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Posted in All Blogs, Rowing
4 comments
03/3 2010

Race around the lake.

Some things never change. 

Wednesday mornings are always going to be Mike’s morning to race us around the lake in singles!  Why should tomorrow be any different?  I am nervous though, and excited, but I know that I have to look at it as training.  It’s my first Wednesday morning back – I want to get around rowing a solid 24 – 26, but rowing well.  I know the other guys will be able to race higher and harder – but it will be great to set a bench mark so that I can start closing that margin.

My first big focus in the single is getting over my fear of fully squaring my blades.  I miss so much water at the catch because I flip catch out of fear of flipping the boat.  Totally irrational, I know, but it only comes out in the single.  A few years ago I was able to fix that problem as a sweeper, but I have never conquered it in the single.

Any suggestions?

Dave

Oh, and today was an independent row because the boys were all up at Shawnigan Lake.  Probably a blessing in disguise.

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03/2 2010

Day one: back in training

Kind of funny showing up for my first row back with the national team and they’re practicing starts.  Of course!  Elk Lake Spring Regatta is this weekend.  6 years ago this coming weekend Scott and I raced together in the pair for the first time while Rachel went into labour to deliver Mira!

No blisters to report yet – I must not be pulling hard enough.

Dave

Posted in All Blogs, Perspectives
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02/13 2010

Dedicated to Nodar Kumaritashvili

Nodar Kumaritashvili living his dream...

Nodar Kumaritashvili living his dream...

I was given a ticket to last night’s Opening Ceremonies through the BCLC and Olympians Canada.  Ironically I had an hour to get from downtown to Richmond to pick up the ticket.  After a long frustrating wait in a cab at a train track on Shell Street I got to the office at 3:29, with 1 minute to spare.

Yesterday was such a hard day to process as we all found out more details about the death of Nodar Kumaritashvili.  The bitter sweet for everyone is trying to celebrate the start of the games that have been coming for so long, while at the same time honouring the tragic loss of an Olympian.  As an athlete I know what it takes to get to ‘the big show’, but then to lose your life one day before you get to demonstrate your talent. 

And to lose his life at the age of 21…he would have been at many more Olympics.  I did not know Nodar’s name before yesterday, but I will never forget it now.  I was honoured to be in a hushed stadium with 60,000 other Olympic fans as we showed our respect with a minute of silence.

Rest in peace Nodar.

Posted in All Blogs, News/Events
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02/11 2010

Vancouver, February 11, 2010

http://photograhy.rumoncarter.com

http://photography.rumoncarter.com

I woke up this morning and got my first workout in right away!  Thanks Rachel for the motivation.  I had to go for a run though because the ‘gym’, and I use that term loosely, was full at the hotel.  I ran past the Heiniken House and then past the Olympic Oval.  Then I came in and jumped on the elliptical machine for 25 minutes.

On my run I realized just how close to the UBC Boathouse I was.  I could be there in less than 10 minutes if I ran there directly.  I’ve put a call into Ben to get the access codes.  Now I can stay erging!  Great news.

I’ve spent most of the day working at the OGS office again.  There are many BC Public Service in their blue jackets around.  Rumon Carter is covering it all for the Province on-line and took this picture.  

It’s so hard to have to look up for each screech as someone new jumps off the zip-line tower. 

Tonight I am heading over to a private dinner for the athletes involved with the Coca Cola, Clean Air Champions and Project Blue Sky Athletes’ Village environmental activation.  It is being hosted by Rob Safrata, Alpine Skiing from the 1976 Innsbruck Olympics.

Although the games are only 1 day away from starting, my day count is really set at 18.  There are only 18 more days until I start my 2010 campaign!

Dave

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02/10 2010

Vancouver, February 10, 2010

http://photography.rumoncater.comWhat a great day it was.  I came over on the 9 AM ferry in the Live Smart Hybrid Prius.  Met a torch bearer on the ferry who was so excited to run.  She seemed to be bouncing along on the boat – so cool. 

Once we got to the mainland I picked up my VANOC accreditation, aka ‘bus pass’ and headed downtown to my office across Hornby from Robson Square. 

