Our Trip to Belarus

Jul 30, 2010

I recently returned from a week-long trip to Belarus, of which a good half of the time was spent traveling or waiting in lines in the Polish-Belarussion border. You might well ask what prompted such a crazy trip. I went to watch the Under 23 World Rowing Championships in Brest, Belarus with Concept2 co-founder Dick Dreissigacker, who is also my husband. It was partly a business trip and partly a personal trip, as I’ll explain.

The state-of-the-art rowing course at Brest, taken from the 1000 meter mark looking toward the finish. Racing lanes are on the left; warm-up basin is on the right.

First the business part: Concept2 maintains a van and service trailer in Europe for the purpose of providing support for our oar customers at major regattas like this one. Dave and Daniela of our Czech dealership had been at the regatta for several days by the time we got there to help. The service work consists largely of replacing parts such as sleeves, collars and grips—the components of an oar that eventually wear out once enough strokes have been taken. Concept2’s design allows for replacement of these parts so that the oars don’t become obsolete. We provided free upgrades to a lot of well-used oars at this regatta.

We also showed many rowers and coaches how to use the SkiErg. It was fun to see them get the hang of it, and realize that it would make great cross-training since it uses many of the same muscles as rowing but in the opposing direction. And all of this work involved doing our best to converse with customers who spoke a lot of different languages as there were over 50 different countries racing!

The Concept2 service trailer

Dick and I were there for a personal reason, too. Our daughter, Emily, is on the US team, racing in the open women’s quad. This was her second and final year of racing for the US as a U23 athlete. In their heat on Friday, the US caught and passed the Germans to win the heat and move directly to the finals! In the finals on Saturday, Germany kept about a three second lead with the US not far behind in a three-way race for second. As they crossed the line, Russia took the silver and Romania edged out the US by a tenth of a second for the bronze. Missing the medals by a tenth is a really tough place to finish as you can imagine. You keep re-running the race in your head trying to think of a place where you could have gained that little bit. But it was a great finish and a significant step up from last year when the quad finished 9th of 9 boats in the event.

The US in the far lane

Congratulations to the entire the US team for numerous medals, and many hard-fought races. We wish you all the best as you continue to pursue your rowing goals.

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When @jane.erbacher comes to town it’s fair to say a workout with a #SkiErg will be thrown down. #Concept2

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