Thursday, November 18, 2010

Billy Webb Regatta

Terrific photos taken by Rob Bristow on Row2k of the race : here

And here is a link to a tv3 sport news story that went to air following racing : here

The race was hosted by Rob Hamill. He has a very special story and is making a film that I would recommend you review:

www.brothernumberone.co.nz
www.robhamill.com

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

NEW ZEALAND - Strongly familiar, but slightly off

I guess from landing and hearing English at the airport, summer in November, seeing cars drive on the left, rugby commentary and netball courts, the country felt like South Africa. I felt a familiarity here easy to connect with.

The task at hand was the Rowing Championships and flags all around town noted the presence of this event. The tv channel is dedicated to showing and talking about rowing all day. And suddenly our sport takes a spotlight like ESPN basketball, baseball or football. However every now and again, there is an off beat, where you become aware that this is a difference place and not exactly as you know. Perhaps in the little cars, or the slight word with that kiwi accent. And this brought to light how I felt our semi-final go down. There was a feeling that we were rowing, but something was off. And Abby and I didn't quite connect and set in a rhythm that we needed. To not make that A final was crushing. I woke up this morning, feeling like a funeral. Feeling like my best friend had died. Hearing the interview with the New Zealanders at the course today talking about their victory over us was hard. But as I know all to well, it could be the flip side and to win means also accepting this defeat. We have a B final tomorrow to stand up to, and then a smashing quad race on Saturday that is still a privileged to row for and row with these strong USA rowers.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

USRowing Gear

We got our box of USRowing gear after the final 2 at trials. As I unpacked the tights, long sleeve, tracksuits, jackets, I felt a sudden rush seeing the USRowing logo, and the red, white and blue color scheme. I felt a part of a team, and process and a dream. We are looking good!

There are some team and supporter sites for more gear, if interested:

Athlete store: http://teamusa2010.boathousegear.com/
Spectator store: http://usasupporters.boathousegear.com/

Then some more support shirts designed by Anna Goodale look like this: 

Kinda cool.

Found GT Dave's Kombucha

Today we stopped at Fred Meyer to use the Chase bank, and instead of our usual Trader Joe's stop, we just thought we would pick up a few things here. Getting our leaves and banana's, I stopped by the fridges to get coconut milk. And there is was, on the shelf, my beloved multi-green flavour!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Racing at Trials

The thing that really struck me from Jet Li's movie, Fearless was when he talked about competition. His challenger came to drink tea and asked why compete. There they were, the two of them drinking tea, calm and relaxed, when over the next days they would be fighting in an arena, to death!

Well Jet Li's answer to why he competes is something I take to heart. He said that only in competition do we get the opportunity to bring out the best of ourselves. I remember something Nicole Sylvester once said. Something about how training, and rowing and competing defines our character. The things is, when I put myself on the line, it generates so much awareness. I feel so fortunate to have this awareness about myself. With changing to paleo, that brought about an extreme awareness of lifestyle. With studying graphic design, it makes you look at every sign, trying to identify the font and leading. And now with rowing, to be so aware of your body and mind connection.

Trials went sort of to plan, with one thing gained and another lost. A loss to Julie Nichols and a crab with 700m to go in the quad.

My Final-2 was in tail, and I didn't move the boat with the momentum needed for those conditions and for this competitor. I took a short lead in the first 500m, but Julie pushed back. I felt her even with me, and then I felt her push off me, and this day, couldn't catch her. Feeling a little despaired, my Bellingham Bandit team mates waited for me at the dock. I did feel like I had let them down. However, no time for that because in 20min we had a race. We lined up next to the strong-orange Hudson LW quad. Captain Kristin speaking for us counted off the start strokes. All going down the course, gripping oars for death in the rough water. Suddenly, there is Kristin's port oar right next to me. I looked over and thought, this is not possible. Kristin yelling, keep rowing. A clashing of oars, and I'm still thinking, how do I knock that oar back to her. Can I row with three oars? Kristin surged forward and suddenly we were off. In this crabbing session, I saw the other boat feel the sudden adrenalin of trying to take lead advantage of our misfortune. But within 10 strokes, we were out front again, and crossed the line first to send that quad to New Zealand!

