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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!