And it’s almost race time!
With every practice, we see more reminders that racing is *just* around the corner. Yesterday, the huge jumbotrons arrived, and the bubble-making apparatus was installed along the finish line. Classical music blared from the loudspeakers as local dancers practiced their routines for the Opening Ceremonies. This morning, the inflatable meter-markers were put up, and the EuroSport cameramen began testing out camera angles. Several athletes nearly had heart attacks when they passed the finish line right as officials tested the decibel level of the finish line horn! (“honk. honk! HONK! HONKHONK!” )
The excitement is palpable… all the countries have arrived, the boatyard is full, and the race course is crowded with practicing crews. I have the utmost admiration for the course marshals making this event possible: running the World Rowing Championships is no small feat! Almost 450 crews, representing 68 countries, are entered into 27 different events. With so many boats practicing on the course, it’s not surprising that there have been a few close calls… however, I’ve found that any language barrier can be overcome with some frantic yelling (“Hey China/Italy/Cuba, look out!!!”). Kudos to Mary, our fearless coxswain, who bravely asserts our place in the traffic pattern while keeping us safe from collisions!
Spotted at the race course: a Belarusian pair-double combo (a “pairouble?”). One boat, four rowers, two sweep riggers, and two sculling riggers… I’m not quite sure what they were doing, but it looked like they were going fast! Another funny note: the American rowers have bought out all the peanut butter from the local grocery store. Hopefully they find some soon, lest we go into PB withdrawal!
Lake Bled continues to impress us with its stunning scenery, even though we’ve lost the glassy, calm water of the past few days. The Slovenian heat wave has broken (thank goodness!), but with the cooler temps comes some gusty alpine weather. Alas. But we welcome the opportunity to train in wind– because who knows what Mother Nature will have in store for us on race day? That being said, our weather woes are miniscule compared to those of the teammates and friends at home. We’re constantly checking for updates on Hurricane Irene, and we’re all praying for your safety! Best of luck weathering the storm!
The W8+’s first race is on Monday, at 11am local time/5am Eastern time. So excited!! You can keep track of Team USA’s progress on www.worldrowing.com, or you can always trust www.row2k.com for comprehensive racing coverage!