The Royal Henley is one of the best know regattas in the world attracting thousands of visitors to watch over 200 races over a five-day period. The River Thames, the site of the Henley Royal Regatta, is 5, 803,294 million meters from Baltimore.
It would be easy to use the distance between Baltimore and the River Thames, the level of competition at the Royal Henley, as well as a host of other factors, as excuses not to train during the winter months. But if rowing on the River Thames is important, you will find a way to make it happen.
Four former collegiate rowers living in Baltimore and their coxswain are not making excuses. They are finding ways that will facilitate them competing in the 2016 Royal Henley while wearing Baltimore Rowing Club colors. Collectively this winter they have logged over 4,000,000 meters (four million if you are tired of counting zeros) on the erg. (How many meters have you logged in?) They have strength trained, run, and bike all to help them prepare for the level of competition they expect. They have established a budget and are taking steps to raise the necessary funds.
How Josh, John, Alex and Robert met is a story itself. But once the idea of racing in this year’s British Henley was firmly established, all four fully committed to proper preparation to be competitive.
You can follow their training leading up to the Henley on their blog Baltimore Rowing Club – Britannia Challenge Cup and you can support their efforts on the GoFundMe site The Britannia Cup: The Royal Henley.
For two of these men, take a moment and Get to Know…
Where did you row in college: Mostly Bucknell, but I spent every summer rowing elsewhere. I first rowed for BRC in 2008 as a very green novice rower. My only redeeming quality was horsepower and effort. After then I rowed at a sculling development camp in Atlanta Georgia (Atlanta Rowing Club). After that I made my attempt for stardom by training in Charlottesville Virginia with the UVA team for a spot in the U23 national team.
Favorite workout: As insane as it sounds, I love when I have the time to crush 20K on the erg. When you get into a groove erging it feels awesome and effortless. 80 minutes (roughly the time it takes me to do 20K) seems to fly by. By the end of it I feel tired, but I also feel proud that I did it.
Least favorite workout: Almost any Anaerobic threshold workout. For those that don’t know that is when you push your body past the point of being able to simply use your aerobic fitness to accomplish workouts and essentially force your body to accrue lactic acid at an alarming rate. What these workouts are essentially designed to do is make a rower feel like they are going to die, and push past it. Like most people, I don’t like the feeling that I might fail; I like to be in control whenever possible. So from both a physical and mental standpoint, hate the Anaerobic workouts.
Favorite movie, book, or musical group: All really tough questions. I am on a serious superhero kick lately so all the marvel movies are pretty awesome. As somebody of probable Viking ancestry though, got to say that Thor is my favorite. Book… I would have to say fantasy novels. Sort of the same reason I like rowing in a lot of ways actually; it gives me an escape and I can use my imagination. Musical group…this is possibly the hardest question. I have a massive collection of music and my tastes are likely to change, but I can probably say my favorite all time song is “Don’t Fear the Reaper” by the Blue Oyster Cult.
Favorite thing to do when not rowing: When it really comes down to it I am a total nerd, so I really just love playing video games or the casual “Netflix and chill.”
You have known your crew mates less than 12 months. Based on what you know today what nickname would you give each of them? Alex DelSordo, definitely Uncle Alex. He is the oldest and already has 2 kids. Josh: “Business Time” He is just business most of the time. He is direct and tells you exactly the ways things are and are going to be. Robert: Really nice guy, super tough, and really smart. He’s doing an MD PhD at Johns Hopkins and is training with all his spare time for the Henley. As for a nickname, I’m trying to think of something bad ass and super smart, all I’m coming up with is Shaft. Ian: I haven’t even met Ian yet, but all I can picture is the stereotypical coxswain so I guess the Hobbit?
Final words… Why the Henley and what else would you like for the reader to know about you and your goal? As someone who started to row in college without any previous experience at all at even what it is The Henley Royal Regatta sort of stands out in my mind as the pinnacle of a rower’s experience (short of going to the national team). If I can go and have a really good chance of winning a medal then I can feel as if all the time and effort I have put into rowing has been worth it. As I get older I know it will get harder to stay in the kind of shape I am in now and to simply train at this level, so on some level I think that this might be my last big hurrah for rowing. I want to make it count.
Where did you row in college: Yale University (’13). I rowed for the Y150, or the lightweight team. I also rowed at St. Ignatius College Preparatory (’09), in San Francisco.
Favorite workout: Anything short: 6*500/2′ rest is a classic.
Least favorite workout: Hour of power.
Favorite movie, book, or musical group: Movie: An underrated movie I recently saw is Zombieland. It’s a surprisingly good action/comedy. Book: The Goldfinch. Music: Honestly…TSwift
Favorite thing to do when not rowing: Building/designing Legos. I started playing with them as a kid and have continued to do so. I have designed a few of my own creations and have even built a fully remote controlled car using 100% Lego parts.
You have known your crew mates less than 12 months. Based on what you know today what nickname would you give each of them? Alex Del Sordo: Uncle Alex. Kauffman: The Professor. Rob: The Freak. Ian: The Captain
Final words… Why the Henley and what else would you like for the reader to know about you and your goal? It’s been a dream of mine to race at Henley ever since my rowing career began. As a freshmen in high school, I was fortunate enough to witness my high school’s varsity race there, winning the Princess Elizabeth Challenge Cup in 2006. That piqued my interest and the thought of racing there slowly kindled over the following years. While in college, I saw my teammates race in the Temple Cup in 2011 and that really drove my desire for my last two collegiate years. We almost sent an 8+ my senior year but ultimately did not and so I attended as a spectator (’13). I honestly thought that I would not race at the regatta but once I arrived in Baltimore, the pieces have fallen into place and we decided to make one last push before life conflicted with this dream. I enjoy rowing as a sport but there is nothing better than a chance to enter the arena and compete, especially on the world stage.