October 28, 2010
Guest Blogger: Justin Stangel with the latest from New Zealand
Well it doesn't feel like it but looking at my watch we have been here five days now. After taking off from LAX just before midnight on the 21st we arrived in Auckland on the morning of the 23rd. From there we took a bus to our hotel in Hamilton which is about 90 minutes south. The town is nice and is know as a urban farmland area because of all the farms and herds that surround the city. We haven't had time to fully explore the city but from what we have seen it have a nice down town area and the hotel that we are in is very good and has been catering to our needs and providing plenty of tasty food.
The rowing has been going well for all crews as well. The course is a 45 minute bus ride each way which makes it a little draining sometimes, but also allows plenty of time to read books and relax the mind and body. Lake Karapiro is located in the rolling hills of the Waikato region and has given us some gorgeous scenery that I can only describe as what it would be like entering in to Jurassic Park (You would think more Lord of the Rings, but that is more the South Island). While the course has been a bit bumpy with all the crews rowing around we have been able to get some good work done and keep up with our preparations for the competition starting next week. At the course most of the teams have finally shown up from camps around New Zealand and it is interesting hearing all the languages at the athlete restaurant where everyone eats lunch. Also the final construction has been going on with the massive grandstands looking to be almost complete and the surrounding tents starting to fill up.
There has been a good camaraderie within Team USA with lively conversations at meals and lots of cards and movies with fellow teammates. As we all strive to win a gold medal here next week we all realize that it is good to take time out to relax and enjoy each others company.
Thank you everyone back home for all your support, and there will be more to come in the next couple days.