We had a great day in Poznan today for a couple of shorter rows. The water was flat and quick in race direction for our morning work and then again for our steady state this afternoon, which was a nice change from the 18mph wind we had yesterday (complete with Polish whitecaps, which are just as exciting as American whitecaps). The course is quickly filling up as more teams arrive; many of the larger delegations are now here, with the exception of Germany. That means in the bow seat that I have to keep even more aware of my surroundings while out on the water, as traffic rules are already becoming more “flexible” and manners and thoughts on right of way are variable nation to nation. But as I always say, no one is going to put a hole in my boat but me, so for the most part I am a defensive driver with few qualms about resorting to “friendly” vocal cues to other crews who attempt to get intimate with us on the water. With great effort, I have removed the use of gesticulations from my on the water communications except in the case of emergencies or truly audacious disregard of safety practices (much to Ellen’s relief who may argue that I am public enemy number one on the water). Despite starting to feel a little crowded on the course, which is almost exactly 2k in length it is exciting to see all the boat racks filling up, and to see friends again.
The course has come to life off the water as well, as it seems the community has returned to recreation in Poznan after a holiday weekend the past few days (which holiday we are not sure). The paths that run on both sides of the course are bustling with joggers, rollerbladers and cyclists all day long; and on the grandstand side of the course there is an establishment that rents other forms of transportation such as segues and pedal cars… a few of which we had to dodge on a jog the other afternoon. I am hoping that the activity around the course will stay consistent as racing ramps up over the next week to produce a large and energetic crowd for finals. Advertisement in and around Poznan for the regatta seems to be substantial; paired with the success of local celebrities, the Polish M4X, who train in the area, I am hoping that we’ll have a successful spectator event on our hands next week.
In more exciting news, I have started making notes for what may be the most anticipated blog entry of the year: the 20 Hottest Rowing Male Athletes of 2009. I haven’t done a thorough work over of last year’s list (found here), but it seems like many of last year’s list are back in action, including four of the top five. Lucky me. But there’s no telling who could break on to the list in a post-Olympic year. I know one thing for sure–that I’m going to have a tough time not American-loading the list, as we’ve got a very handsome team this year. If any ladies (or men?) out there want to submit nominations, send them my way.
Finding time to compile notes for said list should be no problem, as we are now in full taper mode and I have more free time during the day than I am used to. I personally hate tapering–hate it. Our training volume is significantly reduced during this time, which tends to throw off my appetite, sleep, moods and basically any other part of my existence that is controlled by hormones. During our trip to Lucerne this year we essentially got to train through the regatta and it was the best I’ve ever felt for racing. So anticipating the upcoming exponential irrationality/sleeplessness/restlessness/hyperactivity that goes with training less, sleeping and stressing more…well, it’s a part of racing I could do without.
I am dealing with the taper only slightly better than some of my teammates; one of whom I caught on the bus this morning with calomine lotion covering the majority of his legs. Apparently a run through some underbrush–which contained poison ivy–was necessary to deal with some excess energy. When I got busted staring at his pasty, pink-smeared legs, he was curious as to what my next blog would be about, and I told him that I’d mention his itchy escapades. Probably no surprise that this misadventure was again a member of the USA M4X (who acquired an aquamarine hitchhiker on their first day out). I can only speculate as to what other ridiculous shenanigans those four will get up to before we head home. Amazing awaits? Check out fellow Row2k blogger Sam Stitt for progress on that situation.

New Arrivals: GBR, BEL, JPN, MEX, EGY

Long Live the Dream,