January 8, 2017
"..... and these are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course with all speed." --Herodotus
On this day however, an injured wrist, emergency repairs, and car troubles caused late scratches of otherwise willing ergers. Winnie took a tumble while skiing and couldn't yet hold a handle, John emailed at 2:37 AM that he was still at work solving a problem, and Anne was well on the road when an uncooperative car necessitated a turn around. Others were delayed by frosted windshields and lack of wiper fluid. Thus challenged, the first heat was late getting underway for the first time since having International hookup problems back in 2004.
It was finally time to Let the Pains, er Games, begin when the 9:00 AM heat got underway at 9:20 AM. Paul Geoghegan jumped out to an early lead, increased it steadily through 1,500 meters, then maintained the gap in the final 500m to win the Bridge Street Toys Tackhammer award for the fastest lightweight 7:24.6 to 7:35.6 over Rick Bayko. A promising start to the season for both.
At 9:40 AM Mary Harada, bumped from her 9:20 AM start by the delay, let the Open Women join her in order to get back on schedule. Carla Stein powered her way to yet another Bridge Street Toys Mini-Sledge for the fastest women's time of the day with 7:37.2, shaving 0.2 second from her winning time of last year. Mary White followed closely at 8:19, and Harada finished up strongly for 11:48.2 and continued recent dominance of the 80+ division.
The first of the Big Boys took over at 10:00 AM with Paul Flack, multiple Sledgehammer winner but currently under a doctor's wary eye, rowing much faster than the 2:00/500m pace that he'd swore that he'd not exceed. With 1:51s showing on the monitor the race director, under instructions by CRI teammate John Owens to 'not let him die because we will need him in the Spring', implored then demanded that he slow down. Flack responded that he was just rowing at a 'conversational pace,' and kept up the conversation just to prove it. Then Fred Dickie threatened to disconnect the monitor if he didn't slow down, to which Paul said that then he wouldn't know when to stop and would just keep rowing forever. He finished up with the easiest 7:21.1 you might ever see from a 60+ rower. Adam Rosenthal followed at 7:34.0, and then Beanie made a solid return to the NE2KC after 7 years without rowing to just miss his goal of breaking 8:00 in his re-debut with 8:00.1. He was also the youngest participant at age 42 ("Where have all the young men gone, long time passing......" --Pete Seeger).
With Paul Flack's 7:21.1 target to shoot for the final heat, at 10:20 AM, was full and off in hot pursuit. Tom Cattell left no doubt as he rowed a steady and powerful 6:49.3 to score his second PaulS Sledgehammer in three years, easily out distancing two-time Sledgehammer winner Rick Martin who just missed his goal in stroking 7:01.2. Fred Dickie was third in 7:13.0 and promptly announced that he would never race 2,000m again. Nothing but 1Ks for him from now on. Cattell's training & carpool partner Charlie Carr finished up a couple of ticks later at 7:14.5 and the racing was done.
After the awarding of copious amounts of prizes in the form of Hammers, Ice Scrapers, C2 towels, C2 socks, C2 chapsticks, and even a wildlife calendar, most of the participants and significant others made a short drive to Salisbury and the now annual post-race breakfast at Nancy's Marshview Cafe. The long table soon filled with Hungry Man breakfasts, and Lumberjack breakfasts, pancakes, french toast, & coffee. Carla put it best some time ago. We like to 'Have Erged.'
As always, this couldn't happen without lots of help. Thanks to Eric Jones, Tom, Carla, Paul G, Paul F, and Rick Martin for lugging their ergs from their homes to here for us to use. Thanks to Eric for running the computer program that controlled that race starts and results, to Paul Flack for donating the Mini-Sledge and Tackhammer on behalf of his now-defunct Bridge Street Toys company, and to Ken Taylor for organizing the heats and getting them off on time.
Life is good. I hope that we can do it again next year.
Renegade Rick Bayko,
Grand Poobah of the NE2KC