Friday, October 31, 2014

Today in the Desert


 
My daughter's band had a gig in Las Vegas tonight, so we loaded up the "family truckster" last night and took off across the desert.
This morning I met with the manager of my Lake Las Vegas operation, talked boat maintenance, and I snapped a few shots of the tail-piece of one of my gondolas.
 

We operate in some extreme conditions out in Nevada:
winds can whip in at 30-40 MPH, and the temperature sometimes tops out at 120 degrees.
Imagine how much of the sun's energy a black boat absorbs out here.
Needless to say, this is not an optimum rowing environment either.

It takes the right kind of boat to handle such conditions.
To read more about these unusual boats, check out
"Seahorse in the Desert"
and "The Unusual Gondolas on Lake Las Vegas".

Tandem Sprint!

photos by Elisa Mohr

After we finished the slalom competition, everyone loaded up the boats and rowed down river to an open area that was perfect for the races that Marcello had in mind.
That day we did the solo distance race on two gondolas, while a tandem sprint time trial took place on a separate boat.
Video of this race was not easy to get, but I managed to snag a few decent takes.
Here's a short clip of Joe and Steve from Gondola di Venezia in Boston at the top of the course:
video

You may have noticed that the gondoliers standing on the bridge raise and wave their hats as soon as the ferro emerges from the bridge - this signals the timekeeper to start the clock.

Third place was claimed by Bepi and Ricardo of Sunset Gondola.
video

Second place was the team of Marcello and his brother Alessandro - who would "wow" us all even more in the distance version.
Video of this race was not retrievable, but I managed to snap a shot of them as they neared the end of their run.

The fastest run of the series was that of Cole and Eric ("The Snapper") of The Gondola Company in Coronado, California.
Halfway through the clip, you can see Marcello and Alessandro rowing upriver at the beginning of their head-to-head contest in the solo distance event.
video

Tandem Sprint - complete results
Place  Name                                      Origin                             Time
1.             Eric “Enrico” Bender                 San Diego, CA                  1:37.6
         Cole “Colombo” Hanson            San Diego, CA
 
2.     Alexander “Alessandro” Haynes  Providence, RI                 1:40.7
        Matthew “Marcello” Haynes        Providence, RI
 
3.     Richard “Ricardo” Corbaley         Huntington Beach, CA       1:41.2
        Tim “Bepi” Reinard                    Huntington Beach, CA   
 
4.     John “Giovanni” Kerschbaum       Stillwater, MN                   1:44.7
        “Gondola Greg” Mohr                  Newport Beach, CA
 
5.     Greg “Rafaello” Coffey                 Providence, RI                  1:48.1
        Tim “Amadeo” Coffey                  Providence, RI
 
6.     Adam “Ivano” Alves                    Providence, RI                   1:55.8
        Bryan “the Mainiac”
 
7.     Miles “Fabrizio” Disney                Providence, RI                   1:59.3
        William “Alberto” Oberg               Providence, RI
               
8.     Charlie “Carlo”                            Boston, MA                        2:05.0
        Tony “Antonio”                           Boston, MA
               
9.     Steve “Stefano” Bruno                 Boston, MA                        2:19.0
        Joe “Giuseppe” Gibbons               Boston, MA                       
 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

One Big HOORAY on the Bay


Last night, the baseball stadium may have been empty in San Francisco,
but the fans were all glued to their TV screens, waiting to see if the game in Kansas City would fall their way...and it did.

Shortly after 8pm in the Bay Area there was one big collective "HOORAY!"
for the San Francisco Giants - World Series champions again.
As a So Cal guy it is religiously forbidden to root for a Nor Cal team,
but all the same, congrats are in order.

So in the spirit of things, here are two shots, taken a couple days ago,
in the shadow of the famous Golden Gate bridge.
My friend Scott Davies has been diligently setting up shop there,
and here we see living proof of a gondola in the bay.


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Slalom!

photo by Elisa Mohr

As the U.S. Gondola Nationals took place this year in Providence, it was fitting that the first event we kicked off with was the slalom - a contest unique to the conditions of the Providence and Woonasquatucket rivers. 

Each year this beautiful waterway serves as the stage for an event known as "Waterfire" - one which I will make an attempt to describe in a future post, but I fear that words will not do it justice.

