It’s late afternoon and I sit here in a lounge of sorts where I have grabbed myself a bowl of cereal to ensure I am fuelled up for our ride this afternoon. There’s lots about the European Training Centre which is great but I can’t say I have been satisfied with food here. Not so much the food itself but the freedom to choose what you eat and when. Sure I could go shopping but it’s not like home and yet a week ago while staying with family the flexibility and freedom was better.
Now let me say that from pretty much every other vantage point the centre is great. Maybe internet could be improved but to have access to a venue like this here is amazing. I guess personally over the years I have become pretty streamlined with what is need when training. So the centre has more than I could use or choose to use.
The Australian Rowing team feels as if we are and have prepared pretty well. Loads of time and energy has been spent by athletes and coaches ensuring performances reach a peak in Bled.
Life on tour can at times drag along but when the training loads go up there really isn’t much time to get bored. Simple training days have involved 1 – 2 rows with either gym or bike sessions. Many days the hours averaged training sat around 5hrs at when you get to the point of collective fatigue you just crave food and sleep.
Today though the light can be seen at the end of the tunnel. The sense of energy levels rising in anticipation of moving from here to Bled is building if not high already. Some days though have felt like you would not make it through but with this week starting to come to a close and racing work being done to get us all sharpened up things change. The swing from load and volume to speed and shorter session becomes a catalyst for excitement. The banter amongst crews seems to be increasing and the challenges in sessions feels like it starts to bring out our best.
From the World Cup so many weeks ago it has been or should have been a build up to Bled. Timing the peak is critical and yet until you start racing you never quiet know for sure how you have come out of the block of training. Now the game changes with more time and less work. With that comes more chatter and speculation. This is a time for composure and to let the little monkey free. The little monkey is that thing. Cheeky and full of life yet somewhat distracted and certainly distracting. It’s the mind chatter. The group chatter and as it’s volume goes up many of the more important elements of the final days of preparation get lost.
Bigger events are not just about what you do. They are often about the things you don’t do. The build up to the Worlds will be about focusing on what matters most. Not just individually but mainly collectively. With the extra time and busyness things can get out of sync. Or should I say with the changes we think or perceive things getting out of sync. All the great work can be undone very quickly with to much energy being waste of things that matter less. The name of the game changes as I said and it becomes no more training and turns into a waiting game. Patience and composure rise to the surface and accepting the challenge of competition is a great antidote.
Life on tour has been great and Rowing Australia has made it so by some many factors being taken care of. We now have four days left here training and then we travel. Our bag of tricks are full and ready the plans and discussions now wait for the time to present them. I am certain our team will perform and the pride of any Australian athlete is to rise to a level where we can hold our heads high. We have no excuses and the racing will be hot.