanish Moss covers many tree species in the south. Here’s a photo Steve took of a southern live oak at the De Leon Nature center



The rectangular tables at which we sat had long electric griddles in their center – allowing each hungry athlete to pour and flip their own pancakes – right into their mouths if they wanted. The GRP  are big supporters of the farm-to-table movement, but griddle-to-mouth is no less enticing a concept to us. Slamming sugary stacks of pancakes was a great opportunity to bond with each other after beating each other up on that water.





Our rows on Lake Beresford, and the connecting St. Johns River, were just as beautiful as they were productive. Co-mingled red mangroves, palm trees, and ancient cypress trees stood confidently with roots supporting stretches of the ever-changing shoreline. At water’s edge, lily pads and water hyacinths lolled and bounced in the wake from our 1000-meter race pieces; while during a water break, we could spot: Bald Eagles, Snowy egrets, Great blue herons, alligators, and Gopher tortoises perching, grazing, hunting or sunbathing on their respective domiciles. On a few rare occasions, a West Indian Manatee floated his snout to the surface, and after a few rounds of respiration, resubmerged with the quiescence of an Olympic diver.



Beautiful day to row with some extra coaches keeping watch over our technique.

Lining up for steady state in the fog. We had excellent conditions this morning, made more safe by the presence of Steve to watch for on coming boat traffic.

GRP preparing to launch for a foggy AM row on Lake Beresford.

The final act of our trip included the first annual Head of a Manatee – a 7 kilometer race requiring a combination of speed, power, strategy and finesse in order to survive – just like our Manatee brethren. Each boat class (LW 1x, W2x, LM 1x, M1x, and M2x) was given a rope with a set number of halved tennis balls, washers, and bolts in order to add a considerable amount of drag. HOAM racers deployed their drag buoys stern side just before the start of the race. The added drag and rate cap forced racers to emphasize power-per-stroke, and even power application throughout the piece. Without such control and finesse, buoys would sink, making the load much more difficult to mana-ge.





Conditions for the race were favorable. By happenstance, Steve found a stony Manatee statue positioned on a Lake Beresford homeowner’s waterfront property. We used the manatee as our starting line and the rest of the 7k race was history.



Coach Hap feeling proud of his Head of a Manatee starting line find.


GRP lines up for the 1st Annual Head of a Manatee Regatta


For our first practice back in Craftsbury, the team enjoyed a spring-like ski in the middle of February. With short sleeves and minimal layers, we did laps of Sam’s and Ruthie’s through valleys of fog, and patches of stark temperature variations.



(Left to right) Jen, Jenny, Lucas, and Wes before team ski in a February thaw.



For the remainder of February, and the beginning of March, we continued working on  surpassing personal records on benchmark erg pieces, weight room goals, and got a few opportunities to share our rowing experiences with local high school and middle school students.


An English teacher at Craftsbury Academy assigned Daniel James Brown’s biography “Boys in the Boat” to her students; and,  knowing that there were rowers within the community, asked our group if we would be okay with coming to speak with the students about the sport, and to answer any questions they might have about rowing, and the lifestyle that comes with it.


Some of the questions Craftsbury Academy high school students had for the GRP. Thanks for hosting us!


A few days later, we and a couple ergs, made a trip to the Bailey Hazen Wellness fair. We talked to the kids about opportunities available to them at the Outdoor Center as well as within their own community of Hardwick. Frank, Jen, and Lucas offered rowing technique tutorials, and before long we hand to fight the crowds away with a cedar leaf, because so many kids wanted to join in on the 100 meter relays we had going! We had a great time hanging with the kids, and hope some of them can make it out this summer for some sculling lessons.


Jen watches two Hazen high school students race each other for 100 meters. Let’s get em in the boat!

Lucas (left) and Frank (right) coach a Hazen student on how to properly go through the rowing stroke on the Concept2 Ergs.



For the next couple of weeks, we continued getting miles on the erg, bike, and snow – beefing up our lifting and had the opportunity to volunteer for the  Ski Orienteering World Cup and World Master’s Championship.

