Navy Day Regatta

No, ergs don't yet float, but some of us do, and here's where you get to discuss that other form of rowing.

Navy Day Regatta

Postby Edward4492 » October 14th, 2017, 9:08 pm

I'll continue to indulge myself with OTW race reports, at least until someone complains "this is an erging thread". I think my OTW forays may be of particular interest since I came at this backwards....four years of heavy erging then into the boat for the first time last season. A couple of quick 10,000 foot observations so far. First and foremost......sculling well is extremely difficult. Over 2 million meters OTW so far and I'd describe myself as competent at best. By that I mean I can do all the required "boat stuff" like rigging, getting the boats safely in the water, my docking has become clean and predictable. I haven't flipped in over a year. I haven't hit anything expensive (another boat) or immovable (bridge, dock, etc). And people who know nothing about rowing tell me I look good. Last observation, erging helps....a lot. Serious erging gets you in serious shape for the boat. Being fit allows you to focus on technique. Oh, make that one more last observation. The competition is seriously fast, experienced, and talented. There's no beginners....it's all ex-national team members, olympians, and division one college rowers.You're in the deep end of the pool and swimming with the sharks. Makes for a lot of last places.

Today was the first head race for me and Marianne in the 2x. We've been doing lots of practicing and our target was pretty simple, break 20min for the 4200m course. We were going to shoot for a 2:20 or better pace. The Schuylkill has four bridges, so some navigating would be required. Nothing like Head of the Charles, but still had to be dealt with.

I made a mess of the start. Got lined up, came around into the chute and wasted a lot of time as they were calling us up. Tried to hustle it up and promptly hit a big buoy, then ran through the start line buoy. Found out later we got a 30s penalty for those antics. Got the boat straight and on line finally and we settled in. It's about 750m to the first bridge (Strawberry Mansion). No problems, by this time on target at a 26r and in the 2:15-2:18 range. Marianne learned to row with me last year; she came to rowing from crossfit and packs some serious muscle. Very focused on race day and she's becoming a solid stroke (she's decidedly not ready to bow yet). The next 1250m stretch took us past Peter's Island and onto Columbia Ave bridge. The course veers hard to port and requires some thought. We hit this one perfect; entering on the starboard side, then starting our turn as we came through the bridge exiting with a couple of hard starboard pulls and we were right on the buoy line where I wanted to be. Another long stretch of around 1200m, we're already 2200-2400 in to the race, we can feel the finish. Just like our practices, we're starting to feel good and we're pulling hard. Still holding the 26r and sitting under 2:20. Marianne always does a nice job of building in the final 1000m; we felt good. The final two bridges are tricky and back-to-back. I have a bad habit of not focusing on navigating when we're moving the boat nicely. I had gradually drifted about 50m off the buoy line and it became obvious we weren't going to make the bridge. So, we had to stop rowing, turn the boat and go around the trestle off course and get back on it. The speed coach later revealed the cost of that one. A nice string of 2:14, 2:18, 2:15, ......then 3:10. Paid the price for my inexperience. We got through the final bridge cleanly and then sprinted in pulling 2:10 to 2:12 down the last 200m.

We finished with 4200m @ 19:02 2:18.8. I figure my mis-cues cost us 20s, maybe 30. Either way we would have been solidly under 19min. And either way we would have racked up another DFL against the stellar competition we were faced with. But to be honest, I was pretty happy with the time. In practice we figured going sub 20min was do-able and we blew that away. The mistakes can be easily fixed. I got caught hanging back in the two head races I did so far; that won't happen again. And the navigation? Just gotta pay attention!
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby Citroen » October 15th, 2017, 2:40 am

Moved to "On The Water" from "Competition"
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby Edward4492 » October 15th, 2017, 6:08 am

Probably more appropriate!
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby G-dub » October 15th, 2017, 8:21 am

Nice Ed! Your reports are great. I have my first head races next weekend. A mixed 8+ and a mixed quad. Should be quite the adventure.
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby jackarabit » October 15th, 2017, 12:05 pm

Not the least bit self-indulgent, Ed. Ya done George Plimpton proud! Just your description of the pre-start goofs and the time penalty gave me sweaty palms. Not every manjack is capable of unsparing candor about the ego-bruising trials and challenges of a midlife apprenticeship. I'd like to hear some more about your stroke oar(s), Marianne, (or more from her perspective if she also has the scribbler's art).

You and lwtBill are the voices of the Schuylkill (and the Cooper) here. Concept 2 aren't going to object; they are oars as well as ergs. :wink:
Last edited by jackarabit on October 15th, 2017, 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby Cyclist2 » October 15th, 2017, 12:31 pm

Nice, Ed!

