**Note – John had technical issues sending us his Friday’s Blog. We apologies for the delay in posting this, however after several attempts at sending, we finally received Sunday night.

First, I want to say I seem to have done a half hearted job on yesterday’s (Thursday’s) blog. I think it’s because I was on my last legs (five minutes after sending it I was asleep), I will try and rectify this tonight.

Firstly, two apologies to Grumpy Mike for stealing his thunder, apparently he was about to recount the Ron Clark story in the pub after training and everyone said they read it in John’s blog don’t bother, sorry Mike (I should point out though, that in marathon week we all tell the same stories every year so I don’t see why it was an issue). Secondly, I posted your Elvis motivational speech yesterday.  I made a couple of comments but should have finished with, as the great coach you are and always have been, you are quite right to point out that I shouldn’t even be thinking about quitting, it only leads to failure. Thank you for giving me the kick in the pants I needed to get me on the right track.

Secondly, I don’t think I explained clearly why I was so frustrated yesterday even though my mileage was good. It was the reverse of Wednesday, which started bad but finished well and left hope for the morning. Thursday started well and got worse all day, leading to frustration and a lack of any hope for today.  It’s a strange thing this rowing business, your confidence is only as good as your last session.

So that leads me on to today, well last night actually. There are some benefits to calming weather, one which is is sleep.  As I said, 5 minutes after sending my blog I was asleep.  Slept until 4:20am, 10 minutes before my alarm.  Felt a lot better (relatively).  Strangely the overnight drift wasn’t a disaster, but with slow water it was going to be tough cracking 40nm.  Oars in at 5am.   First 3.25 hours were slow and bumpy.  Difficult in the dark when you tend to row with your ears, listening for sound of the waves and trying to catch what you can.  Anyway, the result was a struggling 7.4 miles, 4 of those plus the overnight would be just 40nm.

Second session started just as tough.  In my weather report, Tony had said the NW current should turn W at some point soon. I was hoping so. The wind was getting lighter and lighter and the boat heavier and heavier. I had to make a change or it would drive me mad. I have been fiddling about with my rowing position on all my trips, looking for the perfect position.  Turns out there isn’t one. In fact there is a perfect position for each set of conditions.  I’d moved my foot plate forward 10 days or so ago to get a deeper catch, then I had to move it back when the weather picked up as I couldn’t swing the oar handle past my chest on big waves.  So I moved it forward again for the deep catch and it improved my speed by 0.5 knots.  Then the wind increased a little and I was moving along quite nicely (comparatively), managed 8.4nm in the second session (doesn’t sound a lot but it’s a big difference).

Session three, off I go and about 1:30pm the boat feels lighter and despite a dropping wind and scorching heat I made 8.1nm. All three sessions had been 3:15 minutes long, I did just three hours in my last outing and made 8.4nm.  With a little bit of drift before 9pm I was in the mid 40’s so a better outcome than expected. The wind is predicted to be even lighter tomorrow so we will have to see what happens.

Friday is a special day on the boat, normal end of day procedure goes something like this:

  • Finish rowing
  • Stowed oars
  • Put seat and sheepskin away
  • Clean boat (I wipe down everything I can reach with fresh water as the salt build up is massively corrosive)
  • Fill in log book
  • Clean me
  • Fill water bottles for morning
  • Make water
  • Make food
  • Tidy cabin
  • Unpack sleeping quarters (I stow my mattress, sleeping bag and clothes at the back of the cabin in the day to keep them clean and dry)
  • Take medication
  • Answer messages
  • Write blog
  • Set course in GPS for next day
  • Brush teeth
  • Set alarm
  • Sleep

On Fridays I get to:

  • Have a shave, to save weight I only brought enough blades to shave once a week.
  • Flip mattresses, I do this once a week to stop it getting damp and growing mould.
  • And Friday is injection day, I have to have an injection once a week as well as the daily tablets to keep my arthritis in check. I have felt my wrists and elbows suffering a lot this week, so despite not liking the process the relief will be good.

So other than to explain the title, I think that while technically I’m not in California anymore, I haven’t seen rain at all on this trip.  There was some lightening early on but it didn’t rain. This morning was very overcast and grey, I felt just a few spots as it was getting light and nothing more. The sky cleared and it was roasting hot, then this evening it got grey and I could see rain in the distance, again I felt a few drops and it was pushed south of me. So it’s true, it never rains in sunny California.

That’s it for today.




Mike: I will send a session Sunday when the girls are home to pass it on, we don’t want people to read about it in the blog do we?

Marie: don’t talk much actually, there are lots of storage voices in my head and I have had a couple of phone conversations. Enjoy the lake.