A year ago we were all regrouping, reveling, and recovering
from the fourth US Gondola Nationals in Newport Beach, California.
Like two years prior in Huntington Harbour,
we'd enjoyed remarkable weather.
But last November our sights were trained
on a whole new piece of geography:
We talked about packing long johns,
about how cold it gets in the Twin Cities,
and wondered if we might even end up rowing in gloves
with snow falling on the decks.
Arriving a few days prior to the weekend,
a few of us were happy to find seasonably mild conditions.
It wasn't Miami, but it was nice,
and we hoped it would stay that way through the weekend.
Saturday morning was darn near perfect.
Host John Kerschbaum had everything ready,
and the hospitality of that small Midwestern town was exemplary.
We awoke to cool temps and zero wind.
Smoke from a distant smokestack showed a slow drift.
Flags in town seemed to sleep as they hung from their poles.
It might get windy tomorrow, but it wasn't happening today.
After a big breakfast bonanza at our place, and lots of coffee all around,
gondoliers were waking up and rubbing the sleep from their eyes.
After the opening ceremony,
we gathered around the gondolas and prepared for a day of racing.
Marcello discusses the course with some competitors.
The first tandem team plans their upcoming run.
Hi tech equipment gets attention.
Low tech equipment does too.
Recently repaired remi get last-minute notches.
Parker surveys glassy waters.
Mike sets his pontapied foot-wedge.
The first tandem team pushes off for their distance run.
Marcello gathers the troops.
Some funny faces are made.
Fingers are pointed (Jakob is unfazed).
Spectators gather to watch the races.
The Minnesota team waves from their gondola.
Parker and Mike line up to the starting line...
...and they're off!