It’s been a busy couple of days, getting things ready to pack up and leave again after it feels like I’ve only just returned from our long winter camp in California. This time, we’re off to Breisach, Germany, for training camp leading up to World Cup II in Lucerne. For some of us, this is the start of our European campaign for 2012; for others, this serves as an interim camp between World Cup I and II, as the US women raced two pairs and a quad last weekend in Belgrade.
I was part of the group who made the trip over on Sunday night, and who are still settling in to battle the jet lag and airplane cankles. It was a fun trip over, despite a memorable moment on the plane when we all realized the abandoned backpack that was being announced over the PA as being a potential security threat belonged to Natalie–because a Swiss woman had unapologetically removed it from the overhead bin and moved it to the back of the plane for no real reason whatsoever–and the extra time spent negotiating in German/English/sign language our rental van contract, which somehow USRowing had neglected to pay in advance. In the end, we got to Breisach alright on Monday afternoon, and the women coming in from Belgrade met us at the hotel shortly thereafter.
We had a good first trip down to the course in our monster rental vans, and took a short flush run to break up the boat-rigging process. Run leader, Meghan Musnicki, took us off the beaten path (literally) and through the mud, nettles, electric fencing and beehives, we managed to flush out a pair of wild boar piglets–a first for me (did you know there has been a surge in the wild boar population of Germany in recent years?). It was at this point that I demanded we return immediately to the marked trails before we also encountered an angry adult boar.
We now have our boats rigged and ready, and have logged our first miles out on the river. This is my second trip to Breisach; the Team also trained here prior to Lucerne in 2008. It was a very different trip for me four years ago. I was part of the World Cup I group meeting the rest of the team in Breisach; I was coming off of my very first Senior National Team racing experience (an unforgettable 7th place in the washing-machine-waters of the Munich racecourse), I was absolutely ecstatic to have been included in the Europe group, and was doing everything I could not to screw it up. Now that I’ve been here before, gone through it before, and know what to expect, I’m focused less on not screwing up and more on how to make the most out of camp.
We have only two short weeks here in Breisach before the whole team heads over to Lucerne to see what we can do at World Cup II. That means we don’t have a lot of time to get our boats clicking and for coaches to sort lineups before we hit the line in Lucerne. The next three weeks will be very important for everyone as we head in to the final stages of selection for the Olympic Team. Training in Breisach and results in Lucerne will have everyone here very focused and working to continually sharpen our edge in order to be as fast as we can be at the end of June for the Naming Date, and ultimately, for the beginning of Olympic racing at the end of July.
I am so happy to be here with my teammates and to feel the group coming together as we wind up the last remaining days of this Olympic quadrennium. I know I’ve said it before, but every day I go to train, I am blown away by the sheer power and talent of the women I train with. This group is truly something special, and I am so lucky to be a part of it.
More to come over the next several days as we continue to soak up the swans, German breakfast (!!) and long stretches of flat, empty river. I will try to get more photos up if I get some time to wander around with my new Canon Rebel T3… it’s been a lot of fun so far on this trip and my teammates have been very gracious about being in front of the lens while I get to know my new toy. Breisach is very quaint and deserving of some photographic study, so if I get the time, I will hit the streets…err.. cobblestones.
Long Live the Dream,