Row2k news

LW1x - 2010 USRowing National Team Trials - Final 2

Monday, September 27, 2010

Casper Rekers (Inventor of the Rowperfect and RP3)

This is how I remember Cas when I met him at the Holland Beker earlier this year. I made the drive out to Hardenberg where he lived with his wife Wily. The house was inventor-like meaning function and form beautiful. Cas and I worked on the RP3 and I got to see the great inventor at work. Wily graced us with playing the piano and was recovering well.

I got to row on Cas's own personal RP3 and he said big brother is watching. Cas and Wily also took me to their club and showed me their beautiful wooden boats made by Carl Douglas.

Wily and Cas laughed with me as they played some old records. We sat outside and drank tea and talked about various topics. To have had this opportunity to spend this time with Cas now holds even more precious. Finding out today that he died while rowing at his club was really heart-breaking. Carlos who spent many hours with Cas, in person, on the phone, on skype and through email has taken this news to heart and yet remains even more motivated to encourage the use of Rowperfects. After calling Frans Gobel, who encouraged me to keep focused on my my week of racing and with Carlos and Bandits team-mates racing continues here at Mercer Lake, NJ, and I remain calm and positive.

I look back to my first rowing lesson with Carlos, where he put me on the Rowperfect, and this is how we built my dream to be more achievable. With the Rowperfect I was able to learn the rowing stroke quicker. I was able to catch up to other rowers who had been rowing since they were 14! I could isolate and understand better all the aspects of timing, catch, acceleration, applying leg power, drive and finish. Yes we win on the water and not the erg, but certain aspects of rowing, like rigging, boat balance, weather and wind make it hard to learn the good boat feelings and understand the technical aspects needed to win.

I thanked Cas for changing my life, and now he is with me on every race, and every RP3 session.

Here are some links for Cas
His rowing club
Carl Douglas
NL Roei
Cas Rekers's page on facebook!

www.rowperfect3.com

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Gift of Traveling

I have just gone through my parent's photos of a world tour to the modern seven day wonders they won. Their photos were so spontaneous, it made me smile and feel as if I was taking them. Traveling is such a gift. I remember driving by the Johannesburg airport and getting chills just because of the hope that one day a plane would take me somewhere new, to experience exciting things. Now as a national team athlete, traveling is something that needs to be managed. Almost how little damage it can do to your performance, instead of something to look forward to, it has a mindset of a necessary evil. And sometimes, you go to these places and you are like a CEO, except instead of boardroom to hotel, its rowing course to hotel for us. We are about to embark on a fantastic journey to New Zealand. And I'm excited for the opportunity to race. And then to experience tourism. On a conceptual level, it reminds me to keep that beginner, intriguing and wondering mindset. That its not just another day. That this day there is new opportunities and new things to learn and experience and feel, in training and traveling.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Missing Kombucha

I'm hoping to see GT Dave's Kombucha bottles back on the shelves soon. It was always a highlight point when going to the Co-op or Whole Foods and picking out which flavour I felt like today. Guava goddess and the multi-green are my favourites. Guava, just because that fruit is so South African! This little fun bubbly bottle is so beautifully designed in packaging that I'm holding on to my bottle using it as a regular water bottle. The contents always made me feel like I was cleaning out my body. A real refreshing something special. GT Dave updates his status on facebook, so check it out.

