The cultural training in Amsterdam was OK – useful, but not as focused as we’d have liked. That is, there was a lot about living in Taiwan, but not a lot of in-depth material about working there, which we really do need. (Questions like, “In a culture where it’s difficult for people to say no, how do you gather informaiton about problems?”)
Amsterdam is always a pleasant city to spend time in, and we were treated to all manner of spectacles in the sky. On the first morning of our training, we were treated to a magnificent rainbow, fully visible outside our classroom window. The entire bow was visible, and it grew brighter for a good twenty minutes or so before it faded. We’d already seen it, but our instructor pointed it out to us again, which gave me a good feeling about her. Our race on Saturday must have been close to a small airport, because there were lots of small planes flying overhead, common back in Arizona but a rarity here. On our way home, we saw hot-air balloons all the way home – we’d no sooner drive past one than we’d see another farther out. I have no idea whether it was some special balloon festival across the country or if we were just lucky.
The race went fairly well. We didn’t win but this is a big national race and lots of the former Olympians and national team members come out for it. Rudder and his partner finished in about the same time as last year, not bad since they’ve been training less and adjusting their style. Rudder was very happy with the resut, though his partner was a bit less so. My fqad keeps getting stroner. We finished right in the middle of the pack (3 of 5) which is good at this level of competition. More importantly, we kept our rate constant all the way through and brought it up a little at the end. We stayed at a 28-29, and it felt strong, not rushed. Our final sprint was only about a 30-31; Roeiste, in stroke, said that the boat was running so well that she didn’t want to change much. (A good decision, I think.)
In the evening we went out to our favorite local Indian plance with my crew, and then came back to our flat to drink wine. I gave them necklaces I’d made in the club colors – they seemed to like them. We will get to row together one more time after all, next Saturday, so it’s not quite goodbye yet.