A Slice of the WIRC 2018

From the CRASH-B's to an online challenge, discuss the competitive side of erging here.

A Slice of the WIRC 2018

Postby Yankeerunner » February 23rd, 2018, 4:48 pm

WIRC 2018

New age group, new venue, same old anticipation of pain. For the first time in the history of the sport the event that was called the World Indoor Rowing Championship would not be held in Boston, which meant that I couldn't just hang out at home until a couple of hours before the race and drive down to it. This year it was to be in Alexandria, Virginia. Harsh, but fair.

So this year my race weekend started on Friday with a plane ride down to Baltimore and a hookup with Forum Flyers teammate Paul Flack to stay at his new house in Annapolis, MD. We spent the rest of the day relaxing, eating, and mentally preparing to spill our guts in the races. Got some sleep and headed for Virginia at 6:30 AM on Saturday morning. A leisurely hour drive got us to the venue with plenty of time to get our bearings and prepare for Paul's assault on the 60-64 30-minute race. The warmup area had plenty of ergs, and the gym floor was set up with about 80 race machines. Since I wasn't racing until Sunday I coxed the big guy, being given the task of keeping him at 1:52.5 pace for a planned 8,000+ meter score. Off the start he was somewhat behind some others and maintaining a nice 1:51.5 average and quickly moved into the lead. Beside him was the lightweight Frank Vetrano, stroking higher but staying close. Down the line Frenchman Alain Mangin was leading the older 65-69 group, and New Hampshire's Adam Rosenthal was rowing under the watchful eye of his 84-year-old mother who lives close by.

While trying to lend encouragement I kept complimenting Flack for how well he was staying ahead of his goal pace, and he was silently wondering what the heck I was talking about, because he was so focused on the .5 number on his monitor that he didn't realize that he was a full second/500m ahead of schedule. At around 20' though Vetrano began a drive that brought him from 15 meters behind to just 4 meters in the course of several minutes. But a strong last 5 minutes by Paul increased it to 30 meters when the clock struck 30:00. His 8101m was some 80 m more than he was shooting for, and he needed most of it to hold off the lightweight's stellar 8071m. Mangin, also a lightweight, won the 65-69 race.

From the competition area we headed out to the C2 booth and chatted up the Dreissigakers and Lisa Washburn and KC Colt and a few others. Then it was off to the Safeway for mass quantities of food to load up for the main event. We consumed Vermicelli with hamburg and sauce and grated cheese, brownies with a thick layer of chocolate icing, carrot cake, bananas, juice and Gatorade. We surfed the 'net, watched some Olympic coverage and hit the hay early. We were as ready as we were likely to be.

At 6:30 AM on Sunday we were off again, stopping only briefly so that I could grab a Dunkin' Donuts coffee, and again got to the venue with plenty of time to spare. At check in we met up with Paul's old paddling coach Bill Endicott and his wife Abby, crossed paths with many of the past champions such as Bob Spousta, Jim Castellan, Jon Bone, Alain Mangin and others.

At weigh-in I tipped the scales at 1:52.7 fully clothed. Not as light as Mark Underwood, but not too heavy either. A bit harder to time the warmup this year since we were instructed to be at a holding room some 30 minutes before out race, so the warmup was done earlier than I'd normally do it. In the holding room I sneaked peeks at the cards of others until I put faces on the names of my division opponents. Boy, that Brian Tucker sure uses up every last inch in height and pound of weight that lightweight would allow! Reminded me of the great Open lightweight Steve Warner from years past. The Canadian Kevin Jones was more my size and looked fit and solid.

Out onto the race floor and the three of us were side-by-side-by-side. At SIT READY.....ATTENTION.....ROW we were off, and I got a better start than usual, but still slower than the others. Tucker was thrashing us, and Jones was steadily building up a lead on me. At 500m I was an adequate, if not slightly disappointing, 1:55.2, only a little better than my first 500m three weeks before in North Andover. I'd thought I'd improved since then. By 1000m the average was down to 1:55.1, a bit more of an improvement on the 1:55.5 average halfway into that last 2K. I wasn't feeling great, but I wasn't dying either, and was able to pick it up some in the next 500m, although I could see that I'd dropped some 30 meters behind Jones and didn't even want to look at how far behind Tucker I was. The last 500m was my fastest by a little, and I made up ground on Jones, but not enough to worry him. Final results, Brian Tucker, California (3rd straight win in this event) 7:16.9 Gold. Kevin Jones, Canada, 7:34.2 Silver. Me 7:37.6 (SB by 2.5 seconds) Bronze. Disappointed that I hadn't gone faster, but happy to have scored a medal for the first time since getting bronze 10 years ago at Boston.

