It could be said this experience has strengthened my resolve. Specifically relating the approach we take for next year. At this stage we have done all our work and although some of the key measures have not been perfect I am open to seeing how this plays out in regards to performance in Bled.
It was said to me at the start of the tour that I need to be open and possible challenge some of my own assumptions. The assumptions about paddling speed and rate step speed relating to race speed. Sure I can appreciate you don’t need to be fast at paddling and all levels of rates. My past experience tells me otherwise but I have heard plenty of examples of crews not being all that fast at low rates but having good race pace or a great capacity to race. Personally I have often felt that training speeds at low rates correlate closely with race pace, but that has been just my experience.
*questions would be why we do low rates? What advantages and disadvantages are there?
This trip we have worked to be faster at paddling and rate steps and have seen improvements but not to a level I would have preferred. The coach who told me that the tour I would need to challenge my assumptions has given me something to think about. In two weeks time we will know the result of this. I have no excuses for how we perform and feel that most is possible in this four. So much learning has happened and I know I have become much clear and more committed to the pathway forward.
Not wanting this to sound like I am expected things not to be the best we can be. I am looking forward to coming out of our taper and seeing the benefits of the training. In my mind I can certainly visualize how we can row and perform. The challenge with any newish combination is consistency. This is something we have worked towards over the last three weeks and gains have been made. Will it all stick under competition is the question. Our best is fast enough and our team is motivated. What is left is how consistently we do it. Stroke by stroke and race by race. We must stick to the task of moving the boat as well as we can. No different to what any other team or crew or athletes will be aiming for.
Now we are on the bus. Our team is together. We are traveling to Bled waiting to start the final phase before competition. The final phase will be about settling in, establishing a presence, sharpening up further, and waiting.
As I have said before more time now is spent waiting and with that time comes a chance, to make the best of the time, to waste the time and or just live in distraction. Already today I have rowed our perfected race numerous times. I have gone over various sessions and hand picked in my mind the sections I believe will produce our best. Today I am still preparing and readying my mind and body for what is ahead.
The reality of what is physically required can some times be scary. What it takes to dig deep and to find the resource to maximise effort and speed. What’s required to harmonize and find the perfect match and have the meeting of the minds can be scary. Taking all that you have done before and to bring all the energy, focus and state of flow to ensure the greatest row of your life is also scary. For to have all this requires being vulnerable, exposed and to be on the edge of perfection and failure. The fear of making mistakes, the fear that forces people to close their eyes and hope it might just work out is costly. Finger crossing is bullshit. Hope is waste. Ignorance is not bliss it is merely a way to be fooled and to be a fool. Reality, choice and action are key to getting the best outcomes.
For all this we have two weeks left of this season, not to do something special but to do what we simply came here to do. Race. Nothing else matters now really. Mindsets become critical and belief of what can be do essential. Coming together to race has always been the end game and as long as we arrive get off this bus and go about our business then we will perform.
As for what others do it’s of little consequence. Or should be less of a concern. Knowing what big events are like the buzz, and bullshit, the speculations and projections will be high. Deafening at times but only if we or others buy into it all. Big events are mind games. Simple solution then is change the game. So for now we travel. Soon we race. Then we will know. Simple really. How to change the game, well that will be a surprise. As I said we all need to wait and see.