RAINS JOURNAL Issue Six : "Rowin' in the wind"

October 21, 2015

The next goal for Fie Udby Erichsen is the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Fie is representing Denmark in woman’s single sculler rowing and this is her story about the circumstances involving her sport and lifestyle.

Story: Fie Udby Erichsen
Photographer: Nikolaj Thaning

It is a beautiful sunny day by one of the most alluring lakes in Copenhagen. We are surrounded by trees, the sky is blue, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and the wind is blowing strongly – a typical summer day in Denmark. This is where we meet Fie Udby Erichsen for the first time. This beautiful setting is the daily are-na for Fie, who at the moment spends all of her time as a professional single sculls rower. Fie will represent Denmark at the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The most ideal weather condition for rowing is completely still air. When the wind is blowing too strong, the rowing strokes become harder and more inaccurate. “The wind is everything”, says Fie Udby Erichsen. “Bad weather results in bad strokes and therefore also a bad technique.”

As a result of the very inconsistent and unreliable weather conditions in Denmark, Fie has a very torn relationship to her home ground and training facilities. “When the weather is good here in Denmark there is no place I would rather be rowing. I especially love my quiet morning cruises when everything is still and all the animals peep out. Unfortunately, the windy and cold weather is more common in Denmark than still air and completely blue skies,” says Fie. To compensate for the weather barriers in Denmark, Fie spends five weeks in Austria every summer in company with the Danish National Team. Here they are guaranteed the ideal weather conditions for rowing. Luckily Fie does not have to spend all of her time in the unpredictable Danish weather, since half of her time is dedicated to physical training in an indoor gym. “In my opinion, strength and tech-nique are almost equally important in professional rowing. I believe that strength counts 45% and technique 55%”, says Fie. The technical training takes place on the water and the physical training in the gym. A typical physical workout for Fie involves the rowing machine, weight lifting, core training and spinning.

As for any professional athlete, Fie’s physical shape is dependent on her food. Fie has been on a strict diet since she was 15 years old, and having just turned 31, living a healthy life has basically become a routine for her. “When I was younger and I was forced to follow a diet for the first time, it was really hard for me. I actually had to give it up because I was hungry all the time and I didn’t feel like I had the energy to complete my training”, she says. “Today I don’t even think about it. I know what to eat and what not to eat, and also when it is okay for me not to follow the diet.” Fie has a strong belief in maintaining a normal life beside her sport, and she finds it hard to witness all the fitness girls of today taking their exercise and diets to an extreme level. In the peak seasons, where Fie is training two times a day, she needs a lot of energy to perform her best and therefore she eats a huge amount of food. In these periods she eats a lot more than her husband. “I really love food and I eat a lot of it! I actually fear the day when I am not practicing rowing on a professional level and have to eat less”, says Fie with a smile.

Leaving Fie Udby Erichsen and Bagsvaerd Lake near Copenhagen makes you instantly long for nature and the tranquility of life outdoors. Even though Fie has her struggles with the Danish weather conditions, her natural glow, pink cheeks and smiling eyes writes the intense passion for her sport and lifestyle all over her face.