No rest for the weary. Paul Flack's heat was right after mine and on the erg that Tucker had just rowed to victory. A lot of big dudes here. Tore Foss sat to his right, although in the older 65-69 division, and the likes of Jon Bone and Steve Krum to his left. “Where's the beef?” you ask? The beef was right here. With some residual weariness from the 30' row still lingering Flack was struggling somewhat to keep the pace on target to at least break 7. Krum, as expected, was leading with Canadian Gustave Schoch hot on his tail. The Norwegian Foss was stroking a pace slightly slower than Flack and keeping up with another Canadian, Stout, and local Bob Spousta. Paul decided that 3rd place was out of reach this year, but didn't want to fall to 5th, so paced himself so as to not blow up. With about 250m to go Schoch was leading Krum by a hair with Bone some 20m behind. And then the beast was released! Gaining a meter with every stroke the Navigation Hazard called on the gazillion sprint intervals he is famous for doing in training and swept by both Krum and Schoch for the victory! Quite an amazing thing actually. Coming back from that far behind rowers of that caliber is rarely done. Flack held on gamely for an SB by 0.1 second in 4th. Foss also finished with a big final sprint to claim victory in the other group. Adam Rosenthal, like Paul, added an SB 7:36.5 to his 30' row of the day before.

More hob-nobbing went on, both because it's a good thing to do and because the screens showing the races were too small to see from the spectator area and didn't lend themselves to keeping us there to watch anyone we didn't know personally.

At the Awards room I finally got to meet Mark Underwood in person and congratulate him on his Silver Medal and for beating me in the weigh-in contest for lightest lightweight. Also there was Eileen Ripley, a frequent contributor to the forum back around 2001-2003. Good to see her competing again. I also embarrassed myself by not recognizing Graham Benton and asking him who he was. Funny what a beard can do one's appearance. Or maybe it's just me. Rumors circulated that next year the WIRC would be in Toronto. Sounds good, eh?

Late into the afternoon some gluttons for punishment doubled or even tripled with a final 500m sprint before calling it a weekend. Adam Rosenthal won the 60-64 over Paul Flack, and Alain Mangin won the 65-69 lightweights over Peter Francis (who will be 70 for CRASH-Bs on Sunday) and Bill Stross. Bill's wife Karen Stross took silver in the women' 60-64 lightweights.

When it was time to go Paul's friend Blaise Rhodes (13th 50-54 Open 6:54.2) invited us to stop by his house on the way to bringing me back to the airport. We had time, and it took care of wondering what to do about dinner, so we said “Sure.” He said that he had no beer and would have to stop on the way to get some, and I told him that he didn't have to do it for me because I don't drink beer, and Paul didn't want any because he was driving. “Hmm,” Blaise said, “what do you drink?” “Anything but beer,” I told him. “Bourbon?” he asked. “Bourbon sounds good,” I replied. So off we went and had buckets of bourbon along with mass quantities of food and lively conversation with Mrs. Rhodes and the three Rhodes children who took turns with me quoting Monty Python. A most fun way to finish off a memorable weekend.

My brother Barry met me at Logan and had me home and in bed before midnight.

Usually this would be the end of my season on the rower, but with the CRASH-Bs yet to be held it looks to be extended for that and the Ergzilla the week after. Maybe I can shave a bit more off that 2K SB.

Renegade Rick Bayko,
Cub Reporter
Last edited by Yankeerunner on February 23rd, 2018, 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Slice of the WIRC 2018

Postby VeloMark » February 23rd, 2018, 5:39 pm

Rick,

Really enjoyed, and appreciate your race report(s). I think I first remember reading one of your race posts back in 2001, and even returned to read them for many years that I didn't row. Back after a 16 year layoff, it was fun to see you're still at it, and still posting great reports.

Thanks again,

Mark
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Re: A Slice of the WIRC 2018

Postby Yankeerunner » February 23rd, 2018, 6:09 pm

Thanks Mark. After a long layoff you can now establish a new set of PBs for your next chapter of rowing.
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Re: A Slice of the WIRC 2018

Postby Edward4492 » February 23rd, 2018, 10:57 pm

Nice write up as always Rick, and congrats on the bronze and a solid SB time. Not doing CB's this year (maybe next year), but I'll be looking forward to your reports. And I'm just assuming there's been no sightings of you know who?
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Re: A Slice of the WIRC 2018

Postby hjs » February 24th, 2018, 4:57 am

Well done Rick, nice report from your weekend of races.
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Re: A Slice of the WIRC 2018

Postby Yankeerunner » February 24th, 2018, 9:30 am

Thanks Ed and Henry.

There was an empty erg during one of the races that had been assigned to He-who-shall-not-be-named. 'Nuff said. I find myself far more interested in those who do show up and lay it on the line. B)
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Re: A Slice of the WIRC 2018

Postby hjs » February 24th, 2018, 1:13 pm

Yankeerunner wrote:Thanks Ed and Henry.

There was an empty erg during one of the races that had been assigned to He-who-shall-not-be-named. 'Nuff said. I find myself far more interested in those who do show up and lay it on the line. B)


:wink: Makes sense, why row, everybody knows how great he is, no need to actually show up.

Or maybe, he was making weight, running outside... And got lost..

Or, was staying with his son and ended up in a party...

Or, could not get up, because..... See above.

:lol:
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Re: A Slice of the WIRC 2018

Postby jackarabit » February 24th, 2018, 2:03 pm

Pity he got lost in the funhouse mirrors but he’ll always own 2003.

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