One of our fearless leaders – Judy Geer –  said in an October 2017 press release that, “Craftsbury has a long history of ski orienteering. In the last 9 years, Craftsbury athletes have competed in Junior, Master, and Senior World Championship, and before that the COC has held U.S. Ski Orienteering Championship Events since the 1980s. This week of competitions is one way to say thank you to all the people, organizations, and countries that have hosted ski orienteering events before us.”



It was interesting learning about the intricacies of Ski Orienteering – and most notably, the high level of strategy and skill required to not only be able to ski fast, but also be capable of navagating ones self as quickly, calmly and efficiently as possible from one control to the next. In the short period of time that the ski orienteers were at the COC, we rowers got to learn about about the sport; and, as a result, have an incredible level of respect for the athletes that take on this challenge. A few of us were intrigued by the complexities of the sport; and, will very likely give ski orienteering a try, come next winter. But first…time to get the sea legs back.



Craftsbury at dusk during one of the last skis we had before departing to Gainesville, GA.


The team is currently in Gainesville, Georgia training at Lake Lanier Olympic Park – the location of the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympic Games.


Be sure to check back for updates over the next few weeks as we prepare for NSR I!!


As always, thank you to our incredible sponsors Craftsbury Outdoor Center, Concept2, JL Racing, and Julbo Eyewear for all of your support!


Winter Olympics Recap

7.Mar.2018 by Nathan Lado

We are proud to report that the Green Racing Project had six current or affiliated athletes who raced at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. Susan Dunklee, Emily Dreissigacker, and Clare Egan competed in Biathlon. Caitlin Patterson, Ida Sargent, and Kaitlyn Miller represented Team USA in skiing.


As members of the GRP we were extremely excited to see our teammates compete in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games. Seeing so many GRP skiers and biathletes competing during the games was rewarding on two levels, the personal as well as validating the approach the Green Racing Project takes towards athletic and personal development. As rowers, our training is usually separate from the skiers and biathletes, but we see how hard our ski and biathlon teammates work towards their goals and it is great to watch them succeed. The fact that so many current and former GRP athletes have been successful on the national and international stage reinforces the idea that development of the athlete and development of the person go hand in hand. Watching the GRP Olympians is a perfect reminder to build our athletic selves such that our focus and determination is built up by how we live within our community. This lesson is well timed as we are heading into our last training block before the start of spring racing.


With that in mind, below is a summary of the racing as well as backgrounds on each of the athletes who went.  

Susan Dunklee is a Barton, Vermont native who did much of her early skiing at the Craftsbury Outdoors Center. She attended Dartmouth College and graduated with a degree in Ecology in 2008. Although she has been skiing since she was two, she learned to shoot later in life at age  22 for a biathlon development program. Susan has competed in five World Championships between 2012 and 2017, the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and recently at the 2018 Open European Championships. In the 2017 World Championships she placed 6th in the 15km individual race and 2nd in the mass start event.  This 2nd place in the mass start earned her a Olympic spot and made her the first American Woman to make the 2018 Olympic Team. In her first Olympic event, the 7.5k sprint Susan finished 66th with 5 misses. In the 15k individual she was the top U.S. finisher, placing 19th with two misses over four stages. Her final two events were relays. In the mixed relay Susan was the first leg of the US team. She used two spares in prone and shot clean standing. She finished her leg in 5th and the team finished in 15th. Susan scrambled in the 4x6k and finished her leg in 2nd, cleaning in prone and using one spare when standing. The team ended up in 13th.

Emily Dreissigacker is from Morrisville, Vermont and learned to ski at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. She raced as a skier during high school but decided to row for Dartmouth College, graduating with a degree in Economics in 2011. During her summers in college, she competed as a rower for Craftsbury’s U23 program and then as a member of the GRP. Due to an injury to a tendon in her hand , she decided to make the switch to biathlon. Emily has had a great 2017/2018 season, including placing 5th and shooting clean at the IBU-Cup in Arber, Germany which earned her a spot on the 2018 Olympic Team.  In the 7.5k sprint Emily finished 51st with one miss. This qualified her for the 10k pursuit two days later in which Emily finished 47th, shooting 80% over 4 stages. In the 15k individual Emily placed 67th with 4 misses. She also was the anchor leg of the 4x6k relay, crossing the line in 13th.


