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!

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.