I guess the story for the recall was that  actress, singer and model, Lindsay Lohan was photographed holding a bottle of Synergy Kombucha, and then her alcohol bracelet went off. There are small trace amounts of alcohol caused through the fermenting process of the live tea cultures and the longer the bottle sits, the amount that the alcohol increases is unknown. Whole Foods is the major player here, that pulled the bottles off their shelves. A briefing on the story here >.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Shopping at Safeway - Reading Labels

I went shopping at Safeway last Sunday and felt exhausted at the end of the trip. Not being the usual place I shop, I really had to take my time and read all the labels. I just don't understand why there needs to be soy in tuna cans? The other ingredient I saw popping in alot of the almond milks and coconut milks is carrageenan. I see its a seaweed extract. But I have asked Nell Stephenson to check into this. She said she has emailed Dr. Loren Cordain himself. So I'm waiting for the answer. I really like shopping at Trader Joes and the Co-ops. Whole Foods and PCC are great too, but clear out the account quick.
With food labels, here are two easy rules for you to remember:

  1. If you can't pronounce it, don't buy it
  2. If it has more than 5 ingredients, its way too processed and I would leave it on the shelf.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

What Paleo means to me

When I started Paleo, it was a hard transition. Only through the help of Nell Stephenson did I manage to make the change in mindset. She asked me to read the book, The Paleo Diet Athletes. I was a little overwhelmed by it. Not quiet understanding what I was reading. Nell did a kitchen clean out, and shocked me with what she threw out. Then I remember buying the food on the list she gave me, and with a kitchen full, I still had no idea what to eat. I always have a sandwich for lunch. Now I can't eat bread, so what do I eat. It took me a while to figure out I just eat the things inside without the grain outside. It was so complicated in the beginning. I always have cereal and milk for breakfast, and now neither will do. So what do I do? And changing the habit of buying food was another onslaught. I would view a food buying experience as once a month thing. Now with all the fresh produce Nell had on my list, I had to go once a week at least. This seemed like hard work.

I remember driving to training one day, pondering this paradigm shift and feeling like a horse with flappers on all these years. Suddenly I saw blue sky for the first time. I started to understand what Nell was trying to tell me when she said eat real food. I realised how much marketing had lied to me. How in my degree of design, packaging made me buy foods that I thought was good for me. Later on the readings of Michael Pollen were so pertinent here, when he said the more the box says this is good for you, the more its not. While the real good things for you, he writes, sit quietly on the produce shelves with no packaging at all.

Another big turning point came when I watched the film, King Corn, learning about how vicious corporate America is. And that I have to step up on what I'm buying and eating. That these food scientists and magazines that tell me what diet and things to eat, they don't have a clue!

I deepened my journey with the book by Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A year of food life. Although this was not strictly Paleo, it taught me that only in food consumerism can we really make a difference. If we keep buying meat from feedlots, they will never change. If we keep buying banana's that have traveled more than most families ever do on vacation, we will never encourage local farmer's markets, or even better, growing our own little vegetable garden.

Now after almost three years of Paleo jounrey, I have learnt and felt the following:
  1. It is so simple to do, that it looks complicated, because we can't wrap our minds around it. For example, dessert can be just a few grapes. But our tv tells us dessert needs to be some baked thing topped with ice-cream or custard.
  2. Paleo is not a diet. It is not the new Atkins, or South Beach. It is not new research where wine at dinner is now good for you, tomorrow new science research says its not. Paleo is founded from our caveman days. What we were meant to eat. Yet the science is there supporting this is what our bodies need. Nothing processed.
  3. Our western diet all went haywire the day breakfast cereals came to the table. Before the 'convenience' of this boxed food, we were cooking real food that looked like food.
  4. Eating is supposed to be shared, enjoyed and a very social thing. I always felt irritated that I had to eat and sleep. Now I have come to prize these very two things!
  5. Changing to Paleo does you good, and does the earth good. Its such a great way to just be a better person. You run clean, and you turn the earth back to green.
The reason's for eating Paleo will become worth while to you when you start feeling it on your body. Its shockingly wonderful and uplifting, and the best gift you can ever give yourself.

