Winter Camp in Ratzeburg 18.1. till 22.1.

by Mathew Hunter


Training Weekend at Ratzeburg

On January 18th – 22nd members of the Jacobs University Rowing Team completed their annual Winter Training Camp. This year’s destination was the Ruderakademie in Ratzeburg. It was here that in the first few stages we were fortunate to meet our new co-coach Hannah and welcomed her to the team. Welcome Hannah!! After a few little glitches in the preparation of the vehicles we set forth for our week(end) of intense training. The approximate two hour drive with fellow members to the academy was a great segue in to what would be a terrific training camp and team bonding experience. Filled with great discussions ranging from broad topics like cultural backgrounds and music to very unique discussions like alternative medicinal applications of quark, we eventually arrived at the academy and were presented with the first of many fantastic meals we would eat over the course of the week.

After dinner we partnered off in to roommates and settled in to our recovery rooms; however, we did not waste much time and we were off to get acquainted with the workout facilities. Changed and ready to go we entered the facility for some light stretching and a small cardio workout. The facility boasted a large gymnasium that is slightly partitioned to hold multiple ERG rowing machines and a weight room that was perfect for our team members (See pictures). Most impressive about the gym was that one of the main walls was made out of glass and overlooked the neighbouring lake. As we arrived at night this was not truly appreciated until the next morning. So off to bed we went with most of the team members not falling asleep until 1:00 as a result of continued discussions, or being situated between the rooms of people who were continuing discussions, despite having to start the day at 8:00.

8:00 am: Breakfast – The day started off chipper as we had yet to experience anything too exhausting. We had some light hearted conversation before our first physical test, hearing about how everyone slept and how Michael’s possessed appliances wake people up at 5:00 am. Lars reviewed the training for the day/weekend/year trying to keep all as excited as possible about ERGing for 70’ and circuit weight training for 2 hours.

9:00 – 12:00. We entered the gym on what was a beautiful sunny morning which really emphasized the great view out the windows. After doing three rounds of 15 weight training exercises targeting what seemed to be every possible muscle, we finished and then did some stretching. Thanks to Domingo and his football, we were also able (for those who still had the energy) to shoot the ball a bit before lunch. The combination of football, lunch and the rumor that there was a sauna here gave people the energy for the marathon ERG session that was approaching.

14:00 – 17:00 For the majority of the freshies who had only completed a maximum of 40’ ERG sessions, this 75’ seemed impossible; however, with Lars’s encouragement we made it through. From now on 40’ sessions would never be the same. The view of the lake while ERGing definitely helped. One can only imagine staring at a nothing but your screen for 75 minutes. I feel that is somewhere in our future though..Lars?

As we did on most days after the afternoon session and before dinner, we took part in a team sport. This time, it was Hockey. I think my Canadian heritage was evident with just the thought of playing hockey. Despite the majority of the group never playing before and being in pain from the tough day, everyone put forth a great effort, demonstrated natural athleticism, and most importantly seemed to have fun. It was one of the most enjoyable games I have ever taken part in :) Thanks guys!

After a shower, dinner, and what came to be a physical savior over the course of the training week – the sauna – everyone was rejuvenated for a wild night on the town in ….Ratzeburg? Although not very big, it is a nice quaint town. It was a chilly night and at first we weren’t sure where to head, but after the friendly locals pointed us the right direction we found a place to have a few drinks with some good banter.

Day 2

8:00 am. It was now evident that we had experienced a day of training. The majority of the discussions at breakfast were in the form of….”this is where I hurt”. Despite the pain, we still seemed enthusiastic and were getting prepped for the first 8 km run around the lake.

9:00 – 12:00. While not all could take part, those fortunate enough were treated with a scenic view during the run. Although chilly at first, you were warm within 10 minutes of the run. I’m happy to report that all made the run without walking or falling on the ice :) Congrats!! After the run, we met up in the gym with those that were ERGing or had gone swimming in town, and headed for another session in the weight room. While energy seemed to be draining faster, we still powered through. It was at the end of this where the freshies got their first glimpse at Flying Dutchmen. Lars again was remaining optimistic and always focusing on the benefits of all these exercises.

