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row2k 2011 Worlds Blog

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Blog Contributors
Ed Hewitt
Ed Hewitt is the publisher of
Erik Dresser
Erik Dresser is row2k's Assistant Editor
Gevvie Stone
First-time Olympian Gevvie Stone is the USA W1x
Jamie Redman
World Champion Jamie Redman rows in the USA W8+
Jimmy Sopko
Three-time senior team member Jimmy Sopko rows in the USA LM8+
John FX Flynn
John is row2k's East Coast correspondent & resident results-monger
Kristin Hedstrom
Three-time senior team member Kristin Hedsrom sculls the bow seat of the USA LW2x
Megan Kalmoe
Olympian Megan Kalmoe is the 3-seat of the USA W4x
Rares Crisan
Crisan is a member of the Canadian LM4-
Trish Downing
Wheelchair racer and triathlete, USA ASW1x Trish Downing is making her World Rowing debut
Most Recent Posts by this Author
The Red, White, and. . Red
posted by: Rares Crisan (August 26, 2011)

Who does a workout with another country at the World Championships? Seriously?  Looking over my shoulder I’m looking at good old glory on the LM8+ and wondering if I should be missing water every other stroke so they have something interesting to report back to their lightweight four. At least it’s not the confederate flag. Crafty move Jimmy, I just hope that if you guys beat us on the pieces you don’t start asking for our t-shirts. I know how it works in the collegiate system. Also here is my obligatory shout out to Conlin Mcabe, I hope you and Tony don’t struggle too much with the new shower before meals policy. Huskies!

As for the rest of the team, the maple leafs have now appeared on our blades. There are some much respected traditions in Canada in regards to racing the World Championships. For starters our unisuits differ from our attire at the World Cups. Our World Cup unisuits have a black and red base with the RCA logo on a white backdrop on the chest. The world Championships unisuit mirrors our flag with just a red and white colour scheme and ‘Canada’ marked on the back. The World Championship unisuits is never to be worn any other time other than when racing at the World Champs. The second is the presence of the Maple leafs on the oar. Once racing is over the Maple leaf is removed from the blade. Like the unisuit no one is to row with the Maple leaf on their blade outside of the World Championships and if there is a leaf on the blade it is expected to be removed before being used. These traditions honour the achievement of athletes reaching the World Championships and that it shouldn’t be taken for granted. It also serves the purpose of focusing the athletes as the appearance of these elements are an indicator for where they currently are.

I like that we do this and I think that it’s important that we continue to respect these traditions. Rowing is a very old sport and older rowing clubs tend to have different traditions rooted in their History. It’s a good reminder that what we are doing may in fact be greater than just ourselves. 

My Day In PostCards
posted by: Rares Crisan (August 23, 2011)

The day always starts with a cup of coffee, or two, or three at breakfast. I’ve become well adjusted to Americano’s back home so to enjoy my leisurely 45 min breakfast I need to make my espressos last the whole time.


After breakfast the group heads out to the course which is only a 2min drive, 5 min bike, or 10 min walk. Most of us tend to practice at different times but occasionally gather for the odd timed workout to asses speed.


Between rows most of us usually lounge in the front lobby after lunch. Unfortunately, as Zia (not sure on the spelling exactly) the hotel dog demonstrates, it’s been a little to hot to spend anymore time then required outdoors.


Back out in the afternoon the water is always flat, it’s always sunny, and as a result it’s always really hot. This photo curtesy of Kevin light, find more of his work here on flickr or here on 500px


Following the second row I tend to return to my room before dinner. I usually bring a couple pairs of Oakley’s with me on each trip that I like to lay out on my bedside table. Also in the background is what I’d call my pre race fuel, Redbull energy shots – all the boost of caffeine with no sugar and as a result no sugar spike.


Dinner is served at 7pm on Italian time meaning this could be anywhere between 7:10 and 7:30 but this is why we always come to Erba to train, the food. It’s most likely because this location is quite remote and secluded from major cities and tourists that we are treated so ‘at home’ here. Although It’s quite difficult for lightweights because our hosts European hospitality fails to comprehend portion control. Whereas the heavyweights are happy to receive spoonful after spoonful the lightweights have to face a very dejected and dissatisfied face when we try to tell them not to create mountains on our plates.


My day invariable ends here at my desk. Thanks to Matt Jensen always bringing his HDMI cable we can easily overcome the language barrier with our own movies or tv shows.

