Ursula Grobler: racing at US Rowing trials

Ursula Grobler was trying to get 3 boat selections Lightweight 1x, 2x and 4x for her first US international rowing season.

The thing that really struck me from Jet Li’s movie, Fearless was when he talked about competition. His challenger came to drink tea and asked “why compete?” There they were, the two of them drinking tea, calm and relaxed, when over the next days they would be fighting in an arena, to death!

Well Jet Li’s answer to why he competes is something I take to heart. He said

only in competition do we get the opportunity to bring out the best of ourselves.

I remember something Nicole Sylvester once said. Something about how training, and rowing and competing defines our character. The things is, when I put myself on the line, it generates so much awareness. I feel so fortunate to have this awareness about myself. With changing to paleo, that brought about an extreme awareness of lifestyle. With studying graphic design, it makes you look at every sign, trying to identify the font and leading. And now with rowing, to be so aware of your body and mind connection.

Trials went sort of to plan, with one thing gained and another lost. A loss to Julie Nichols [in LW1x] and a crab with 700m to go in the quad.

My Final number 2 was in tail, and I didn’t move the boat with the momentum needed for those conditions and for this competitor. I took a short lead in the first 500m, but Julie pushed back. I felt her even with me, and then I felt her push off me, and this day, couldn’t catch her. Feeling a little despaired, my Bellingham Bandit team mates waited for me at the dock. I did feel like I had let them down. However, no time for that because in 20min we had a race. We lined up next to the strong-orange Hudson LW quad. Captain Kristin speaking for us counted off the start strokes. All going down the course, gripping oars for death in the rough water. Suddenly, there is Kristin’s port oar right next to me. I looked over and thought, this is not possible. Kristin yelling, keep rowing. A clashing of oars, and I’m still thinking, how do I knock that oar back to her. Can I row with three oars? Kristin surged forward and suddenly we were off. In this crabbing session, I saw the other boat feel the sudden adrenalin of trying to take lead advantage of our misfortune. But within 10 strokes, we were out front again, and crossed the line first to send that quad to New Zealand!

Photo of the “Bellingham bandits” racing from Row2k

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