Rowing in the shelter of Duluth’s Superior Bay

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Just behind Mark Lavalier and Tom Rauschenfels in my photo above is Duluth’s Park Point. And just on the other side is Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area.

The Lake is an inviting and unforgiving body of water, especially for the needle-like sculls powered by Mark and Tom.

One big wave could mean an unplanned and life threatening dip in 40-degree water.

Most of the time the rowers stay in Superior Bay, the sheltered tip of the the Lake that laps up against Superior and Duluth, the Twin Ports. It’s still water that’s plenty cold with some waves but a bit easier to navigate. Once in awhile, Tom says, on very nice days, the rowers head out to the big lake, with a keen eye, obviously, on the weather.

Mark and Tom use the 126-year-old Duluth Rowing Club as their base.

I encountered them on a recent jaunt to Duluth as they were finishing up a rowing session on a very fine northern Minnesota day.

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