During lunch we were very fortunate to be visited by the new president of the university. Dr. Heinz-Otto Peitgen specifically flew in from Bremen to visit us. For those that were fortunate enough to speak with him, he told us of his success’ in life and how he achieved them. He also spoke very passionately about flying and, thanks to Domingo, if we win the ERGOcup we will be flying high in the skies with him!! Let’s do it guys!!!

14:00 – 17:00. After another magnificent lunch and a bit of a rest in between, which some chose to nap, some chose to learn guitar or mandolin (Thanks for Domingo’s toys) or just a little R and R, we headed back to another 70’ on the ERGs. Again, seeming every more daunting than ever, we survived. Great work guys!

After another round of dinner, we then said goodbye to some of our members, due to classes. We finished the night in the sauna once again, and returned to our recovery rooms.

Day 3

8:00 am. I am sure if you calculated the speed at which our members walked after the two days it would be decreasing exponentially. The second day always seems to hurt the most. After staggering through to breakfast, we quietly had breakfast. One had even over slept. However, despite the general calm, Marlou always seemed to be smiling and excited to start the day.

We followed the breakfast with weightlifting and some Flying Dutchmen. Not an eventful day, but nonetheless another victory once completed. Despite the pain, the small victories of completing each section were great. No pain, No gain :)

Rest of the Day

Another 70’. Done!! Now for some more football!

At dinner although the pain was at pinnacle, the dining experience this night was heavily dominated with discussions about undeveloped personal identification technologies. Specifcially Domingo’s idea for Fingerprintlike Aroma Recognition Technology – good luck with this!! This was the final evening for all and we celebrated once again with a marathon session in the sauna. This evening, many of the members involuntarily opted to try the hot sauna / cold water relaxation technique. It seemed be very effective as almost everyone was in high spirits upon completion.

The final day involved a second run around the lake, however, the tough and wild terrain proved difficult for one member. At the beginning of the run, he fell victim to the ice and had to walk back, with the assumption that the group would meet with him back at the facility, however, this was not the case. Upon return, the question arose….” ‘Where’s Domingo?…..’ ‘I don’t know’…. ‘Should we go back for him?’…. ‘Its ok, he’ll be fine, he speaks German’… ‘I guess I’ll go look for him’ (Thanks Adriana)“ Thankfully all was well.

After this fiasco, we headed for lunch and some of us headed home, which sounded easier than it was. Getting on the wrong train does not get you home faster, who knew?

It was at this point that all the freshies received their new rowing team jackets, in what seemed like a small rite of passage to the team. Very sharp looking and will be worn with pride!! After lunch the remaining members of the team completed more ERGing, dinner and home in the van. Mission Accomplished!!

As the purpose of this weekend was to start the new year in a positive direction with respect to physical training and preparation for upcoming events and strengthening the group bond and cohesion, I would say that it was extremely successful. It was a great start to what will hopefully be a successful season!!! Congratulations guys!!

Special Thanks

I would just like to give thanks to the staff at the Ratzeburg Akadamie; specifically, the head chef, who always provided great meals, and always willing to fill our requests for more with a smile. She really helped make this a great week.

Thanks to our sponsors who allowed this week to take place. Your constant support is always appreciated and I think the results of this will show this new year.

Thanks to the captains (Adriana, Ahmed, Ulla) for providing the positive leadership throughout the training week, which helped us succeed both individually and as a team. Also, specifically thanks to Ahmed for being the designated racing chauffeur for the team even when becoming ill. It was very much appreciated.

Thanks to Domingo for always providing the lighter side of the week, whether it was through the toys or instigation of many great discussions. To Marlou, for always seeming cheery and positive every morning. To Michael, for demonstrating how much this week and team meant to him by physically taking home a memento by branding himself in the sauna. To Kerst, for setting the bar and rhythm of the ERG sessions. To Jannis and Andrei for setting the platen and bar, respectively, in the weight room. And to all other members who came and gave full effort and were also critical in establishing group cohesion (Karim, Ioana, Pauline). Thanks.

And, last but not least, Lars. Thank you for your continued dedication to the team in every aspect. It is always nice to see the coach completing the exercises and drills with us. It truly does provide extra motivation. Whether it is providing physical or mental coaching, or taking care of the logistics of the team, we all thank you.