Uwaga!

My favorite Polish word, and also my only Polish word. It’s all over signage here and as best I can tell translates as “danger!” or “caution!” Probably a good one to have in the vocabulary, and doubtless will come in handy on the race course before this regatta is through.
I personally have not had any uwaga moments yet so far, but the men’s quad was not so lucky yesterday, as one of many intoxicated swimmers who were enjoying the lake decided to swim out to the start line during practice and latch on to the bow of the boat, anticipating a free ride. Obviously the men did not want to indulge this rather large, rather drunk man with their new Hudson shell and so waited patiently for him to let go. Word is that two man Glenn Ochal went to remove one of his oars from the oarlock in order to “convince” the man to let go… I believe his teammates were successful in convincing him that was not a good strategy.
We’ve had several trips up and down the course to assess Poznan’s Malta racecourse, and I can safely say that it is unlike any course I have rowed on yet. The shoreline is packed with a variety of recreational opportunities; from bars and restaurants, to a ski hill, to mini golf to bike paths, to a mini blue train that regularly blows its whistle while we’re out rowing around. It’s a little like Disneyland out there, and there is certainly a lot to take in. The bird ambiance playing out of the finish line tower PA system (I think) is also a nice touch, though slightly reminiscent of rowing at the zoo. I am most thankful for the course markings, as there are good-sized buoys as well as overhead signage (my favorite). I am slightly confused by the inclusion of the 200m buoy (200m to go that is), which is larger than the 1750m buoy. All of this color and entertainment makes for nice rowing in the mornings when it’s cool and the water is flat; but the afternoons have been nothing short of chaotic with gnarly wind on the course that makes the water pretty miserable and at least one direction on the course a lot of extra work. That means I will be hoping for morning racing!
Our daily mode of transportation while we are here is a “shuttle” which is actually a city bus that has been been commandeered for the personal use of rowers and coaches over the course of the regatta. We managed to fit the entire American delegation on the bus the past two days (in a murky cloud of manky, sweaty trou… delightful!) but since have switched to a staggered practice schedule and are now also sharing the bus with team Hellas who arrived yesterday. Things should get pretty interesting as more teams arrive and join in the commuting adventure.
It’s been really fun getting to know some of the new team members, as well as athletes who have come to the team from other training locations. I am becoming quite attached to the whole of the men’s lightweight team, and they never cease to amaze me with their positive, vibrant attitudes. They are a ton of fun to be around and I am really enjoying their very large (meaning numerous) presence on this trip.
Our free reign of the hotel will come to an end tomorrow with the arrival of Team Canada, but they will be a welcome addition to the group and I am looking forward to seeing friends on the team from my days as a Husky, and congratulating them on their big showing at this year’s IRA.

Looking forward to some good hard work on the water tomorrow morning.

New Arrivals today: GRE, NZL

Long Live the Dream,

–MK

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