Head of the Schuylkill 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.
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Head of the Schuylkill Regatta

Post by Edward4492 » October 29th, 2017, 8:18 pm

Last race of the season, and truth be told I really wasn't into it during the week. I think six months worth of 4:00am wake up calls have taken their toll. On Thursday morning me and 68 yr old dynamo Janet were in the boathouse at 6:00 am. It was cold, dark, and windy. And we were both thinking the same thing. Get past Sunday and take a break. To add fuel to the fire the weather forecast was daunting...and the weathermen didn't disappoint; it was pouring rain all day. Poor Janet got stuck sitting in her boat for an hour due to a schedule change while the rain was heaviest.

I decided to enter the open class again, I like doing the head races with lots of boats, today we had (23) signed up. This is the second biggest head race in the country behind HOC and it was (other than Janets snafuu) a very well run event. I was determined not to make the same mistakes I made at the last head race I did. My recent raining runs indicated I had lost a bit since my last two races; could just be mental. I was looking to break 20min, if I had a perfect day break 19min. I got myself cued up and was hyper vigilant as they called me up. Last two head races I wasn't attentive enough; this time I was ready. They give me the "row" signal and I start to build towards the line. Damn near hit the start buoy again but got away clean. Got down the first 750m stretch to Strawberry Mansion bridge and was closing in on the boat in front of me. Well, now that's a new experience for me. Got by him cleanly and on towards Columbia ave bridge. Had gone out pretty hard pulling 2:15 - 20 which I knew I couldn't hold. So settled in at 2:20-25 and felt good there. The only guy closing down on me was Wallace Shaw from Saugatauk. He always wears a white top and black uni, I can pick him out from a long way off. And he's fast; he wins a lot of races. I wanted to give him a clear passage. Things got interesting at Columbia Ave bridge, Wallace had caught me and we came through side by side, meantime we caught another rower. It got a bit sloppy as I swung away from Wallace and the other rower slowed him down a bit. Wallace got through and it was me and the other guy going side by side for quite some time. At around the 3000m mark I finally got away from him and started to set up for Railroad Bridge and Girard Ave bridge, they're about 100m apart. Then it's 300m to the ine.

I nailed the final two bridges fairly well and started sprinting for the line. My last two splits were 2:10 and 2:11, pretty much spent as I crossed the line. And I was soaked to the bone and there was an alarming amount of water building up in the cockpit. One of the coaches, Jamie, had told me to take a sponge with me (I carry several big sponges to use as pads when strapping down the boats) for bailing. I thought he was kidding.....guess not!

So, finished with 4100m @ 19:11, 2:23 average. My preparation this week was not stellar; eating too much crap and a little too much wine. I kind of shut down on racing after Navy Day Regatta. 10th of 19 on the water, lost three places back to 13th after handicaps were applied. Pretty sure if I can run a clean race I'll easily go under 19min. I had two really slow 100m splits (one was 2:43, one was 2:48) as result of navigating around other boats. I can correct that fairly easily with experience, I'm already getting better. One thing that's starting to sink in is that things happen slowly in a head race; you need to see things unfolding and plan your moves ahead of time. Also, boats move slow. It takes very little to disrupt the momentum and slow things down. Pretty sure I have another 30s in me when I row a "perfect" race. I saw some video and noticed I get a lot of back splash when I'm at higher rates (27-28). Look halfway decent in training vids at 22-24r. All things that can be fixed!

Now.....time for a few days off.

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Re: Head of the Schuylkill Regatta

Post by jackarabit » October 30th, 2017, 6:42 am

Your description of the "elemental" challenges of October made me shiver and turn blue, Ed. Nasty day up and down the DE Valley. This morning doesn't look much better.
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Re: Head of the Schuylkill Regatta

Post by lwtguy » October 30th, 2017, 9:36 am

Saturday was a ***damn nightmare! Winds were "supposedly" 12mph head/cross wind. It felt like much more than that, and there were white caps. Needless to say my lack of experience in a single and sculling in general were pretty obvious!

My only two goals were to not flip, and not come in last so I got them! Although there were several close calls with the flipping... I actually steered my best course too which is a shame. If I had steered like that at Navy Day I could've moved up about 4-5 places! I did manage to hold off a guy from Undine for 2500m which was nice, although he had caught up to me quickly right off the bat. The winds were so bad that there were points when I couldn't get above 22spm, and my usual base rate is 28...
Bill, 23, 160-165 lbs.
PBs-- 500m 1:28.9-- 1K 3:08.9-- 2K 6:37.7-- 5K 17:27.6
6K 21:11.2-- 30' 8342m-- 10K 35:54-- 60' 16209m

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Re: Head of the Schuylkill Regatta

Post by Edward4492 » October 30th, 2017, 12:51 pm

I was there Saturday, winds were easily over 20 mph, dead on head wind. Sunday was very row-able, just miserable.

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Re: Head of the Schuylkill Regatta

Post by Cyclist2 » October 30th, 2017, 1:01 pm

Nice racing, guys! In tough conditions, too. My memories of the HOS don't involve much of the course - I was newer at it than you two, so it was fun to read the course description and about your races.
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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Re: Head of the Schuylkill Regatta

Post by MatthewFab » December 2nd, 2017, 6:53 pm

I saw this topic and know the struggle as my club was there and we all suffered through that terrible weather sounds like your race went well as so did mine. Though like others may have said you discribed the day perfectly and how terrible it was.

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