My mentors are: Nell Stephenson, Robb Wolf and Pedro Bastos. These are fantastic people to research and follow. I love the books of Michael Pollen too, and suggest you watch this video.

Robb has a great podcast I suggest you follow and he just released a new book. All on his site.

Other resources:
Official Paleo Diet website with Dr Loren Cordain who started the it all.
Paleo Life (research from Pedro Bastos)
Great Recipes (from Nikki Young in Australia)

Friday, July 9, 2010

In South Africa

Being home again is a wonderful familiar. There is so much density here. So much stuff going on. In this small country, just bigger than the state of Texas, it bursts with so many species; plants, animals and people. I was able to attend the quarter final game in Johannesburg. The stadium was amazingly shinny. The vuvuzela (trumpet like things) resounded everywhere. So much fun was the walk to the gates, with the smell of the food, the chicken in the weber braai's and the borewors, with white pap (maize) and tomato sauce filling the cold air.
The streets are filled with flags, and cars drive past with flags flying like antennas attached to their sides. I think seeing the SA Flag everywhere, creates a sense of pride and belonging like I have come to experience amongst the American people. When I first arrived in Seattle, it was strange for me to see the USA flag flown outside so many houses. But now I understand and feel what that does. Seeing the flag of your country repeatedly, is like a constant check-in reminder of feeling belonging, then pride and hopefully turning into contribution.

My time here in South Africa is almost up, and I feel mixed emotions. Hard to return and hard to stay. Perhaps like the scene from the old film "My stepmother's an alien"...
But the challenge for the World Champs in New Zealand is the focus. And although my family and past lies here in Pretoria, now called Tshwane, something momentous awaits in Seattle. And I'm excited to ride that wave.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Racing at the Holland Beker

Well where do I start:
This was another great learning experience. Just like at NSR 1 when I raced putting myself in a higher pressure point. The final result was not as I like it. But the journey is intensified and has more purpose when results like this happen. In this journey, I can say, in the heat I beat Knapkova, who made three push attempts to pass me. I can say I beat the famous and esteemed Karsten, while rowing the most efficiently I ever have. I can say I made the A final in a field of women who have raced Olympic level many times, and I was there in the first 500m, and I was there in the 1000m. From then onwards the wind blocked me, and pushed me back. What what a fight and if I was there once, I can again!
Results >

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Koninklijke-Holland Beker

Well, I AMSTERDAM reads loudly in my experience here, so far. I like the dutch. They are busy, active people, riding strange bikes, all over the place; all over the streets, like the Spanish with their vespers. Small roads with more bike lanes than car lanes, and water, water everywhere. Cafes and coffee riddle the street corners like Starbucks in Seattle. And english spoken by all -in some form. My afrikaans language helping me with the dutch translations, now and again. The orange bleeds here from the houses in little flags of football. The craze continues and supporters and bars are filled. In the midst of all of this, I'm driving a green station wagon to the Bosbaan, where I will race on Saturday and Sunday. A little 'miggie', an afrikaans word for a mayfly, among the moths. Looks like heats for the W1x, Ladies Trophy event starts on Saturday at 11am. Semi's on Sunday at 11am, and finals at 3:40pm, same day.

I am staying at the house of the famous Emperor of the Amstel, Frans Gรถbel. Yesterday we went on a bike tour of Amsterdam. It was great fun, but crazy. Construction everywhere though, so the famous museums where under repair. Then I took the 2-hour drive to see the other famous dutch man here, the inventor of the Rowperfect Cas Rekers. That was an amazing time.

I'm also thankful to Robbrecht who has been helping me with the boat rigging and to Rob Heeres from Heeres Boat Service boat rentals for my fantastic S4 Croker blades, just right. No more Bled oar last minute swap outs. I've been trying to think of a name for this Filippi with carbon riger and black stripe down the deck and red on the sides. Made me think of a deck of cards. La Reina,  or Queen of Spades, or maybe just Viper?