Clare Egan began her skiing career in her hometown of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. She started skiing in middle school and was a two-time member of the New England Junior National Team. She attended Wellesley College where she created the ski team and competed as both a skier and runner. After graduating in 2011 from a masters program in linguistics at the University of New Hampshire she joined the Green Racing Project. Clare finished twice in the top-10 in American Birkebeiner 50k and had eight top-6 finishes in the Supertour. After trying Biathlon in 2013, she made the switch and now mainly trains out of Lake Placid with the US Biathlon Team. Clare placed 35th in the Biathlon Spring at the 2017 World Championships. She has represented the US at three World Championships and has been competing for the United States on the 2017/18 World Cup Circuit. She earned her Olympic spot after good performances on the IBU circuit. In the 7.5k pursuit Clare was 61st with 3 misses, barely missing out on the pursuit. In her second race, the 15k individual, Clare placed 62nd with 4 misses.  In the 4x6k, Clare was the second leg, starting in second. She cleaned without using spares in both her prone and standing stages held onto fourth place.


Ida Sargent is from the town of Barton, Vermont and has been skiing at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center from an early age. Ida went to Dartmouth College and was captain of the Nordic Team, graduating in 2012. Even before she was done with college, Ida was a member of the Green Racing Project, training and competing in 2009 in preparation for the 2010 U23 World Championships. She joined the US Ski Team in 2011 and competed in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics as well as the 2011, 2013, 2015, and 2017 World Championships. At the 2014 Olympic Games Ida placed 19th in the freestyle sprint and 32nd in the 10k classic individual. In the run up to the 2018 Olympics she placed 6th in the freestyle sprint at the world cup in Davos. Pre-Olympics she was ranked 17th in the World Cup sprint rankings, meeting the top 50 criteria for Olympic qualification laid out by the US Ski Team.  During the 2018 Olympics Ida was competing on a still healing, surgically repaired thumb from a January crash. She competed in the classic sprint and placed 33rd in the sprint qualifier, narrowly missing the top 30 cutoff.


Kaitlynn Miller is from Elmore, Vermont and grew up spending time in the woods around Elmore as well as skiing for the Craftsbury Nordic Center. Kaitlynn went to Bowdoin College where she skied and studied Biology and Environmental Studies. After graduating in 2014, Kaitlynn joined the Green Racing Project and has raced internationally including at the World Cup Finals in 2017. In the 2017/18 season, Kaitlynn placed 2nd in the classic sprint, 2nd in the freestyle sprint, and 3rd the 20k classic at U.S. National Cross Country Ski Championships and first in the 1.4km sprint at the Super Tour in Craftsbury.  She earned her spot on the Olympic team by the 3rd place finish in the 20k.


Caitlin Patterson grew up in Idaho where she was introduced to skiing. She spent high school in Anchorage where she started racing more competitively. She attended the University of  Vermont at which she skied and studied Civil Engineering, graduating in 2012. She joined the Green Racing Project shortly thereafter and has enjoyed success, winning events at the U.S. Senior National Championships and the overall during the 2016 Supertour. Caitlin has had a great start to the 2017/18 season, sweeping all four races offered at the U.S. National Cross Country Ski Championships, the Women’s Classic Sprint, and the 20k classic mass start, 10k freestyle, and freestyle sprint.  This great performance earned her a Olympic spot. Caitlin’s first Olympic race was the skiathlon which is 7.5k of classic skiing followed by a transition and 7.5k of freestyle skiing. She finished the classic portion in 36th and improved on that in the freestyle to 34th. Her second race was the 30k mass start in which Caitlin finished 26th.


GRP ROW- 2018 Season Update (Part 1)

5.Mar.2018 by Jen Forbes