photo by Cassandra Mohr
With nine separate race events this year at the U.S. Gondola Nationals,
we had to take advantage of every minute of daylight,
and in fact a few races went into the evening.
Here you see Michael Angelo Ruffino positioning his gondola "Lucia" in preparation for the start in the Distance Solo race.
Meanwhile in the background a pupparin finishing in the background.
But there's more to the picture than that.
In the foreground is a gondolier who has competed in this event
(the Distance Solo) for years.
He's won gold, silver, bronze in this event.
In 2017 Mike won the gold medal,
but the next year he had to settle for bronze.
This year he was on a mission.
This is a sort of "calm before the storm" shot of him,
because this year signore Ruffino took first place once again,
and by a good margin.
Finishing behind Ruffino was myself and John Kerschbaum on the pupparin.
We hadn't planned on rowing that event together this year.
We just decided that day to race "for old time's sake",
since we've rowed as a tandem team many times in previous competitions.
We didn't win a medal in that time-trial race,
but we had a wonderful time rowing that race together.