At the beginning of May we had a busy 9-day stint in the US between our long European trips. From Hyères, France, we drove through France, Luxembourg, and Belgium to Amsterdam, where we left our car and trailer. Fortunately we had a day to explore Amsterdam and hit the gym once more before our long flights to California.
I spent the next day with the junior sailors at Encinal Yacht Club in Alameda, California (on San Francisco Bay). I joined their practice to hop in their boats for some practice races. In the evening, I spoke about life on the Olympic class circuit and my unconventional path from junior sailing (and starting late) in the 29er through college sailing and into the FX. But more importantly, I tried to impart the lessons sailing has taught me that are applicable to anything in life, such as resilience, a growth mindset, setting goals, and being coachable. I came away feeling really inspired by the energy in the room!
After a couple of days at home, Paris and I reunited at the US Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, near San Diego, for a US Sailing Team Sperry training camp. Over three days we had lots of workouts and meetings about strategy, tactics, the Rio Olympic venue, and logistics. The team assembled an impressive group of Olympic sailing veterans who covered topics pertinent to the challenges of this time in the Olympic cycle. We came away from this productive and efficient time having revisited our progress and goals.
Our last stop before heading back to Europe was a US Sailing Team Sperry fundraiser at San Diego Yacht Club. We had the inspiring opportunity to meet some of the biggest names in US Olympic sailing, including JJ Fetter, Mark Reynolds, Lowell North, Malin Burnham, and Pamela Healy, and hold their Olympic medals! Thank you to all the supporters, San Diego Yacht Club, and the US Sailing Team Sperry for a wonderful evening.
A day later, we landed in Amsterdam and began our drive to Glyngøre, Denmark. No such thing as jetlag! The Danish FX teams had invited us to join their training in Denmark, and since they are three teams in the top ten in the world, we couldn’t refuse! Almost all of the Danish Olympic sailors from all Olympic classes were at the week-long training camp. Glyngøre is a small town in a rural area. Its economy used to be centered around fishing, but the town has retained its history and character. For instance, the building where we had our meals and meetings used to be where they boxed all the fish for shipment. Being so far north, it was COLD, and the puffs were powerful (cold and dense air), but at least there was a wood-burning hot tub waiting for us as soon as we got off the water!
During the training we did lots of practice races in a variety of conditions. The Danish team chose this location for its strong current, but on most days we had strong breeze as well. The Danish were very welcoming and open, so we were able to join them for all the meals, debriefs, warmups, and workouts. We stayed in a camper van all week with our Danish FX friends Ida & Marie, and the camping life offers few distractions so it was a very productive week!
When training ended, we enjoyed two days as tourists in Aarhus, Ida & Marie’s hometown. If you ever find yourself there, you must visit Aros (modern art museum), the Moesgaard Museum (Viking museum), and Den Gamle By (‘The Old Town’). We also enjoyed seeing Aarhus’s youth sailing scene at Aarhus Sejlklub. No rest for our bodies, though – we enjoyed bouldering (rock climbing) at Aarhus Boulders, a couple of runs (hill sprints included), and a workout at the Team Denmark gym. By the end of our time in Aarhus we were refereshed and ready to hit the road (11 hours) to Medemblik, the Netherlands!