After a weekend of racing in Amsterdam, we arrived in Erba (a little Italian town just north of Milan) late Sunday night and it is exactly how I remembered it. It has to be tough to be a lightweight during our training camps here because the food is just incredible – I honestly feel for those having to diet right now. It takes a few days to get used to the weather here; yesterday was 37 degrees with high humidity. Until your body adapts it is difficult to breath during our workouts and everyone walks around coughing as their lungs get used to the hot and humid air. Nonetheless, we have hit the ground running and had two hard workouts yesterday, and followed that up with one of our most intense workouts this afternoon. This week is going to be very hard. Hopefully it will help to prepare us for the racing next weekend in Lucerne.
Amsterdam was a great warm-up regatta for all of our Canadian crews. Despite all of the time that Dave and I have spent in the pair together, there is no replacement for the regatta atmosphere and racing next to other boats. Looking back on it, I’m very glad that we decided to race in Amsterdam in the lead up to Lucerne because we learned a lot and definitely improved over the course of the weekend. I had never been to the Netherlands before and had no idea what to expect – apparently I should have packed more rain gear as it rained for the first 5 days with relatively strong winds. Luckily the conditions improved for the weekend and the sun even came out for Sunday.
There were essentially two separate regattas with heats and finals on both Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday morning we drew an Australian pair, two Mexican pairs, and a few Dutch club pairs in our heat and stumbled off the line a bit, distracted and not rowing as a cohesive unit. When that happens, you spend more energy than you should for the speed that you are getting and usually suffer later in the race as a result. We were able to win but we weren’t happy with how we had rowed. We improved upon the performance in the final later that day and won comfortably… but still knew that we needed to be much better.
Sunday brought calm conditions and sunshine. We found out as we were walking our boat down to the dock for the heat that it had been cancelled because one of the entries had scratched, leaving just 6 boats for a straight final later that afternoon. The Dutch team had decided to race on Sunday so we were up against two Dutch pairs, the Aussies, and a couple of club pairs. The Dutch pair had finished 6th at the first World Cup regatta so we expected them to be our best competition. After a delay at the beginning of the race, Dave and I were aggressive off the start and shifted into our base pace well. We put together a solid first 1000m and opened up a comfortable lead, which allowed us to stretch out a bit in the second half of the race and not sprint. As before, it was an improvement on the previous race. The challenge while we are in Italy is to continue to refine the parts of our race that we got right on Sunday, and to improve upon the rest.
This is a great new band from Seattle that I’ve been listening to a lot lately.