The office is no larger than my cubical back in Victoria – the only two differences: this one has two huge windows that allow me to watch the entire Zip-Line in Robson Square, and I share it with 6 other people!  

If there was a triage for Olympic planning, we are in it.  There are about ten offices stacked just as full here in the OGS Ops Centre (Olympic Games Secretariat).  You can tell people are getting IT done!  Right now this office is running around the clock.

Scott and I had a late dinner together at Joey’s (aka Russia House), but the Russians hadn’t come yet…by the way, the zip-line is a huge distraction…and then we left for the VISA Olympian Reunion Centre.  It was great to see so many people. Most of the Canadian Olympians from past games had just walked in the dress rehearsal of the Opening Ceremonies.  By all accounts it was a great show and worth watching. 

The Great One was even there…

Dave

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01/12 2010

Donate $10 to see Canadian Athletes Win in Vancouver

Have you ever wondered how Canadian Athletes can afford to be as good as they are?  Well, look no further.  Canadian Athletes Now Fund is one of those ways.

It’s never been cheaper to invest in a Canadian athlete – to be able to follow them as they fulfill their lifelong dream in Vancouver next month!  Right now, for $10, you can help push one of our athletes onto the podium.

At least check them out.  They have been a huge support for me over the years.  Besides the three times that I have been awarded the fund, they sent us a box of Kushies clothing for Mira when she was born.  I know I will apply for the fund again in the future en route to 2012, so let’s all support them now.

Dave

Posted in All Blogs, Family
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12/8 2009

A day at the beach

Our local beach

Our local beach

It goes in the face of the ‘starving athlete’ image to disclose that Rachel and I have taken the kids to Oahu – especially to the stranger who was kind enough to offer to build me a bike.  But there is logic and savings in taking this trip now.

Rachel somehow managed to ‘swap’ our suite this past summer with a family she found on Craig’s List (different Craig).  The family is from Oahu and wanted to swap with someone in Victoria.  Their kids went to Camp Thunderbird last summer.  Great family!  They came and had a fun adventure in Victoria.

It took us 5 months, but now we are finally on our half of the swap!  We were going to go in November but we didn’t get Bowen’s birth certificate in time, so we couldn’t get his passport either.  All that said, we are in Hawai’i now!  The last time I was here was 10 years and 1 month ago with Morgan Crooks.  We were on our way back from an Olympic test event in Sydney. They ran a mini regatta exactly a year out from the Olympics.

As for this trip, Bowen flew for free (and did a great job on the plane), the accommodation is free and we have a kitchen to prepare all our meals.  And besides, this is the vacation to end all vacations – at least for 2 1/2 years.  Once I start rowing in March there are no vacations until after London 2012.

Wave jumping in Kailua

Wave jumping in Kailua

We arrived two days ago.  The family we swapped with lives in Kailua on the east shore of Oahu.  The first thing we did was hit the beach!  One of the family’s daughters, 9 year old Nicole, walked down with us as our guide.  Mira and I waved jumped until her lips turned blue – Rachel just laughed as we got pummeled by wave after wave.  It was so much fun; one of those moments that will live in all our memories.  It was so special that Mira and I rolled out of bed yesterday morning and headed straight back to the same beach and Rachel and Mira are there now!

Mira in the control room of the USS Bowfin

Mira in the control room of the USS Bowfin

Yesterday we also headed to Pearl Harbour – December 7th being the 68th anniversary of the Japanese bombing (1941).  Mira and I went aboard the USS (submarine) Bowfin at the memorial site.  It was a beautiful monument, but Mira was a bit insecure.  We hurried through the inside of the sub and spent lots of time on the deck.  Last night I went to the local Blockbuster looking for the Hollywood movie Pearl Harbour.  Rachel and I thought we could watch it after the kids were asleep.  I should have guessed that there would be some cultural aversion to the Ben Affleck Hollywood love-story version of that fateful day when so many people lost their lives.  I thought about the relative proximity of Pearl Harbour to where we are staying – and it would be as if the attack happened in Sydney (BC) if you live in Victoria (BC).   Needless to say: they don’t carry the movie – good for them.