The website race here >

Thursday, June 17, 2010

vuvuzela craziness


so the soccer is off and south africa is rocking with the sounds of a trumpet like thing called a vuvuzela. it makes a hell of a noise, and i'm told soccer fans are complaining because you can hear nothing else. i'll be there after june 28th, and i can't wait to catch the vibe and see home again. it has been a while.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Watch the Race on Universal Sports!

Watch the race here >

... with American commentators instead of the British commentators!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Home with the hardware

When you think of Bled, the word wellness follows closely. The beauty of the undisturbed town holds its breath as I did before the light changed from red to green at the start.

The racing started on Friday with heats. We were in a good heat, heat 3. But we had the Greeks and were worried about them. With a fast start they went ahead, but we worked on the middle 1000m, and moved ahead sending the rest to the reps. That afternoon, Abby and I watched the reps and Abby enjoyed watching the reps for a change.


Saturday the semi's dawned. The weather was changing and lightening and thunder threatened us as we were putting hands on. But nothing was canceled and on to the warmup we went. The semi was technically our best row. With our newly painted oars, Croker S4's we moved ahead, again with Greek and GB in our race. Our semi was like a final. We would meet these top boats again on Sunday.

The finals were moved earlier for wind was predicted later that day. I took a few deep breaths and waited for the light change, once again. With all the push I had, I wanted that first 500m. Not normal for me to get out in front from the start. We worked our magic in the middle of the race, and Abby called, "we're moving". Together we pushed on towards the island that would signal the last 250m. The buoys changed from white to red and knowing these are our last strokes, I pushed and held on as much as I could. We crossed that beep. Good. We achieved our goal. To win and qualify the boat for New Zealand in November.


Some great things of Bled are the swans that are like ambassadors on the course. One announcement said "We have swan behind you, so we will a little bit wait". Another said, "don't worry girls. We wait, swan passing by". Another is the pumpkin seed oil that was a surprised delight dressing for our salads. The people walking the lake with ice-cream cones gave a wonderful summery delight. Most people spoke english, and I felt very well accepted and it was easy to familiarize ourselves with the environment.


I'm back in Seattle, greeted by rain. Training will continue in Bellingham on Lake Samish. June 26-27 I have the opportunity to race in the Holland Beker. Then I go watch some soccer World Cup back home in South Africa. I haven't been home for three years and so excited to see how things have developed.

Thank you again so much for all your support and donations and help in this world cup. We are ready to keep working hard onwards to doing the impossible and achieve great things, every day in training, and then in New Zealand.

Watch the race here >  LW2x. Our awards ceremony is at the end of the LM2x. (These British commentators have got a mind of their own :)

More photos here >

USRowing says >

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Oar saga continues in Bled



Firstly, thank you. Thank you so much for the donations on the oars. We are so grateful and honoured to have your faith and resources with us. Will will race even harder than hard knowing we have this showing from you!

We still don't have the Croker S4's we need. The Staempfli contact who had promised us sculls aka blades aka oars, brought us medium shaft. Us little lightweights can't get medium shafts to bend, giving us the nice whip effect through the water. Looks like Max Schellenbacher from Schellenbacher GmbH can help us tomorrow afternoon. I just hope we get to row in them, paint them all before our race on Friday! Is it too much? I don't know. This is that 2%. And if it came down to China and the USA on the final and we win or lose my milliseconds....

Thank you to Michael Callahan, (UW Men's coach) and Cas Rekers (RP inventor) for using their connections to help get oars.

