Permanent link for GVSU Rowing Club � Spring Break Blogs 2022 - Day 8 � Saturday, March 12th on March 14, 2022
Miles Hagmeyer – Varsity Man
We wouldn’t be able to call it a Grand Valley Rowing experience if it didn’t go out with a bang. After a week of high intensity seat racing and high training volume, the team was about to see its first spring 2k race in almost two years. The day began sunny and windy, but the weather has never stopped us before. I launched as the stroke seat of the men’s 1v8, prepared to take on Clemson on their fully buoyed 2k course. The wind continued ramping up as we ran the pre-race warmup, and while getting alignment, we knew conditions would be far from ideal.
We sat at even, and when the flag dropped, we pried the boat up to speed cleanly. It wasn’t until we reached the first 500 meter mark that both crews realized this was going to be more of a battle against the elements than against each other. Waves began to whitecap, and we fought to maintain composure as water crashed over our riggers. With 500m left to the finish, we entered a less protected portion of the course and were hit by the full force of a 30 mile-per-hour crosswind. The men persevered, and we crossed the finish line soaking wet and with water almost filling the hull.
The row back to the dock consisted mostly of bailing water out of the shell, but spirits were still high. The feeling of warm water and lactic acid couldn’t have been sweeter, knowing that your teammates were experiencing the same for you. All in all, it was a lesson not to fight the losing battle against an angry mother nature that we probably still wouldn’t learn. When the trailer was loaded and wet clothes were replaced with their dry counterparts, we departed on the van ride home, knowing this would be another unforgettable piece of the coveted spring racing season of Grand Valley Rowing.
Maria Rueda-Rodriguez – Varsity Woman
The last day in Clemson also meant race day for us. My day started at 6 am when my alarm woke me up. I got ready for the day and headed to the lobby for breakfast. For breakfast, I had a bagel with butter and apple juice. After breakfast, I loaded my stuff into our van, and we headed to Clemson for our scrimmage against them.
We arrived at Clemson where the weather was not the best for racing, unfortunately. The plan was to race a 2k and some shorter 500m sprint pieces. We entered one varsity men’s eight, two varsity women’s eights, one novice women’s eight, and a novice men’s eight as well. I was in one of the women’s varsity boats. Due to strong winds and water currents, the racing was rough. We didn’t get to do the short race pieces, and right after our 2k races we had to go back to the dock. After getting back to land, we de-rigged all the boats and loaded the trailer so we could head back home.
Once we were done loading the trailer, we all got in our vans and stopped for lunch in downtown Clemson. I had pizza for lunch with other teammates, and then it was time to hit the road. I was not excited to have to sit and drive for twelve hours, but we got home safely and had some fun times along the way!
Jacob Galloway – Novice Man
The last day of the trip started by packing the vans with our luggage and a quick breakfast before one last row at Clemson. We had a quick 2k scrimmage against Clemson on some very choppy water. The weather was not in our favor today. Temperatures in the 40s and wind gusts around 45 mph made for a difficult row. I was in a mixed 8+ with some of my teammates and some of Clemson’s crew. We raced against Clemson novice men on one side and Grand Valley novice men on the other. The first 1500 meters of the race was decent with some current rocking the boat, but the last 500m was unlike anything I’ve rowed in previously. Water was overflowing the boats as we raced along the course fighting the wind and the current. Thankfully, we finished, but with soaked clothes and shivers. It was quite an experience!
After a treacherous docking because of the wind, we made it back to land and seemingly dumped gallons of water out of the boats. Then, it was all hands on deck to de-rig the boats and pack up the trailer. Once again, the weather was not on our side - lots of wind and numb hands from the cold. Afterwards, each van went off to one last lunch in busy downtown Clemson. My van went to Moe’s Southwest Grill (similar to Chipotle), and I had a delicious burrito bowl.
Finally, it was time to fill the vans with gas and head north back to Grand Rapids. Driving through the Carolina and Tennessee mountains was beautiful, especially with some added snow. The vans stopped for stretching, gas, and snacks every three hours. I bought way too much sugar, but it’s spring break, so I can’t be hard on myself. The ride itself was filled with short naps and playing Monopoly. Dinner was a grilled chicken club sandwich and waffle fries from Chick-fil-A around Lexington, Kentucky. There were no lines, as opposed to the Michigan locations.
Soon, we resumed and the road became flat and dark as we drove through Indiana and west Michigan back to Grand Valley. Finally, we arrived at 4:00 am Sunday morning! Now, time for some sleep and resuming practice on the Grand River. Great work this week!
Alyssa Cassie – Novice Woman
I woke up and started my day around 6:15am. This morning was earlier than usual because we had to load the vans as this was the day that we headed home. However, before heading home, we had one final practice in Clemson which consisted of a 2k race against their team. We were all pretty pumped for this race until our boats hit the water. Our initial warmup was pretty smooth and less worrisome, but when we finally reached the racecourse, a wide open area with less land to block the wind, reality hit. Our pre-race warm up became very rocky as we attempted to pull through the waves and as we worked through our bursts, an unsettling feeling set in. As we sat and waited for our race, our coxswain had to consistently readjust our boat as the wind carried us. Our turn to race finally arrived, so we got ourselves situated at the starting line. We began the race pretty strong with only a few minor complications, but as the race went on, we gradually began to feel the small wrath of the waves. Our race was stopped early because of the waves, and we ultimately ended up in last place. After the race, we continued to fight our way through the waves, working as a team to head back to the docks. After getting splashed from all angles and hopping out of the boat already more wet than preferred, we lifted the boat filled with water only to become drenched and freezing in the strong gusts of wind. Immediately post-strapping down the boat, our coach released us to change into dry clothes, and then we were to help derig and load the trailer. After all was said and done, we grabbed some lunch and headed back to campus.
During the early hours of our 13 hour trip home, my van decided to start the trip with a game. Each person was to say a sentence that added onto the last person’s in an attempt to create a story. The first few sentences had so many surprising elements that one of the members decided to start writing it all down. The story contained myriad plot twists and out-of-left-field details that we couldn’t help but laugh at throughout that time. Once we finished the story and our writer read it back to us, we deemed it worthy of being shared with the rest of the team. We made stops every few hours to switch drivers. During one of the last couple of stops, we motivated each other, with no other option, to hold on for the last home stretch. After what felt like forever, we finally arrived back on campus to find snow and freezing weather, and so we each hurried home after collecting all of our belongings from a long and successful trip.