As much as I enjoyed single sculling, it was always more fun in a double. Even the once or twice I talked my (non-rowing) wife into trying it, it was a blast.

Keep those races and write-ups coming!
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby Edward4492 » October 15th, 2017, 3:55 pm

Thanks guys! I'll keep my OTW ramblings in the "On The Water" section where it belongs. To indulge Jack a bit, Marianne is 56 years old. Met her at the boat house when we took LTR class two years ago a month apart. She walked past me one day and I said "you must be a crossfitter". Typical crossfit build with serious back and upper arm muscle, thick legs and glutes. Tall enough at 5' 8". Turns out her husband is a dentist and she's a hygenist. Her husband and my wife have no interest in competitive sports, although my wife keeps fit enough through yoga and aerobics and her husband is very supportive, comes to all the races. Like me she was getting too busted up in crossfit and was looking for something different. Very competitive and dedicated. First rule of rowing is dependability. Can't row a quad with three people, can't row a double by yourself. She's always there, early, ready to get to work. I like to plan our sessions, she likes to follow a plan. I'll shoot her a text "(4) x 1000m today at race pace of 2:20 and free rate" and that's what we do. Very little talking once we start training. "Hard on port, Hard on starboard, stay long" is about it. Totally focused on race day. Never saw herself as an endurance atlete, but she has great instincts as a stroke and for the long stuff. We go out hard, but not too hard. As the race progresses I can feel her pushing it. Final 1000m we're two splits faster and with 200m to go we ramp it up. There's four of us that are all relatively new rowers, Janet (68) and Tara (45). Me and Janet are 1a and 1b; Janet is incredible. More energy than the average 18 year old. Biggest problem I have with her is keeping her reeled in. Always wants to do too much and wonders why she's dying the next day. And Tara provides comic relief and is developing into a solid rower. And just so you don't think we are too hard core, about half of our rows are just relaxing; nice and easy. Looking for (and rarely finding) perfect strokes and just taking it all in.

But when it's time to race....the fangs come out!

PS- Glen, good luck and be sure and give us a report. The erg work will pay huge dividends on race day.
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby G-dub » October 15th, 2017, 8:38 pm

Ed - the fitness from the erg and our OTW training should be fine. Our boats are all LTR grads from spring and we have been working together for about 6 months. First time for all but one of us to don a uniform and do it in an event. I'm sure we will get some laughs out of it and hopefully not too many tears. I too have a mixed doubles boat that enjoys "just rowing". It's a nice way to decompress and just enjoy the boat, water, scenery and company after the joys and complications of trying to blend groups of 4 and 8 radically different people together who are just learning the sport into something that can remain somewhat upright and together. I also get to bow the double so there's a little relief from the scrutiny.
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby lwtguy » October 16th, 2017, 10:23 am

Tough break for me in the 1x. I hit a wake from a police launch (non-wakeless boat :cry: ) and caught a digger around 1800m in. I got back on track and then going around the turn after the Columbia bridge, I heard a cracking sound from my starboard rigger. Afraid to put any serious pressure on that side, I ended up on the very outside of the entire turn. Ended up coming in 20th out of 24 to some tough competition. I averaged about 2:02-2:03 splits the whole way, but due to my bad steering I finished up with an extra 100m tacked on...

If I had a good course I could've been about 4 or 5 places lower... Oh well. That's the nature of the sport.
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby Edward4492 » October 16th, 2017, 4:32 pm

Ha, always something Bill! Ya still had a decent time. We caught some serious wake on the way back and there was a masters double that flipped ahead of us. I assume they got waked. We have another crack at it in two weeks at Head of the Scchuylkill. (21) guys in my class; I'll start early in the que as I'm one of the youngest in 60+ class. Same target as this race; look to break 20min and correct the rookie mistakes. Hoping the weather holds out, this will be the last race for me OTW this year. See ya there.
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby PaulG » October 16th, 2017, 8:00 pm

And I thought navigation was only a serious issue in open water rowing. All this goes to show how important familiarity with the course and starting logistics are. With this experience both of you folks will do better next year.

Next weekend I have two open water races, one in Hingham and the other in Amesbury Massachusetts. Apparently there is also something important going on in the Charles River in Boston. But they have too many launch, warm up, and starting rules for me.
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Re: Navy Day Regatta

Postby Edward4492 » October 16th, 2017, 9:38 pm

Paul, I'm quite sure open water rowing involves some for-real navigational challenges. My mis-cues can be easily corrected. And Lwtguy Bill is very experienced on the Schuylkill, just a bit of bad luck for him. The wakes were pretty extreme on Saturday, from police boats (I believe) going fast. 1x's and 2x's simply aren't built to handle it. In my case it's just rookie mistakes. Good luck with the open water events.
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