The picture on the left is of Lindsey Vonn, who today won the Olympic women's downhill in Whistler, just a few hours north of here. Her team mate Julia Mancuso won silver. I'm stoked about this for all the obvious reasons (I'm sure you've seen some of the coverage on Ms. Vonn; without any personal knowledge of her, it's probably still safe to say that she's an amazing athlete and has worked very hard for this).
The reason I'm so stoked about it, though, is that the head coach of the US women's alpine team is windsurfer, fellow Sailworks rider and Gorge Cup racer Jim Tracey. You see, Jim is one of those quietly competent people; on top of that, he's a very good coach and one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet.
Jim has been volunteering as a coach in Bruce Peterson's junior race camp since its inception a few years ago. I got to take part in that this past summer, and it was one of the most rewarding things I've done in this sport, plus it was just a blast. What you have to understand, though, is that for us assistant coaches on the water, things were easy. We helped the kids out a bit, tried to reinforce points Bruce was making, and generally got a lot of stoke out of sailing with that many bright, inspired, energetic kids. Jim, however, spent most of those days shooting video for later analysis, either from the boat or, at one point, from the hot asphalt roof of a warehouse for hours on end. And he was stoked to do it.
When someone who is that committed to his vocation meets with the ultimate success in his chosen field, with two of his athletes at the top of the podium at the Olympics, it confirms that things are well and the universe does work the way it's supposed to. And hence my vicarious stoke today - congratulation to Jim and his team on what's a tremendous success.
And then there was the direct stoke experienced today, right here on Bellingham Bay, where I got to partake in steady 18-20 knots from the North, served up with brilliant sunshine and spring-like temps in the mid-50's. Perfect weather for the 9.9, it was a goldilocks session all around. Not too light, not too cold, and not too windy to where things would have been hard on my still-recovering ankle. Sweet.