As we disembarked the train from Parramatta to Penrith and walked to the shuttle bus that would take us to the 2000 Olympic Rowing racecourse, the acrid smell of controlled bush fires filled the air, and smoke was visible in the foothills of the Blue Mountains. The smoke continued to waft across the racecourse, making it difficult to see more than about 1000 meters down the course.
Soon, the local parrots, which had spent the night roosting high in the tall gum trees, awoke, and they greeting the early morning light with raucous cacophony. (We learned, first hand a couple of days later that they do the same in the evening.) When they were done, the local cicadas–which reminded me of rattlesnake sounds–took over the merrymaking.
We were on our way to the 2013 Samsung World Rowing Cup 1 in Sydney, Australia, held March 22-24, 2013.
The racecouse–about an hour west of Sydney Harbor by train on the Green line–is one of the most spectator-friendly rowing courses I’ve been to. There is a large south-facing covered grandstand. In the southern hemisphere, this means the sun never shines into the stands, keeping them relatively cool. The seats have backs–always a plus for spectators—and the grandstand is low and near the lanes–also great for spectators!
Megan had secured passes to the VIP lounge for us, which meant that we had access to the VIP lounge, and got to hob-knob with the FISA crowd. Shuttle busses ran from the racecourse to the train station, which made transportation easy.
The conditions at the course were nearly perfect during the entire regatta. Congratulations to all of the US rowers who came home with medals! This included Megan and her boatmates who brought home a silver medal in the W4x! The regatta had many entries from Pacific Rim countries, but relatively few from Europe.