Winter-Trainingcamp 2011

The Jacobs Rowing Team at the Czech borderThe Jacobs Rowing Team at the Czech border


Close to 5 o’clock in the morning. It’s Sunday the 29th of January. Mark and I were not too late, other members of the rowing team are still dropping in at the parking site on foot, all on foot? No! Johannes cannot resist to use his car. Though late he did not have to do pushups as our coach Lars is even some minutes later…his pushups were postponed as we have to get cracking. So the three rented vans with 24 excited students and Lars with his car headed southward. After 5 and a half hours we reached our destination: the Sportpark Rabenberg. A place which already hosted national teams from various countries. A place which has two swimming halls, several fitness rooms – one with the dreaded ergs – and sports halls and of course good access to a network of cross-country ski-tracks. Which place could be better to change the weight from the christmas duck into muscles? After Lars did his pushups – with Ben’s support – we had our first comprehensive meal out of many. The average woman needs about 2500 calories per day, the average man 500 calories more – we ate that amount every meal – just to be on the safe side.

Right after lunch we got our skies and with some cross-country exercises the training began. Forth and back, up-hill and down-hill. As we finished the exercises early we finalized the training with a short 5 km ski-walk. The proper way of breaking turned out to be a problem. So some nasty spots were like magnets attracting mass-collisions. But yes…snow is yummy despite it’s low calorie level. Furthermore did it serve as water reservoir for all those who did not want to carry bottles along. For recreational purposes a session in the gym / erg room followed. And as some swimming never hurts a one kilometer swim followed. It was interesting to see how red your back can become when sitting directly next to an injector pipe in the recreational pool. First half day survived, at 10 o’clock nearly everyone is in bed… it sounds unbelievable for Jacobs students…yes 10 o’clock!


First real day of the camp. Someone nocked at the door, it is some minutes to 7 o’clock in the morning. The muscles are not aching yet, a good sign? No time, stretching in the sportshall. Martin has a problem with his leg; sport injuries are disastrous, especially if you are training a lot. Every single molecule in your body is crying for more sport, but you simply cannot comply. Breakfast – plate after plate. Another session of exercises for cross-country skiing. A group of kids is training next to us, they are doing similar and also more advanced stuff – outruled by the kids. Lets hope they are not joining us in the gym to show us off. Skiing to the Czech border; snacks in a hut at the border. For the boys the first outing on the ergs – 75 minutes. After that dinner, swimming.
Coming back to the room: reading, sleeping? Sleeping! Good night.


It get’s harder to get up so in the morning. Some blisters at the heels say hello in the morning – lovely morning. Let’s try to drown them in sports. It is snowing outside, the temperature: -1 degrees centigrade. Lars is waxing his skies. The type of snow and the temperature are essential, let’s see what the skies are saying to fresh snow. The long distance cross-country walk is slightly hindered as many ski-tracks are not really prepared. Long trip turns into exhausting distance. Never ate so much for lunch; explosion mechanism nearly triggered. Some free time in the afternoon – I am sleeping in over my book.



Today the long distance walk. In total 20km through the snow. The temperature: a mild -1 centigrade, as yesterday, the wind did stop in the night. For a shorter distance we had to ski through fresh snow, a foot deep and downhill – amazing! In the afternoon we had another erg-session, this time 90 minutes while the girls are weight-lifting. After the first 10 minutes the windows were covered with moisture, after half an hour water started to condense on the floor. We turned the room into a sauna of high humidity; a cleaning lady couldn’t get out fast enough of the room again after entering. After one a half hour everyone had rowed at least for a projected distance of twenty kilometers…together with the cross-country distance nearly a marathon – cool! In the evening Lars presented the list of next semesters’ events to us – there was quite a bit to see.


Temperature: minus 4 degrees centigrade. Another cross-country trip, at one part we were skiing downhill for more than ten minutes with quite a good tempo – in the back of the head the little man started shouting: stupid, every meter down you have to walk up again! He was drowned in snow! In the evening we watched the movie True Blue which portrays one of the epic rowing races between the two universities Oxford and Cambridge. While watching them suffer during the training and in the race one could feel his heart beat accelerate, his hands sweat. The words of the coach sounded like they were directed to us in preparation for the upcoming Hanse Boat Race on the 30th of April:

There is no joy in coming second, because to be second is to be last.

But as Lars already demonstrated to us yesterday, before that race there are quite some other challenges to master. One of the most important: the ErgoCup in two weeks. The winner of the 8-race Jacobs against HSBA can decide upon the lane for the Hanse Boat race. No surprise that the schedule for the next two weeks is filled with outings – there seems to be no life other than rowing.


The last day, one could think that it would be just packing, sleeping a little bit longer having some food and then starting the journey back. But it was quite the contrary: we had to get up even earlier and then we were surprised how much you can pack into 5 hours.: stretching, breakfast, cross-country skiing, erging or gym respectively and then finally showering and our last lunch. When the vans left the Sportpark Rabenberg, we all looked back to a great week full with fun and sports of course. This week of intense training did unleash the fighting spirit once again and to quote from the movie once more: I want Hamburg […] to feel like they came third.

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