What is means to race for the USA in Bled



The USA team arrived on Sunday and beautiful Park Hotel. The hotel is right on the water at the start line. The buffet meals, as picky lightweights on paleo diets is perfect! Great variety of salads and veggies. We have arugula and cooked fennel. Not just any greens!
Tired bodies walked themselves to the boat area to find our Fillipi and rig. Then tired bodies took to the water and made our first row in calm waters. I say calm now, because as the week progressed, calm was not the word anymore.
We were also given local bikes to get to the course and back. Abby and I got to the bike handout last, so Abby's bike called Hercules doesn't hold a gear for sh!t But my purple beauty did the job. As the week progressed, Hercules was retired, Abby took on the purple beauty and Ursula set out on foot.
On Monday and Tuesday, only the USA and China was seen on the course. I felt part of a deep seeded past. But this time, I was living it; not reading about it in Mrs Sommerville's history class. This time, I now as a US Citizen am a soldier part of this cold war. Although those walls long past, it still moved me.
As our rows progressed, rigging tensions came up. Carlos on video camera at the finish, communicated with us relentlessly. How to get us faster, that's what we talked about. A LOT.
Today, Wednesday we saw more teams arrive. In usual style the GB team arrived in military style. Small but wide pick-up like trucks one after the other, bikes, tents..., their presence is announced. China, although here already by the time we came has a huge showing. The yellow clothing with red stars show up everywhere. We have three china boats in our event. Looks like Kat Grainger from GB is doubling up in the World Cup. Thus does it still really seem that outrageous that I doubled up at NSR 1?
Carlos having to self fund his accommodation is hold head high. We would not be as ready as we feel without his energy. Thank you!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Packing, Painting, Praying for Bled

We have been doing solid work on Lake Carnegie here in Princeton. Launching from the house of Margery Mark, our Filippi double has gone to the Princeton Boathouse and back, to the finish of the 2km course and back... and back.

As the final things start coming together for Bled, I see it like a juxtaposition of a white canvas to white blades. Our canvas is being prepared and painted, step my step. Some things being stripped away to reveal the red, white and blue underneath. I feel so fortunate to be part of such a colourful journey. And filled with unbelievable challenges.

We found out yesterday after all the painting we did, we can't even take these S4 Crokers with us to Bled, because the plane from Frankfurt to Ljubljana is too small to accommodate the length. So we have been pounding the phones and emails and skype for any Europe contacts to see if we can get the S4 soft ultralight blades in Bled for this USA LW2x. So far, unsuccessful. So we might end up racing with the regular S2's. Now if you can imagine a tightrope walker, training all the time with a bar and it has a weight and a balance point, this is what we face. We will have heavier shafts a week before racing that we will have to adapt to. And well, that's it.

Some links of interest for the racing to set the scene:
World Rowing Website >
Here is the list of entries for the LW2x > click on LW2x
Provisional Schedule here >

We have 3 boats from China. The Greek stroke is doubling up and rowing the LW1x as well. Tere whom I raced with last year in my first world cup will also be racing. Looks like we start the heats on Friday at 11:42am. My South African family will be happy because Bled is on the same time zone!

As an extra fun image, the last time I painted blades was for Rika racing in a world cup. Painting the SA blades ended up giving me good practice for the simplified but similar USA design! All things are connected.

As a final note before we leave Princeton, I want to thank our generous hosts, Tom and Peggy. And then we also got the opportunity to stay with Jan and Harold. Thank you so much! And also thank you once again to the Dwyer family and to Sherri, for providing wonderful food to keep us all going.

I have also come to realize how much fund-raising we will need to do in the future to make all this sustainable. Looks like we will need to buy blades in Bled!

Yes, I will blatantly put a donate paypal button here if you can help us! Baie Dankie! (Thank you in Afrikaans)




Sunday, May 16, 2010

On to Bled, after an NSR 2 Final Gold

The Gold Star was shining, even though the rough waters stirred. Abby and I made it down the course and crossed the finish line, positioning us for an entry to Bled. At the dock we were met by the official to weigh the boat and escort us to the USADA tent. Enter Ursula's first drug testing experience. Well, three attempts and two hours later, I finally filled my cup and was able to leave the tent. Then met with Fred and Matt, to discuss the trip to Bled and how we would afford to take Carlos with us as our coach.

