American Lk Fall Classic

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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American Lk Fall Classic

Post by Cyclist2 » October 14th, 2018, 9:04 pm

This was a 5K head race, not an open water race, so my Aero looked like that chunky kid in the karate class. No worries, I was there for the fun, to get reacquainted with the OTW race scene after 25 years, and push myself a little harder in a competitive environment. No pressure.

The weather was beautiful, and the water was definitely flat. A little breeze occasionally but it just kicked up some surface chop, nothing that anyone was going to get worried over.

My wife and I checked out the early scene with all the young kids, parents, coaches, referees, etc., got the race packet, talked with a few of the masters guys we saw, used the facilities (darn nerves!) and went over our launching and recovery routine.

Finally, race time arrived. We walked the boat down to the dock and launched. I paddled away toward the warm up area, keeping my eye on all the other crews milling about. The starting marshal herded all eight of us in the Masters 1x group toward the start chute and started feeding us into the chute. We were seeded by age, so I was 6th. I talked briefly with the two older gents, asking them to not blow by me too fast! The spacing was not real strict and #250 (I was #249) caught me almost before we got to the start buoys. From there it was a straight shot to the first turn, getting the engine going after the extended idling in the warm up area. #250 was on my port side, #251 was on my stern; the younger faster guys were out of sight ahead. Except for one.

I was rowing well, felt comfortable, strokes were good. I was staying ahead of #251, #250 was slowly pulling away. By the first turn, I was catching #248, the one gent having a little difficulty. We got around the first gentle port turn and headed down the long second stretch. I had rowed the course two times in the last couple weeks, so I had my aiming points all figured out and they were accurate. #248, not so much. He almost missed a buoy (1-minute penalty). When he corrected he ended up right in front of me almost perpendicular to the course! I veered hard to starboard and tried to get around him, thinking he would stop and let me go, but he straightened it up and started rowing again. Now we were neck and neck, with #251 closing the gap during that altercation. By the next turn – a tighter, almost 180° port turn, the three of us were all together. #248 didn’t move to the outside, as required of boats being overtaken, and now he interfered with both me and #251. That slowed us all down.

Into the home stretch; upwind, choppy. #251 had passed me (I took the wide outside line, not by choice, around the turn). He had about a boat length on me. #248 finally fell back out of the way. I was pulling hard, concentrating on technique into the chop. At the finish I was slightly ahead of #251. I placed sixth with handicap, seventh on raw time. Not surprising, but at least I wasn’t last!

I have a pretty significant hearing loss and was worried I would miss some important announcements out on the water. I don’t normally wear hearing aids rowing but I put in my older set, taping them to my head in case I went for a swim. That was weird – all kinds of new sounds. As I was warming up I heard a clunking in my boat. I wasn’t sure if it was serious or if I just hadn’t heard it before. It was my water bottle, which I thought I’d left at the dock, rolling around behind the foot stretchers. Whew! Heading upwind, the hearing aids sure did whistle, but I’m glad I had them because it made the whole experience less stressful. Getting old is tough, but technology pulled me through that one.

I got exactly what I wanted out of the race, and except for the slowdown due to the interference in the middle of the race, I was pleased with my effort. Fun day. Mission accomplished.
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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Re: American Lk Fall Classic

Post by PaulG » October 16th, 2018, 7:56 am


Congratulations on beating at least some people in skinny boats. Navigation is part of the race but it is usually not someone else's navigation that fouls you up. It must have felt good to row through 251 on the last leg after being passed. If the weather was a little more choppy the Aero would have cut right through and you might have been able to pick up some more places.

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