Twas a dark and stormy night.

Which is to say, it is both dark and stormy outside my window right now.  I was just talking to Jim–somehow we seem to have timed the end of the fall to perfection this year.  The day we got back from Head of the Lake it was like someone flipped a switch– BAM!  Wet, cold, windy.  Good timing.

A belated recap; we went to Seattle two weekends ago, and raced a lot.  And it was very, very good.

Frostbite, Saturday, is one of my favorite races when it’s good and can be very bad when it’s bad.  We got lucky and it was very good– what a great experience.  1000m pieces in November, on a fully buoyed course.  I really think this should be a more common format– it’s such a great introduction to the sport and to racing for novice crews, and offers them the chance to go out and test themselves more than once, over a manageable distance, with their competition directly adjacent instead of simply racing the clock.  We had some excellent races and the thing I liked best was that our athletes didn’t worry about who they lined up against– juniors, masters, open crews– they just raced.  As I said to them at the event, fast is fast and racing is racing.  Line up, start fast, and work on executing all the way down the course.  Sometimes it went well, sometimes not as much, but we learned a great deal and the novice came away very excited.

Sunday we moved across town to take part in the Head of the Lake regatta,  one of the oldest and often the largest fall regattas on the west coast (I think in recent years Head of the American may take the cake for largest).  We had three of the ~340 odd entries in the event.  Again, what I told the crews: it’s a big event and we entered in the big races.  If we take ourselves seriously, as I think we do, we need to race the big events we have access too and try to perform at our highest level– as we grow, mature, and develop as racing crews we’ll grow into the event and hopefully become more competitive with time!

This year. . . well, against Division I competition we still have a way to go.  But racing in the best events at the regatta (both the men and women entered in the champ eights) we were far from last. . . so I know we’re getting there.  The men managed to recoup from a rough Saturday and pulled off a solid piece.  The women got a bit frantic but learned the lesson: you can’t do anything on race day you don’t do in practice.

Now, almost two weeks later, we’re well into the winter season.  Winter training continues with all groups (women, men, varsity, novice) finding their groove and getting into the rhythm of being their own motivation.  I can safely say I’ve never seen so many folks hitting the ergs, out for a run, or down in the weight room.  There’s something going on here.  I like it, and it’s got me fired  up– this is my first week of training for summer racing in 2011.  Like the team, I’m a bit sore, a bit tired, and full of thoughts of the future.

Bring on the stormy weather, bring on the winter workouts.

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