We are two days out from the start of the Olympics, and things at the rowing village and course are buzzing! Everyone has finally arrived, with GB, NZ, and Canada being some of the last ones to reach London. Almost all of the teams are staying at the rowing village, although some have found hotels closer to the course with less of a commute. I’m not sure exactly which teams are in the hotels, but I know GB, Canada, and some of Australia’s team are not in the village with us.
So a little update on how everything has been working for us rowers. In the morning, everyone who wakes up in the rowing village heads to “the Hub” and grabs some breakfast. The dining hall is pretty big and has been able to accommodate all of the teams so far. Here’s how I roll – grab a plate of eggs and a big bowl of yogurt, fruit, and granola. Then maybe a muffin or some toast if I’m still hungry. Then grab a cup of coffee to go (the stuff in the d-hall hasn’t really been doing it for me, so Coach Volp was kind enough to get the Sara(h) pair a French press and some real coffee) and drink it on the bus ride over. The bus is still about a 40 minute bus ride, but now the buses are full of athletes from different countries! This has been the easiest way to meet people from other teams since during the rest of our time at the village and at the course, we’re pretty much in our own zone and focused on doing our thing.
Then once we get to the course, it’s go time. We drop our bags off at the athlete bag drop, and start our warm-up for the row. Today the course was full, full, FULL! Traffic patterns can get kind of crazy when there are tons of boats out and everyone is trying to take hard strokes at different points in the course. If you are moving too slowly down a lane and a faster boat is coming up behind you, it is your job to get out of the way and keep your boat safe (the faster boat always has the right-of-way). Today, we did some 2k step pieces at pretty high rates, and it was quite a site to see…basically we were running down 1xs left and right while trying to stay on rate and keep our speed consistent. Admittedly, I love the chaos. I made a call that we were “passing Mahe on port!” (Mahe Drysdale is NZL Men’s 1x favored to win gold, and quite a legend). Riding the lightning!
Once we’re done with practice, our job is to RECOVER. Fast. So on a day like today when we took some hard strokes, we put the boat away, grabbed a quick snack and water to refuel, and immediately got some stretches in. Then once our bodies are feeling loose again, we hit up the team ice baths set up by our athlete tents. As soon as ice baths are out of the way, we head to the athlete cafeteria to eat lunch. The food at the course has been really good and has been making all of us very happy 🙂 Today, I got some physical therapy at the course during our rest time, but many of the other girls just relaxed at the athlete lounge checking the internet, reading, or closing their eyes. After a couple hours of break, we head back out onto the course for our afternoon row. Then it’s onto the bus, and back to the village. Nap in the afternoon at the village if there’s time, shower, and then 6:30pm dinner for the USA women (we eat all our meals as a team). After dinner there’s not much time for more than winding down and heading to bed.
As you can tell, our venues have been pretty limited. It’s essentially, village dorms, dining hall, bus, and race course. I’ve had a few questions asking if I’ve had a chance to meet any athletes from other sports yet, and the answer is No. We are a little bit isolated in the rowing community right now and will be until racing is completed. As soon as my Wednesday final is over though, I pack my bags and head for the main village.
A couple of other quick notes before I head to bed:
-Yesterday was college uni day! All of the USA women wore their college unis to practice which is always a ton of fun.
-There are 3 giant 2000 meter cables that are hanging high above the length of the course. A television camera will be zooming along these cables, catching our every stroke during our races, so be prepared from some great coverage. The camera has passed over us a few times during practice, and it’s surprisingly loud (but much quieter than the alternative of a helicopter). Here’s a video of the view from the top:
-I am really starting to feel the taper! I’m trying my best not to start bouncing off the walls with pre-race energy, but I’m getting there. In an effort to conserve energy though, Sarah Zelenka and I have been taking our taper to the fullest extent. We’ve both downloaded the Voxer app (proud sponsor of USRowing!), which allows your phone to act like a walkie-talkie. We have been sitting in our individual rooms, about 2 feet from each other, using Voxer to communicate instead of getting up to walk to the other’s room. This is the true meaning of staying off our legs!
Here’s the lastest album of shots I’ve taken from around our sites.
2 days to go!
P.S. I’m so happy that Cole Hamels just signed a 6 year $144 million contract with the Phillies so I can stare at his beautiful face for 6 more years!