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07/12 2011

Home again, home again…

There is truly ‘no place like home’.

It is 6:15 AM.  I’ve been up nearly an hour.  Mira was asleep when I got home last night – our AC flight from TO was delayed 3 hours.  It’s hard to complain.  There was a problem with a flap.  Although I wanted to get home when I was supposed to, I didn’t want to get somewhere over northern Ontario and experience mechanical problems.  I’d think that AC would have an extra plane somewhere in a hanger at a big airport like Lester B., but I guess not in this economy.

I’ve had my coffee.  Wow was it good.  There is something to be said about being served your coffee in Italy and Switzerland each morning for 3 weeks, but my coffee is better!

Scott thinks I spoil my kids.  Bollix.  But it does look a little like Christmas here.  I’ve set out three piles of gifts that I’ve collected for Rachel and the kids over the last three weeks.  It’s really not that much.  I can’t wait for Mira to wake up though!

So it’s back to training around here.  Targets are set.  We have a better feel for where we need to be by the time the World Championships (and Olympic Qualifier) come at the end of August.  Faster.

We always knew that Lucerne would be a ‘speed check’ for us.  Walking into an established event with two boats that have captured the hearts and minds of rowers world wide, well, it’s a hard place to be.  FISA called it in a pre-event blurb they wrote, stating that the Canadian pair would be fighting for a bronze medal with Italy and Greece.  I got to know the Greeks a little over the weekend – and they are great guys.  I didn’t chat with the Italians – but they also seem quite nice – they certainly were very intense, especially heading into our quarterfinal.  I am glad that Scott and I ended up on top of that fight – between the Italians and the Greeks, but they are both crews I deeply respect.

The hotel we stay at in Lucerne is also the hotel the Brits stay at.  Scott knew both guys from the pair because he spent a few years in England racing at Oxford.  Over the build-up towards racing we got to chat a bunch with Andy and Pete.  They too are great guys.  It’s hard to be too friendly with guys you have to race, but we are all so similar that it is hard not to be friendly.  We actually had lunch with them after the race.

But you probably want to hear about the race.  At the world cup we have about 700 meters to warm up in, back and forth.  During races on Friday and Saturday it’s a lame warm up area because races are on 6 minute centres.  Besides being waked down every 6 minutes there are up to 30 boats warming up in that small space – and they can be all different boat classes and consequently speeds.  But if you make the final on Sunday, races are usually on 15 minute centres.  This weekend they were 13, but that doesn’t matter!  With that much time there were only two wakes to deal with from races, and only 11 other boats in that space.  I have to fight feeling like I am late, or that there is something wrong, something missing.  Usually, a big part of conducting the warm up for me is picking the stretch of water with no boat traffic and no wake.  On Sunday it’s a luxury.  We had a good warm up.

There was little external pressure that we felt.  We’ve made waves at Rowing Canada this year, standing up for what we believe in, and so there was potential to feel pressure to back those waves up with a good performance – but even that pressure faded before the start line.  We had earned a spot in the final, and now we got to race 2 kilometers to see how fast we could go.  That’s what we did.

We got an early lead that was eaten up quickly by the Kiwis, probably by about 700 meters.  Then it was a matter of the British.  We held them a long time.  They pushed away from the Italians and the Greeks and moved into our lead with 500 to go.  In the end, with less than 10 strokes left in the race, the Brits pushed their bow in front of ours.  We finished 3rd.

We’ve learned a lot about the other crews in the event.  We’ve learned more about ourselves.  It will be exciting to get to line up against all these crews again in about 7 weeks at the World Championships.

Dave

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