We have another 4 days here in paradise.

Dave

Posted in All Blogs, Rowing
6 comments
12/2 2009

Every Little Bit Counts

Biking to Work

Biking to Work

Just before Bowen was born I blew a tire on my bike. I made a few efforts to fix it – but couldn’t quite get the job done. Then, after he was born I started rowing once a day with the Canadian team and became even less interested in fixing my bike.

Rowing against the national team, with three hours sleep at night, then heading into an eight hour work day just didn’t pan out. I think I made it two and a half weeks on the water before I had to pack it in. I’ve since borrowed a friend’s erg and have been getting great workouts in each morning.

Now that Bowen is eleven weeks old we have a bit of a routine set in the house, including the daily erg. On Remembrance Day I finally got around to fix my bike, well enough to ride it to work each day.  Mind you there are no front brakes, the chain skips and can’t go in the hardest gear and I need a front light!  Anyone know where I can get a safer bike for cheap?

Racing Again

Racing Again

I ride with my music on – and I visualize racing again. Sometimes it’s the 2010 Worlds in New Zealand; sometimes it’s the 2012 Olympic Games in London – but I’m always pushing hard, always winning and always happy.

In the few weeks since I’ve added my ride back I’ve seen my splits drop significantly on the erg, I’ve felt more energetic and healthier all around. And if you can believe it, I even feel physically warmer throughout the day. I still struggle to stay awake when I read bedtime stories to Mira though.

I can’t wait to train full time again.

Dave

2 comments
11/22 2009

1952 Helsinki Olympic Experience

Helsinki 1952 Poster

Helsinki 1952 Poster

I’m in Toronto right now. I flew here yesterday for Canadian Olympic Committee Athletes’ Council meetings (renamed today Athletes’ Commission). I’ve gone to www.offsetters.ca and calculated my carbon emissions for the trip (2.8 tonnes CO2); it only cost $70 to offset.

When I landed I hooked up with fellow Canadian Olympic rower Adam Kreek. Suddenly we were heading to the Argonaut Rowing Club’s annual awards banquet as guest speakers. We arrived at the club and immediately meet their eldest active member. At 89, Steve Sandor still rows his single, self-admittedly shorter distances than years past. Mr. Sandor and I spoke at length. As it turns out, Mr. Sandor is a Hungarian Olympic rower from 1952. In the course of our conversation he remembered to me, with great detail, the events that took him and his Hungarian crew mates from 1948 through to the ‘52 Helsinki Olympic Games.

At that time there were two rival rowing clubs in Budapest, one made up of only card-carrying Communists and his, an open mix of Party Members and non-party members alike; each vying to race the eight in Helsinki. Mr. Sandor’s story included stroke by stroke accounts of critical races against the communist club and a challenge race the Olympic year against the Germans. He recited precise measurements of his secret tactic to increase the size of his club’s blade surface area. He still held on to the exact weights of their hull, the brass oarlocks, seats and slides. In part because he so adamantly disagreed with the extra weight the strong ‘communist-designed’ boat carried. He said “We carried two coxswains”.

Rowers at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

Rowers at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics

It turns out the Hungarian Communist Party wanted to promote the strength of Party Values and their Communist Brothers at the games in Helsinki. Allegedly, Party Officials made every effort to disadvantage Mr. Sandor’s club in the selection process. Mr. Sandor’s club was faster though, and had been in smaller boats for years. Then, finally in late 1951 and throughout the 1952 season, they had the faster eight too.

As club captain Mr. Sandor requested a meeting with top Party Officials in order to clarify the selection process. Mr. Sandor and his crew were granted an audience, but they were told that only the three card-carrying Party Members were allowed to speak. It became clear to Mr. Sandor that the conversation was not going well and he could only sit quietly for so long. He told me that he stood up and bellowed “COMRADES”, because that was a sign of respect to Party Ideology, and from the far end of the table he continued in a level, calm voice “Will the fastest crew or the Communist crew race for Hungary in Helsinki?” Put that way, the Party Brass was backed into a corner. They agreed to race a best-of-three selection process between the two clubs; the fastest crew would race in Helsinki. A week later Mr. Sandor’s crew won the first two races and was selected to represent Hungary at the 1952 Olympic Games.

