The isle of Portland, situated just south of Weymouth was previously occupied by the Royal Air force and was a tactical location for many famous World War II battles. Portland harbor was a crucial embarkation point for the allied forces on the D – Day invasion. The British Air Force occupied Portland harbor up until 1995 then, from that point on, the harbor has been primarily used as a sailing and recreational venue. The isle of Portland, which is no more than 4 miles long and 2 miles wide houses two prisons; however, prior to 2005, there was a prison boat situated in Portland harbor, so until just recently there were actually three prisons in the area no bigger than 8 square miles. To add to the quirkiness of this island, the word “rabbit” is so offensive to locals, that in 2005 when there were national advertisements for the Wallace and Grommet film, The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, locals demanded that the name be changed for all advertisements placed on Portland. The superstition is believed to originate from workers at the island's rock quarries who saw rabbits escape from under the rocks only moments before the rocks would slip ultimately causing a landslide. A good comparisson to the isle of Portland is the island in the movie Shutter Island, it has a very eerie feel.
Despite all of these strange and unique characteristics, this venue is a spectacular place to train. In preparation for the Pre Olympic Regatta, our group has been following a similar program to what we were running a month ago. We have ventured on long, scenic bike rides lasting up to 3 hours in addition to putting valuable time in on the water. My goals for this training camp were to get a bit stronger on the board, which was an issue at the last regatta as fatigue set in quite early, and test some equipment for the pre Olympic regatta in addition to the World Championships in Perth, December. Thus far I am pleased with my progress and I am looking forward to competing again at the Olympic venue.
The Olympic Test event is part of the London Prepares series. Every four years, one year before the Olympic Games, the Olympic organizers put on Test Events for sporting events that require extensive amounts of logistical, financial and technological planning. Other sports participating in the London Prepares series include basketball, mountain biking, road cycling and a few more. The event itself is primarily for the organizers to test their systems; however, it provides the athletes with a chance to see how the schedule will be managed and how the races will be run for the 2012 Olympics.
Prior to my England departure a few weeks ago, I participated in a press conference at the Mexican Consulate in Chicago. The purpose of the press conference was to highlight and create excitement for the upcoming 2011 Pan American Games. I met the Mexican Counsul General and the press conference was an exciting and new opportunity for me.
Updated on May 19, 2013, 10:31am