The centerpiece of Waterfire is a string of fire pits that are permanently situated, usually down the center of the waterway.  As you might imagine, they make a great obstacle course (when they're not on fire).

On Saturday morning Marcello explained the course to everyone,
and then we took turns rowing through it.

John Kerschbaum working an expert turn.
photo by Elisa Mohr

This was a really fun race.
Most of the competitors who were from out of town had never attempted such a course, and it was a great test of boat handling skills.

We began at the dock, with only a one foot-push to get started.
Next it was a straight shot down under the Steeple Street bridge,
a quick U-turn around the central bridge support,
and back under the bridge.

Emerging from the Steeple Street bridge, the slalom portion begins.
It's a back and forth between every other fire pit.
At the end of the slalom you make a right turn before the Exchange Street bridge, and it's a sprint back to the dock.

 William "Alberto" Oberg begins the straight shot back to dock.
photo by Elisa Mohr

"Boston Charlie" in action nearing the last turn.
 
This first video clip has no sound.
Providence gondolier "Rosario" shows us how it's done here:
video
 
I saw an opportunity to bring back the Strap Cam for this event.
This device is the great-great-grandpa of today's GoPro cameras
(and it shows in the quality),
but it is fun to watch things from the "ferro's point of view".

Here's a Strap Cam clip from Tim "Bepi" Reinard's run:
video
To see more of the Strap Cam in action, check out:

My friend Eric Bender (The "Snapper") brought in the winning time on
this event - quite a thing considering that he rowed that waterway for
the first time on Friday night, and had not rowed the slalom through
those fire pits until his run.

Here's a video clip from the top of the course.
From this angle, the boat disappears for a while under the bridge,
so I edited that part out to eliminate the "boring factor".
I also took the liberty of throwing in a soundtrack from a familiar source.
video

Medals for first, second, and third place were given out at the awards banquet on Sunday night.

 Tim "Amadeo" Coffey receiving his medal from Marcello,
with Luciano to the left.

From left to right:
Amadeo, Eric Bender, Marcello.
 
The slalom was an event that I really just "thought I'd try for the fun of it".
As it turned out, it was a rewarding and challenging experience.

Here are the complete results.

Single Slalom - complete results

Place  Name                                      Origin                             Time
1.      Eric “Enrico” Bender                  San Diego, CA                 3:55.41

2.      Matthew “Marcello” Haynes        Providence, RI                 3:58.18

3.      Tim “Amadeo” Coffey                Providence, RI                 4:17.16

4.      Greg “Rafaello” Coffey               Providence, RI                 4:22.15

5.       Adam “Ivano” Alves                 Providence, RI                 4:23.38

6.      Alexander “Alessandro” Haynes  Providence, RI                 4:23.98
7.      “Gondola Greg” Mohr                 Newport Beach, CA          4:36.0
8.       Russell “Rosario” Venditto         Providence, RI                 4:37.53
9.       Tim “Bepi” Reinard                   Huntington Beach, CA      4:41
10.     John “Giovanni” Kerschbaum     Stillwater, MN                 4:41.35
11.     Richard “Ricardo” Corbaley        Huntington Beach, CA      4:49
12.     Cole “Colombo” Hanson             San Diego, CA                 4:58
13.     Joe “Giuseppe” Gibbons             Boston, MA                     5:23
14.     Tony “Antonio”                         Boston, MA                      5:59
15.     Charlie “Carlo”                          Boston, MA                      6:23
16.     William “Alberto” Oberg             Providence, RI                 7:00

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Standings!

photo by John Kerschbaum

The official scores are in!
I spoke earlier today with Marcello - who, after a year of planning, preparing, and executing this year's U.S. Gondola Nationals,
has more than earned a nap.
Marcello told me that his one priority today outside of sleep and spending time with his baby daughter, was to get the official scores out.

Here they are!
As they were announced in the awards ceremony,
I'm including the top five finishers in each category.
In future posts, I may include complete lists for each event.

