Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

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HomeCookN
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Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by HomeCookN » January 14th, 2018, 5:36 pm

I'm threatening to enter the 500m and 2k (65-69 hw male) events in Alexandra on Feb. 18th. It will be my first competition (as I'm a total newbie with maybe 6 lifetime on-water hours and 700km on the erg I began using in July) and I would like some help in understanding the rules regulating one's starting position, especially for the 500m if the rules are different for different distances.

I've seen some old videos of starts from past events and everyone seems to just be sitting there pretty relaxed with knees bent at about 90 degrees. I would have thought people would either be coiled/compressed as far forward as possible or else waiting with the legs extended and the seat all the way back to allow for a "running start" on the first pull. I don't know if these positions would be illegal or just bad ideas but the legal starting position(s) must be codified somewhere, no?

Also, are the C2 rankings reasonable predictors of actual indoor race results for elderly guys?

Any help very much appreciated.
69 yo 6'3" 100 kg. 1,200m since July '17

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Citroen
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Re: Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by Citroen » January 14th, 2018, 5:50 pm

This race shows everyone sitting like a coiled spring https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RTxpQ3AHdRM

Concept2 didn't used to hold short course WR data (not sure they do now). I've got some from 2010 hanging around on an old hard-drive somewhere.

lindsayh
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Re: Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by lindsayh » January 14th, 2018, 6:08 pm

the starting position is not prescribed by C2 at all but the "coiled spring" is a good idea especially in the 500 where every stroke counts so certainly be knees bent, leaning forward and ready to go. There is a 3 step start procedure "Sit ready/Attention/Row" and off you go. You can practice race starts on the PM if you like but don't worry too much. Be careful as you can false start and then there is a stop and restart.

Numbers racing can be variable if it is a smaller event but a big one like this is likely to have a reasonable field. You could check results from last year but the upgrade to WIRC will boost the field although the really fast guys are less likely to do both races and will likely concentrate on the 2k.
http://www.ergsprints.com/wp-content/up ... esults.pdf
Best not to be distracted by the times at the top of the rankings as there are people of all levels often at the races. If a gun guy is there just try to ignore and do your own thing. I would say it is more likely than not that there will be some serious racers and then a group of journeymen just there for a good time so just relax and enjoy - it is a lot of fun.

The biggest mistake "newbies" make IMO is to go out too hard and forget their pacing plan. 500m is a classic and "fly and die" is a risk - just stick to what you know you can do and if there is anything in the tank use it at the end. There is a lot of discussion on the forum here about how to pace a 2k piece and again the big problems arise if you head off too fast - the last 500 should be the fastest not the first. The second big mistake is not to set the drag factor up correctly before you start.
There is a lot of good tips here:
http://www.concept2.com.au/indoor-rower ... ace-advice
http://www.concept2.com.au/indoor-rower ... ce-display
Best of luck
Lindsay
66yo 91kg
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PBs (65y+) 1 min 349m, 500m 1:29.8, 1k 3:11.7 2k 6:47.4, 5km 18:07.9, 30' 7928m, 10k 37:57.2

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jackarabit
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Re: Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by jackarabit » January 14th, 2018, 7:18 pm

Handle down after warmup to allow all flywheels to stop is a de facto pre-start rule (and position) certainly as all starters give the command. At Boston last yr. I ignored this command after a false start in 65-69 hwt and simply held the handle stationary until the restart. No penalty, probably because no one cared much what the pack fodder did or they figured being old, slow, perhaps hard of hearing and most likely senile is penalty enuf. :lol:
There are two types of people in this world: Those who can extrapolate from incomplete data

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Cyclist2
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Re: Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by Cyclist2 » January 14th, 2018, 8:20 pm

jackarabit wrote:Handle down after warmup to allow all flywheels to stop is a de facto pre-start rule (and position) certainly as all starters give the command. At Boston last yr. I ignored this command after a false start in 65-69 hwt and simply held the handle stationary until the restart. No penalty, probably because no one cared much what the pack fodder did or they figured being old, slow, perhaps hard of hearing and most likely senile is penalty enuf
I didn't know about the handle down, just that you couldn't row, so holding the handle is what I did too. I think the software has a threshold on wheel speed to consider it "stopped", so it likely is not fully stationary. Anyway if it was HD to start and everyone then picked up the handle, it would start the wheel, no matter how carefully done. I know I'm old, I don't think I'm senile, yet, but I am hard of hearing so I wear ear plugs - luckily the start command is visual on the PM.

