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 >