|USA W8+ out of the blocks! Photo courtesy Allison Frederick, USRowing|
Yesterday, we had our first race, and it was both a solid piece and a good starting point for us to build on. We lined up against Great Britain (who we raced a month or two ago at Henley, and who a few of the women in the boat had raced against in Lucerne), Germany, and Ukraine. It's funny that racing at Henley was on my mind, because the starting area here is also packed with spectators--something very rare at a World Championships (usually the coaching bike peloton are the only spectators!) But just like at Henley, it doesn't matter what's happening around you as soon as you're locked into the blocks and ready to race.
The racing switched to eight-minute centers yesterday to try to alleviate some of the launch wakes, but there was still a lot to do back in bow pair as we went through some bumps in the first 500 meters. However, we were all focused in on our race plan, and executed it from start to finish. It's great to be dialed in to one another, and I think we're all looking forward to building off of this race and finding another gear.
We also had a lot of fun yesterday on the bus playing with stickers. (Yes, we were a bit loopy when we came down for our second row!) My mom brought some obnoxiously American stickers--sparkly, patriotic, and purchased at Walmart--and we decided to see if we could "tag" other rowers on the overcrowded bus without them noticing. At first, it was just our fellow teammates, but then we got bold and moved on to the Greek lightweights sitting next to us. They really got into it--one of the women gave her (male) teammate sitting in front of her a big hug, surprising him enough to sneakily stick one on the back of his shirt. Susan did well too, putting a "Happy 4th of July" sticker on a cheerfully oblivious Danish lightweight guy. I also tagged a Chinese rower from the men's eight, who tried to tag me back for the rest of the bus ride. It's great how silliness doesn't have any language barriers!
The best, though, was our ride back, when we were on a much emptier bus. We tried to tag the Australian men's eight, but they were not amused. So instead, Susan and I launched a sticker attack against the guy sitting behind us--Matthew Pinsent! Unbeknownst to us, he put all of those stickers on my back, which we didn't realize until we were off the bus and headed back to the hotel! However, we did run into him in the mini-mart a few minutes later, and luckily had a few stickers left...although he was very careful to get in a different check-out line, we managed to make the last tag of the day a good one.
This morning, we got to sleep in, and get to cheer on our teammates racing today in reps. On the adaptive side, we're pulling for ASW1x Tricia Downing, ASM1x Ron Harvey, TAMix2x Anthony Davis and Jacqui Kapinowski, and LTAMix4+ Alex Stein, Eleni Englert, Emma Preuschl, Andrew Johnson and Eric McDaniel. After that, it's M2x Tom and Pete Graves, LM4- Will Daly, Ryan Fox, Robin Prendes and Anthony Fahden, W4x Megan Kalmoe, Adrienne Martelli, Natalie Dell and Stesha Carle, M2- Tom Peszek and Justin Stangel, and W2x Kate Bertko and Sarah Trowbridge.