Erba Revisited
posted by: Rares Crisan (August 18, 2011)

Unfortunately no one was able to win my proposed upgrade contest. Although the flight stewardess nearly won by moving me to a row of empty seats with an extensive amount of leg room right behind first class.

The video posted above was a project I started basically mid-Atlantic. It’s really all thanks to Air Canada (being in my opinion one of the best airlines to fly) for having outlets on the plane which basically allowed me to use my laptop for the entire flight over. I just started collecting some footage and was progressively adding it to the video at each connection through to Erba. More will be added but unfortunately due to upload speeds I’m not sure how long the full 2 min video will take to post, so here’s a preview for now.

Upon arrival we were greeted with the familiar faces of the hotel staff who always seem delighted by our return. The men’s eight, lightweight men’s double, and coxed pair who train under Mike Spracklen, have already been in Erba for over a week and as a result were settled in and heading out to practice. The rest of us had the usual unnecessarily long jet leg induced attempt at rigging to overcome. Highlights include: Four starboard backstays for the lightweight men’s four, a lost steering post wing nut off the heavy men’s four requiring a 5 man search party through the grass, and a blade heist from the men’s pair. Regardless, most of the work was complete and the crews set out for the most miserable jetlagged 4km row that will ever be endured on this trip. Upon which the fallouts of the typically sub par rigging started to emerge. Highlights from this row included: collars 3 cm off from the port and starboard blades of the heavy double, and a backstay shooting off the bow seat of the lightweight four.

As always, I now return to sleeping most of the day because though its 1pm here it’s really 4 am where I’m used to being.

The Canadian Perspective
posted by: Rares Crisan (August 15, 2011)
click for full size image!

Game Face – This isn’t the same Canada you’re used to

My stranglehold on the Canadian rowing blogosphere is becoming further tightened now that row2k asked me to write from the Canadian perspective at this year’s World Championships. Just for full disclosure’s sake though, when I say the “the Canadian perspective,” let’s be realistic, I will be writing from my subjective perspective. What does this mean for my fellow Canadian athletes? It means that I get to decide what the world thinks of them as rowers and moreover as people.

This opportunity is very humbling given that in the last couple months my own blog has become rather bland. Since Christmas I began to write more about my actual training and stopped focusing so completely on the humorous nuances of the Victoria Training Centre. Honestly, it’s a little obvious what training is like: wake up, row, eat, sleep, weights, row, eat, have a philosophical discussion with Conlin McCabe, sleep, repeat. However, with a newly rekindled focus and sense of purpose to my writing, I will aim to expose the Canadian rowers and their lives for the world to either love or hate.

For fellow Canadian rowers who happen to be reading this, there are ways to protect your image. For starters, you could be Scott Frandsen. As a fellow port side pair rower my respect for him is too high to even fathom the idea of saying anything remotely negative about him. In a completely different way you could be like Tim Myers, as one athlete aptly stated “ I would love to call out Tim on the water, but I know if I did he would burn me 1000 times over and worse ” (Tim is that fast and witty). If you don’t have either my upmost respect or are my roommate then here is a list of other things you can do to make sure you’re well represented.

1.If you have a first class upgrade for Air Canada and let me use it (given that through my own fault I forgot to claim all my aeroplan points for elite status last year), I will make my entire next post about you. Yes, this is a contest and together the two of us can both win.

2.Given that the dock at our pre worlds training site in Erba, Italy is rather small, if the lightweight four is launching/docking and you chose to relinquish your position for us, I would consider that a positive decision.

3.Also in Erba, if you are in line in front of me at the delicious buffet with all that fantastic cheese, relinquishing your position again would be another positive decision.

4.Women, just because you are in Corgeno instead of Erba does not mean you are safe. I have spies in Corgeno in the form of lightweights. If I hear of defending world champion Lindsay Jennerich receiving any wash during pieces, I will not be happy. Lightweights need to stick up for each other; we’re small people in a world of giants.

5.I’m sure I’ll come up with other things randomly, so be prepared.

Ok, all over the top dramatic seriousness aside, I hope to fulfill your interests in the Canadian perspective at the World Championships and lead up to. I will do my best to convey who we are, what we are setting out to accomplish, and how we go about completing our goals.

Game Face – This isn’t the same Canada you’re used to - Click for full-size image!


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