The wheels on the bus go round and round… We are heading home and I am so looking forward to seeing my wife and children.
Yesterday we raced the final of the coxless four and all jokes aside we had a dip, took a crack and even attempted a bold stroke. We are going home with bronze and I am ok with it as a result. Sure it’s always nice to go better, but it’s important to keep things in perspective.
The situation we were in made things very simple. Nothing to loose is a nice position. As such we raced like athletes who were willing to take the risk. It didn’t full pay off but that is more about our ineffectiveness as a crew at this stage. As for some context. The GB crew dominated and the Greeks showed they are very consistent and great racers. We put our nose in front early and I guess gave ourselves a chance.
Our crew has come so far since Lucern and the gains made over the last two weeks was great to see. As for being critical we still have not beaten the Greek crew but we are closer and at least the race yesterday we got a lot closer to GB then 7 weeks ago.
The two weeks were about building up to our best race and we did that for the season. It was about putting more pieces of the puzzle together under pressure. The picture is far from complete but we are in the frame now.
Yesterday I was asked on many occasions what will happen next year. Who knows I said. I was asked about our crew and what will happen with Duncan and others. Who knows I said. I was asked about where I will be based. That one was easy. At home I said in melbourne. As for what’s possible I am enjoying the four and still feel it’s a great and achievable challenge. The gap is still significant but I am motivated and the guys this year and any one involved in trying for the four next year will be equally motivated.
Eleven months is a long time to make gains, but it will fly by so it will be critical to build from here. As I sat on the start line yesterday and even days before I was not thinking beyond this week of racing. Obvious as I was on the start my mind was only on the race ahead. Actually that’s now entirely true. Thoughts of the ups and downs did come to mind. They were like butterflies fluttering in then lightly taking off again. As for the body of my thinking it was on our race and our plan. It mainly involved just the first stroke and yet each stage of the race was in the background but almost like it was slightly blurred with just that first stroke in focus. Even just sitting there was fun. Nervous sure but fun. Each word we all spoke was directed towards a clear reminder or a person. My family was there, not physically but within my thoughts and the sensory stuff like my oar, the seat, the shoes, the water on my neck and sweet on my forehead was all so rich. The visual of sitting there looking back towards the boat holder and start tower with the crowd again like a blur just out of focus or frame. With each look down the boat I knew we were ready to put it out there and even as I glanced across at the other crews I found it reassuring the feel that it was a great place to be. On the start line, ready, waiting and focused. It’s like a tunnel and like I have experienced plenty of times before it’s the coming in to that state. Ready and willing, but waiting. It’s the game and one I love. For moments later we were released. Not before the start decided to old us for what seemed like a life time. Time goes so slow or should I say it seemed to pass as if to be saying, slowed down. Slow down. Slow down. The little red little was shining behind the boat. It was held in the box too. For a moment I thought the starter may have fallen asleep. Just nodded off as he must have sensed the need to slow down too. Or it just could have been one of those beautiful Bled swans. They too were going slow. There you have it Bled, the lake, the swans, the starter and all of us, just hanging, waiting. Then like a bolt the buzzer sounded and we like all others were off. Simple really and the starters job for that race was done then ours had begun.
You could say in one sense that that buzzer marked an occasion when for the first time we provided some competition. Yesterdays race was about that really. We have now been truly benchmarked. We have in one way put up a fight for what will become a great race next year. This year though we raced with our hearts and gave ourselves a good account. Going forward we will need to be better, faster, smarter, tougher, more motivated, more clear and happy to wait and trust in our approach.
Now as I sit on the bus heading to Munich to fly home I am starting to think forward. We raced well and can be happy with our result. I know many athletes in our boat and out will be keen to head to selection now and first make the team, the particular crew and then continue building the performances. I sit here an am excited about what is ahead. Nothing is certain and I think we need to all be tested. In fact our Australian team did a great job in Bled but we are all very aware of the bigger picture.
Nothing is certain. My understanding is anything can change and change in the blink of an eye. Personally I will be doing all I can to be the best prepared I can and to give myself the best chance to be in the best boat I can. To be prepared and be part of a great crew with great people has always been the aim. The target has never changed it is getting clearer and with the steps here it has become more real.
Favorite races in Bled.
Kiwi Double and German Doubles going head to head.
Mahe in the single after his back issues and new approach.
Our light weight four was a classy performance.
Obviously I enjoy some many of the Australian results and I think we all take real pride in our own so to see the Quad get Gold and many other boats medals was very enjoyable.