We are leaving for Bled on Saturday, May 22. We are staying at Hotel Park. The hotel looks like a great spot to be. Hotel Bled >
Google Maps >
The providential racing schedule for the World Cup  (LW2x) here >
More about Slovenia as a World Cup location here >

This week's logistics are crazy. Rigging the Filippi, painting blades to the USA colours, nourishing at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, where else, right? And getting enough sleep as the humidity rises here in Princeton. After all said and done, we should be back in Seattle June 1st. Carlos will stay on to support our UW team at the IRA's. Well done to the UW who were strong at the PAC 10's! Another great weekend filled with results and resolutions.

Friday, May 14, 2010

NSR 2 Time Trials after photo shot

A happy Ursula, Carlos and Abby take a quick pause and smile for the camera after the time trial. A crazy, confusing, cross, something wind took them down the course one by one in time trial style. One check mark down, but the work comes in on Saturday for the final. Reports of a thunderstorm may delay racing to Sunday morning. The east coast humidity has set in, and after another run to the Whole Foods, the Seattle Crew is fueled and ready to race, be it tomorrow, or the next.... or the next.
Read USRowing News >

Thank you to JL Racing for some great uni's designed for the finals. Let the stars prevail!

Finals will be held Saturday 7:30 a.m. Watch racing live on the Team USA Rowing Channel beginning at 7 a.m. EDT Saturday, May 15 at http://rowing.teamusa.org/live
For complete results, visit www.powerhousetimeing.com.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Pre NSR 2 - STARS

The late, Emil Kossev said to Abby, "you are a long term project but one day you will be a star." I have used the star symbol as a connection to my adage: 'One sees bars the other the stars!' I guess someone once called me Urshie-Star and the idea was planted. Now two girls both with the stars in their eyes are reaching for the top. If we go for the top and reach for the stars, we might not not get there, but we won't come down with a handful of mud either. Thus the journey is born. And it has already begun with an incredible week of training on Lake Samish at the new Carlos Dinares facility in Bellingham, WA.

So follow us tomorrow as the Womens LW 2x on Powerhouse Timing and lets see how far and fast down the rabbit hole we go! We are racing under the star uni's in the Silver Star Hudson lent to us by Margery, Loretta and Karen. Thank you Ladies! The same boat Renee and Jen made their debut in! Let the good flow keeps its momentum going with us, as a new combination ready to go to Bled, Slovenia!


Monday, May 3, 2010

Bellingham Beauty


We are here training at the most beautiful place! Carlos has developed a house and training facility on Lake Samish in beautiful Bellingham. Abby and I are doing our miles in this very special place. The house built is nothing on the ordinary bar. The olympic rings still stare upon us. We are working in a very special way in a very special place!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Change of Plans - NSR II here wer come!

Ok, take a few deep breathes. We have readdressed everything. Mainly what we can sustain. And we are going to race NSR II with Abby. Then approximately 5 days later leave for the first World Cup in Bled, Slovenia (if we win the double event at NSR II). This is going to be the qualifying course for the Olympics next year, because the 2011 World Champs are there. The course info here >.

So today was the first training session with Abby and we are feeling positive. It's going to be a little logistical craziness, but hey, that's what seems to be the norm now. Ready?! GO!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Post NSR 1

So lets recap, I raced four times on Friday, twice on Saturday (one of these was my lightweight final) and once on Sunday. I won the lightweight women final, and won the B-final in the open weight division, yet posted a faster time than the winner of the A-final 20 minutes before me. This has raised huge discussions on the rowing boards, and to follow various opinions, to fully see the effect this weekend made on the community you can click here to do so > . Warning: This discussion board gets quite intense.

• I was interviewed here > Speed 5 Interview
Great photos of the weekend are here > My events are Lightweight Women 1x and Open Women 1x (singles)
• And more press releases on the US Rowing Website here >
• Finally the results are here > of the weekend's racing. Again follow the LWT 1x and W1x.