Back to start position, The half-slide position is where most people start. I guess it's the best tradeoff between the severe back strain that would result from the catch position and still getting some leg power into it. If you watch the OTW races, all the crews start at about half-slide for 2-3 quick strokes to get the boat moving, then start lengthening it once it's moving. I try to emulate that with my erg starts. I've found, as I'm sure most of you have, that a real hard start doesn't really matter much, you just don't want to be too late or too early on the "row" command.
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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jackarabit
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Re: Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by jackarabit » January 14th, 2018, 11:02 pm

Think these are the official start sequence voice commands for indoor rowing comps according to USRowing. Glad I used the modifier "de facto" as the "official" commands for a restart are the start sequence repeated. At Boston I recall hearing something on the order of "Let's put those handles down now so we can restart!" and not complying.

"Stop rowing and prepare for the Start”
"Sit ready
"Attention”
Truckhorn sound for "Row"
Boxing Bell + “False Start, Please stop rowing”

I believe "Sit ready" is when you pick up the handle.

I didn't encounter information on what flywheel rpm is read by sensors as nominal "dead wheel."

On the short stroke race start, I use 3/4, 1/2, 1/2, full stroke. Starting from finish position and crashing down on the catch to jerk the chain against the inertial mass of the nearly static flywheel would produce nothing positive!
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Re: Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by jamesg » January 15th, 2018, 2:46 am

I would have thought people would either be coiled/compressed as far forward as possible or else waiting with the legs extended and the seat all the way back
Neither. The first is a very weak position. The second maybe derives from an idea that you can store elastic energy in the legs and bounce off the stretcher; some hope. Best knee angle off the start is about 90°, because there's no slack to take up. Once started, closing the knee angle remains bad practice. See also the knee angle range that cyclists use.

There's any number of videos of Olympic race starts. In rowing, TV cameramen usually don't know where to look, but some might show how it's done, as here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pf84O5cTWY4
The stripes on his pants show where the shins are. Of course in shells there's a front stop, so we can't fall into the overcompression trap, as often happens on the erg.
77y, 188cm, 85kg, MHR 160. Last 2k (May 1018) 8.37@23

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Re: Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by JerekKruger » January 15th, 2018, 4:54 am

Cyclist2 wrote:Back to start position, The half-slide position is where most people start. I guess it's the best tradeoff between the severe back strain that would result from the catch position and still getting some leg power into it.
Your legs are in a stronger position at half slide than they are at the catch position (same reason people can partial squat more than they can full squat) which is ideal for overcoming the inertia of a(n almost) stationary flywheel. Obviously you lose a lot of stroke length, so once the flywheel is moving you go back to full strokes again, although in really short pieces (see the 100m video above) people will stay with really short strokes as it allows them to rate up much higher and overall the length they lose is overcome by that higher rate along with using the strongest part of their leg drive.
Tom | 33 | 6'6" | 93kg

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HomeCookN
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Re: Rules for starting position for indoor sprint races

Post by HomeCookN » January 15th, 2018, 9:52 am

Wow! Thank all you guys for all the feedback, a surprisingly large amount of which seems to qualify as actual actionable information! It will take me a day or two to review all the videos and citations and get back to you with some follow-up questions, if I may.

(Lindsay, you must be the guy who shows up at the top of the C2 500m rankings when I filter for 65-69 hw. You're my hero, the only one under 1:30. That's my goal over the next year before I age out into the 70+ group. I'm at 1:36.8 now.)
69 yo 6'3" 100 kg. 1,200m since July '17

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