Single Sprint
Place  Name                                 Origin                           Time
1.       Eric “Enrico” Bender            San Diego, CA               1:36.51

2.       Richard “Ricardo” Corbaley  Huntington Beach, CA    1:40.68
3.      Tim “Bepi” Reinard               Huntington Beach, CA    1:44.06

4.     Cole “Colombo” Hanson         San Diego, CA               1:45.81
5.     Adam “Ivano” Alves              Providence, RI               1:45.93




Single Distance
Place Name                               Origin                       Time
1.     Eric “Enrico” Bender           San Diego, CA            19:24.91

2.     Richard “Ricardo” Corbaley Huntington Beach, CA 19:42.15

3.     Alexander “Alessandro” Haynes  Providence, RI     21:16.96

4.     Matthew “Marcello” Haynes Providence, RI            21:47.46

5.     Tim “Amadeo” Coffey         Providence, RI            21:56.8


 
Tandem Sprint
Place  Name                                      Origin                             Time
1.             Eric “Enrico” Bender                 San Diego, CA                  1:37.6
        Cole “Colombo” Hanson            San Diego, CA
2.     Alexander “Alessandro” Haynes  Providence, RI                 1:40.7
        Matthew “Marcello” Haynes        Providence, RI
3.     Richard “Ricardo” Corbaley         Huntington Beach, CA       1:41.2
        Tim “Bepi” Reinard                    Huntington Beach, CA   
 
4.     John “Giovanni” Kerschbaum       Stillwater, MN                   1:44.7
        “Gondola Greg” Mohr                  Newport Beach, CA
5.     Greg “Rafaello” Coffey                 Providence, RI                  1:48.1
        Tim “Amadeo” Coffey                  Providence, RI


Tandem Distance
Place  Name                                      Origin                             Time
1.      Alexander “Alessandro” Haynes Providence, RI                   16:32.27
         Matthew “Marcello” Haynes       Providence, RI
2.      Eric “Enrico” Bender                 San Diego, CA                    17:13.70
         Cole “Colombo” Hanson            San Diego, CA                   
3.      Richard “Ricardo” Corbaley       Huntington Beach, CA          17:17.43
         Tim “Bepi” Reinard                   Huntington Beach, CA   
4.      John “Giovanni” Kerschbaum     Stillwater, MN                     17:41.40
         “Gondola Greg” Mohr                Newport Beach, CA       
 
5.      Adam “Ivano” Alves                  Providence, RI                    19:01.75
         Tim “Amadeo” Coffey                Providence, RI                  
 
Single Slalom
Place  Name                                      Origin                             Time
1.      Eric “Enrico” Bender                  San Diego, CA                 3:55.41
2.      Matthew “Marcello” Haynes        Providence, RI                 3:58.18
3.      Tim “Amadeo” Coffey                Providence, RI                 4:17.16
4.      Greg “Rafaello” Coffey               Providence, RI                 4:22.15
5.       Adam “Ivano” Alves                 Providence, RI                 4:23.38

Sunday, October 26, 2014

And That's a Wrap!


Day two of the U.S. Gondola Nationals is over.
The racing is finished,
     the medals awarded,
          and the celebrating continues as I write this.

This installment of the annual event has come to a close.

Everyone who competed brought their best to the contest,
representing their home ports well.
And everyone who rowed should be proud of their performances.
The winds gave us all some added challenges on the water today,
but we enjoyed a second day without rain - not bad considering the precipitation that fell in the days leading up to the weekend.

I have to give big props to Marcello and the staff of La Gondola - they made us all feel welcome in Providence.
The whole weekend was run expertly, and Marcello made it look easy.

Hundreds of photos were shot today, and when I return home,
I promise you will see many of them, along with selected video clips.

As for the results, I expect to be able to post them tomorrow.
But now, this gondolier needs some sleep!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Day at the Races


It's hard to put into words just how awesome it was to be a gondolier in Providence today.
Then again, it's hard to simply keep my eyes open.
Suffice to say that there will be MANY posts in the future about the goings on this weekend.
In the meantime, here are a few images from the day.

 
 






 
 

Friday, October 24, 2014

Friday Night in Providence


This evening, a few of us gondoliers from California and Minnesota 
showed up on the docks in Providence, to exchange hugs with our 
friends from Rhode Island, and spend a little time rowing together 
and getting to know the boats we'll be competing on tomorrow and Sunday.

Here are a few shots I snapped (when I wasn't rowing).

Our hosts prepping a boat for passengers.

Marcello chats with passengers.

Gondolier and accordionist share a laugh.

 Richie from Sunset Gondola in California rowing a cruise.

Fall leaves adrift on the river.