Opening of the 1952 Olympic Games

Opening of the 1952 Olympic Games

Years later, at a party, after the fall of communism in Hungary, Mr. Sandor saw those same ex-party officials he had stood up to in 1952. With great respect the men retold the story of Mr. Sandor’s passion and bravery for everyone to hear. Now, 57 years later, I’ve been inspired by his story.

[Olympic] Dreams are worth fighting for, worth sticking your neck out for, and can only be realized by unwavering self-belief and commitment. Mr. Sandor embodies inspiring Olympic values. If the young rowers I chatted with last night at the Argonaut Rowing Club learn these values from Mr. Sandor now, they will be formidable at everything they do in life.

Dave

Posted in All Blogs, Family, Rowing
3 comments
11/10 2009

The Beginning of Something

Mira's first erg

Mira's first erg

Honestly – it was completely unprovoked.

It all started when Bowen was born.  You see, I thought I’d train with the national team on Elk Lake in the mornings for their first row.  You know, quietly slip out of the house at 7 AM and then be in the office by 9:30 for an efficient, high energy, 7-hour work day.  I’d be back home by 5:15 PM for a relaxing night with my family.

Well, it kind of worked – for two weeks.  By ‘kind of’ I mean I was just hanging on.  I was getting 3 or 4 hours of sleep each night, I was the slowest single on the lake and my high energy days at the office turned out to be more like a 7-hour marathon of trying to stay awake.  Oh, and by the time I got home each night I was exhausted and would quickly fall asleep reading to Mira by 8 PM.

My plan has always been to rejoin the national team full time in March of 2010.  If I am in shape leading up to March then I figure I have an outside shot at being fast enough to make a world cup boat.  But I definitely should be able to be race ready by the time the worlds roll around in November, 2010.

I had to stop after two weeks when I finally got sick.  Instead of returning to the lake, I was able to borrow someone’s rowing machine (aka erg), and set it up in my carport.  This is where my story really begins…

I set up the erg yesterday.  As soon as I set it up Mira wanted a turn.  Not to curb her enthusiasm I said okay.  She hopped on and had surprisingly natural technique.  She drove her little 5 year-old legs, swung her little 5 year-old body and pulled her short little 5 year-old arms in.  More amazingly she had the recovery sequence too.  Her little arms shot out, she swung her little body over and then she slid up the slide.  MY JAW DROPPED.

Setting up Mira's second erg

Setting up Mira's second erg

Not sure what was going on – I had to pry her off the erg to go to family supper at my Grannie’s house.  In fact, I had to promise her another turn on the machine later when we got home.  Sure enough when we pulled into the carport she remembered and was fired up to get back on the machine.  She had a quick turn, but it was past her bedtime, so again, I convinced her to go inside by promising her another turn in the morning.

This morning when 6 AM rolled around I was so excited to get to workout at home.  I woke up and jumped out of bed with excitement – laughing, knowing where Mira got her enthusiasm from.  I got locked in and pulled a solid 45 minutes at 1:49/1:50 splits listening to Big Wreck.

Giving'er on Mira's second erg

Giving'er on Mira's second erg

Shortly after my workout Mira woke up.  Rubbing her eyes she walked into my bedroom asking her typical “Daddy, will you play with me?”, but then cut herself off and gasped – “Erg?  Can I go erg?”  I burst out laughing and we went back outside.

We went out and I set her up for a 10 minute workout, the first 5 minutes was all coaching.  She loved it and felt great heading back inside.  Then when I got home from work tonight she was there, waiting for me again.  “Daddy, can I erg now, please?”  I couldn’t say no.  This time I set her monitor up for 500 metres.  A good distance for a 5 year-old and a way for me to teach her about goal setting.

500 M in 4:06.1!  We’ll see if she can beat it tomorrow – if she wants to!

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