Back in Seattle and will continue with the training, building the abc's and loving my rows everyday; learning something new and feeling new momentums; working on efficiency to achieve the ultimate acceleration through seemingly effortless gliding.

Thank you so much to all the emails, and followers and believers in this dream. It is an honour to be an inspiration to anyone, and not something, I take lightly.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Every race is like a little novel

So far, I have six races of experience recorded, and each one like a special little novel. The different stories revealed to me has been unexpected and insightful. I have felt like a sponge just absorbing what the racing platform has brought out in my competitors and their interactions with the racing scene, and then my reaction to their interaction. Fascinating the different feel from the heavies to the lights when in the warm up area. Also from race to race, within an hour how the weather changes.

I'm sad I missed the A final in the Open 1x. I couldn't seem to get my first 1000m going, and came from too far behind in the end to take on the last 500m. I am however, ready for my B final tomorrow 7:30am. The last race.

My LW 1x was were it counted. This is what I was here for. The business of the matter. I got a good start. In fact, my start in the semi open final was good too and surprised me, since I have a history of sluggish and slow starts. I kept building through my race, looking for momentum and power. I held there and then felt the onslaught of Sarbanis. We passed the white gazebo, and that was where the money is, meaning the last 500m. Go Go Go, I voiced my body into action. Then Abby attacked Sarbanis and with that we closed the final. Ursula: 7:59, Serbanis and Abby 8:02 with only split seconds dividing positions. Interesting my semi time only 50 minutes before so much slower: 8:08. Not sure what else to say after that.

Day 1 over - My Rowing Marathon

Getting ready for the LWT Final and Heavy Semi. Not too many comments: Just Do IT right. Read a great quote sent by Josh Adam, from Indiana University:
What price are you willing to pay today to invest in your future excellence?   If the goal is to win, internally or externally, that price cannot be negotiated.

Lots of interesting reads here:
http://www.usrowing.org/News_Media/PressReleases/detail.aspx?nws_lKey=810

Results here:
http://secure.powerhousetiming.com/powerhouse/webpages/raceResults.jsp?raceId=243

And for a really fun read, check out these comments:
http://www.rowingillustrated.com/boards/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2303&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&hilit=ursula&start=105

Friday, April 23, 2010

Time Trials

The cold cold morning set the stage for our time trials. The wind also progressively worsened. The open weight women heat was first. Good pace and rhythm took me down the course as one of the last participants in the event. After the time trial I quickly returned to the dock, switched out my bow number, at which point Maria came to tell me I had posted the fastest time. Drank a few sips of my Recoverite, and off I went again. I timed the second outing a little wrong. I thought I had less time between, so when I got to the start, I was there before the pairs, doubles, men's lightweights. Finally, they called and this time with bow number 99, I went down the course. The winds had changed. This race was a little more bobbing like a cork in rough water feeling. So hoping for warmer weather and calmer winds tonight in the heats. Wishinful thinking for Princeton, NSR's on Mercer Lake, right?!

Follow the results here >> powerhousetiming.com

Thursday, April 22, 2010

My first NSR



The last time I raced down this course, I said this is for my citizenship. That was the US Nationals in 2008. Funny how the next time I raced down this same course, would be as my first race after having received my US Passport.

We arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday and were housed by Chris and Maria. They share a wonderful revolving door open house attitude! Maria took us for a run and I, never having been in Philadelphia, enjoyed the boat houses that looked like little Snow White fairy tale cottages along boathouse row. We also ran up the Rocky Steps. And a sculpture poignantly called THE IMMIGRANT could not be passed up on this momentous regatta. It encapsulates so many emotions and aspirations, long waited for.

Thank you so much also to Tom from Sykes who has made boating so easy. I have finally called my Sykes "Phoenix", after rowing it for months, the name came to me while gliding on the Greenlake waters. The Hudson is called "Storm". The Fillipi is called "Michael", and now the Sykes was christened. More on the linkage later.