2012 bringing you up to date
2012 seems to be flying by, its doesnít seem too long ago we were welcoming in the new year and counting down the seven odd months until the Olympics. Somewhere there I blinked and now we are into the final 70 days until the Olympics as we build up to race at the first world cup.
So to get you up to date with whatís been going on. Life has been fairly busy. Looking back I havenít done that much apart from train, recover, eat and sleep. Thankfully training has been the main part of my week. The cycling has meant a lot more hours training. It has been great though to be back training and fairly unhindered by the back issues that have plagued me for the past couple of years.
The year started well with a very big block of training and some great gains made. We had a few club regattas that were used for sharpening up and preparations for the national championships.
Nationals was a pretty quiet week for me, racing only the single scull. Racing went well with a win in the heat putting me through to the final and the final was a great race with a quality field. I was confident going into the final as felt in good form. As the race developed I established a lead over Eric Murray and Peter Taylor with Nathan Cohen surprisingly being back slightly. Going into the final quarter of the race I had what I thought was a comfortable lead and was feeling good, what I wasnít quite prepared for, was a flying Nathan Cohen doing his best to close the gap and quickly. What was a comfortable lead soon diminished to a tight race but I was able to respond to hold Nathan off and get the national title back by about a boat length.
I was pretty pleased with the race and knew I was in a good position going into the winter block of training. A week or so after nationals I had another couple of days forced holiday with a small flare in my back, this was the first problem I had had in over a year and with a couple of days rest and a cortisone injection in my back I was back training as normal.
It was then another very tough six weeks training and more fitness gains before hitting the course again for some more 2K racing and final preparations in New Zealand, before heading overseas. Racing went well, as the weekend progressed I improved, going faster with every race and by the end of it I was happy and confident I was well on track for the European campaign and in a good place going into the final 12 weeks before the Olympics. This weekend coincided with the first world cup happening on the other side of the world in Belgrade. It was good to see all my competitors racing and there were some surprising results in the semi finals with Synek and Campbell being the only two scullers from the A final at Worlds last year, able to advance to the A final (finishing with gold and silver respectively). I guess in Lucerne we will find out if this was just early season form or if there are some new contenders around this year.
The time has certainly flown past and before we knew it we were on the plane heading for Europe. The team this year consists of 11 crews (26 athlethes) that have qualified for the Olympics, there were 2 others (M8+, and LM4-) that had already travelled to Europe to prepare for the Qualification regatta a couple of days after we arrived.
We are all fairly seasoned travellers now and the flight went past without a hitch. I was fortunate enough to be upgraded to business class where I stretched out and arrived in Europe in great shape, it certainly made a difference to my back that took awhile to recover last year.
We are back in Lucerne, which is very familiar and not much changes. This is my twelfth year of going on tour with the New Zealand Rowing team and my tenth time to Lucerne. Lucerne is a very beautiful spot and we have had a great week with fairly warm weather, clam water and a mix of rain and sun. It has been awesome to go cycling around here, with different scenery from home and very smooth and good roads. It has been awesome seeing more of the countryside than I ever have before. On the water it has been setting up a new boat and getting to grips with the craft that will become part of me for the next 70 days until the Olympic final in London.
During the week the Menís eight and Lightweight four competed in the regatta of death (final qualification regatta) it is a nasty regatta as there are only 1-2 Olympics spots available in each boat class, this generally means close and desperate racing, with some peoples dreams coming true and others in absolute despair as their last chance at making the Olympics slip away. Our boys raced well and in the finals both crews were very close. Unfortunately the lightweights finished 3rd (needed to be top 2) and the eight were 2nd (needed 1st). Both crews are fairly young crews so will hopefully keep rowing and make up for the disappointment by making it to Rio in four years time. I think anyone competing or watching this regatta will make sure they do everything they can to qualify at the Worlds as I donít think you would want to come to the regatta of death too often.
So that pretty much brings us to today where we are all preparing to race at the second World Cup here in Lucerne. I will be back with progress over the weekend.
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