Happy belated Holidays to all our our friends and family. Zach and I have been remiss in reporting our activities over the last few months and so I will begin!
After clinching Silver at the Santander Test Event
and 20th at the 49er World Championships
in September, Zach and I took a week off to rest from a full month of training and travel. By resting, we mean taking a few days off from sailing, as we are always working on projects small and large. One of these projects was attending to our injuries. Zach’s forehead has healed well although he still needs to get plastic surgery to fix the remaining nerve damage. I tweaked my injured shoulder on the second to last day of the World Championships and I needed to see a physical therapist to diagnose and fix the bicep tendonitis which resulted. As the October weeks progressed, the pain from tendonitis continued to bother me and we weren’t able to log any quality training on the water. With the Colorado Springs winter training camp a week away, I flew back to Miami to see my surgeon and get a cortisone shot to alleviate the swelling and pain.
Zach and I arrived in Colorado Springs on October 27th for our first US Sailing PET Camp. Contrary to these camps in years past, the focus of this year’s camp was more on information dissemination instead of fitness evaluation. All US Sailing personnel and resources were available and we had an extremely productive camp at one of the premier athletic training facilities in the world. From early morning to late evening, we were in the classroom, at the gym, or in personal meetings with the team experts. Zach and I were extremely impressed with the organization and quality of that four day event.
Mural of Rio de Janeiro in the dining hall.
Shortly after the Colorado Springs Camp, we journeyed to Houston, Texas for two weeks of skiff sailing with our other US teammates. Led by Luther Carpenter, we were ecstatic to begin sailing after a full month off nursing our respective injuries, however, our camp was cut short almost immediately. On a downwind run concluding our first day of training, Zach’s trap line failed resulting in an immediate capsize. I was whipped forward dislocating my left shoulder again as I collided with the hull, while Zach was left hanging upside down by his ankle in the tow strap. It took several hours before Zach and I made it to an emergency care center. With sore ankles and shoulders, our November camp was finished and we needed to follow up with MRI and CT scans to determine the extent of the damage.
US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider National Tour stopover at the St. Francis Yacht Club
But, not before we made a scheduled stop in San Francisco to represent the US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider on their National Team Tour. During the two night stopover, we visited the St. Francis Yacht Club and the San Francisco Yacht Club. We had two pleasant evenings mingling with members and young Olympic hopefuls, signing posters, and having a Q&A with members about our individual campaigns. Zach and I were pleased to finally meet the many supporters that keep our team functioning. We are proud to represent the US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider at this event!
From San Francisco, I flew back to Florida were I met with my surgeon and physical therapist in Miami. CT scans revealed disappointing news. Similar to my last dislocation, I tore the labrum in my left shoulder in the same area of my last surgery. This time, however, I also chipped part of the glenoid cavity, which is the cavity that the head of the humorous sits. Preliminary MRI and CT scans tests were unclear just how large the fracture was and whether the labral tissue was still connected to the glenoid cavity or was partially attached to the fractured bone.
With all the uncertainty, Dr. Kaplan and his team at University Miami Hospital deemed surgery a prudent move and on November 18th I went under the knife. They did a fantastic job removing the fractured glenoid and putting three more anchors to tie down the torn labral tissue-that makes 12 total anchors now in my left shoulder.
Recovery time will be about five months and I plan to spend all of my time working with Chris Herrera and his team at Jaguar Therapeutics in Coconut Grove to accelerate my return in April. Along with my physical therapy, I will be observing and coaching the 49er training this winter. With the large international talent coming to Miami this year, I will have a great opportunity to check out what other teams are doing for comparison.
Photo Courtesy Will Ricketson of US Sailing Team Sperry Top Sider
Zach plans to team up with 2012 Olympian Trevor Moore for the time being to stay fresh and continue developing his skills on the water. With a full December and January training schedule, they will learn a great deal sailing with each other. Hopefully, Zach can defend our World Cup Miami Gold medal performance at the end of January!
There is no doubt now that Zach and I are well versed in how to keep the campaign moving forward despite these small setbacks, and look forward to coming back stronger, as we always have, from these small adversities. A strong performance at the ISAF Worlds in Santander is our goal for this year and we are confident that the US will earn a berth for the Olympic Games at this first round qualifier.
Through our highs and lows, your support always keeps us steady and focused on the overall goal: a medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. We appreciate those that have already reached out to us and who continue to lend a helping hand every step of the way. We would also like to thank the US Sailing Team Sperry Topsider for their continued support and their guidance.