A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

From the CRASH-B's to an online challenge, discuss the competitive side of erging here.
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Yankeerunner
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A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Yankeerunner » February 26th, 2018, 5:42 pm

CRASH-Bs 2018

It was an ominous start this year when my carpooling driver emailed the day before that he had to pull out due to an emergency plumbing problem and sore back from dealing with it. Undaunted, I drove myself to the Agganis Arena, early enough to get free parking on a side street nearby the venue. Once inside it seemed quieter than usual. Fewer people, fewer vendors setting up, no C2 presence that I could see. Looking down onto the race area only 60 racing ergs were set up and only 40 warmup ergs in the back. It seems to me that it was usually 120 and 80 of each. Lots of space to walk around this year.

At the weigh in room I tipped the scale at 152.2 lbs fully clothed, with a winter jacket and backpack. Lighter than last week in Virginia by quite a bit. Just for laughs I stripped down to my racing outfit and stepped on again. 144 lbs. I could gain a full 20 pounds and still make lightweight! No need to calorie count here.

Out into the warm up area for a pre-warm up easy 2K and began crossing paths with familiar local faces. Barbara Grandberg sat on the erg next to me. Brand new ergs even here. I had to set the date and time and take some styrofoam out of the chain. Smooth as silk. Wondered if I should buy another to go along with my 2003 Model D with about 35 million meters on it. Frank Vetrano passed by in the hall and we recalled the races of last week. Eric Jones called out and we discussed the day's schedule. Peter Francis of the Rocky Mountain Rowing club in Colorado was sitting nearby, hoping that the heat would be turned up a bit. Pete turned 70 since the race last week and will be one of my main rivals, as he has been several years before. We've probably beaten each other 4 or 5 times, and I'm not sure who currently has bragging rights. Bob Orsi of the San Diego Rowing Club will be the top seed in our race (70-74 lwt), with a time 1.2 seconds faster than me. It could be a three-way epic battle that gets decided by tenths.

Carla Stein made it in plenty of time despite husband Dave giving her a conniption fit by taking a wrong turn on the drive in. Tom Cattell was down from Maine, Mary White and Winnie Stopps were there to give their all, and Mike Shields was down from New Hampshire.

Showtime for me at 9:30 AM. Seated on Erg #45, with Larry O'Toole to my left, Bob Orsi to my right, and Peter Francis two over on the right. Made introductions with Bob and settled into the Zone. ROW.....False Start! Hmmm. No Sweat. It wasn't me. SIT READY.....ATTENTION.....ROW..... and this time we're off for real. Within a few strokes I hit 1:40 and have my average pace where I want it to be sooner than I usually get it there. But I'm 3rd! Orsi is well up on me and O'Toole even more on him. Shoot, I didn't know O'Toole was that good! Not only that but I'm going too fast and my average pace is unsustainable. Then Orsi is in the lead and O'Toole in 2nd. As I start paying the price for my excitement O'Toole drops behind me, and then drops behind Francis. 1:53.4 trough 500m, which is fine, if not a bit faster than I'd planned, but a big chunk behind Orsi.

As the second 500m goes by my pace keeps slowing, occasional 1:57s making me more puzzled than worried at this point, and the gap to Orsi increasing. I'm holding Francis off by 8m, but I know from past races that he finishes fast, so there won't be any underestimating him from this racer. At halfway Orsi's lead has swelled to 17m (at least) and 8m remains the distance to Francis.

Only half to go now, a mere 1,000m, and it ain't over till it's over. Upping the pressure and increasing the stroke rate doesn't feel too onerous and the lead shrinks to 15m, and I like it. Another incremental push and it's down to 13m and I'm liking it more. With a win still a possibility if I'm willing to hurt enough for it I keep upping the intensity as the meters count down. Now 11 behind Orsi and 10 ahead of Francis. Killer instinct seeping into the pores.

Making up ground fast in the last 500m. Finally get by somewhere around 300m to 200m to go, but not taking anything for granted. Up the stroke rate to 40, then 41, 42, and finally 43 with about 200m to go, hitting 1:48 on the split. Keep mentally talking, no mentally yelling, at myself to push all the way through. Last few strokes seriously slow despite the effort being seriously hard. I've emptied the tank. 7:33.8, I won! Woo Hoo! SB. First time on the podium here since 2008 and first hammer since 2005. Very Happy. Orsi 2nd in 7:36.9, only 0.3 second off his qualifying time despite jet lag and all the other aggravations of travel, Peter Francis 3rd in 7:39.9.

Frank Vetrano took Bronze for the lightweight 60-64s behind the Italian Stallion Romoli, 7:07.3 to 6:57.2.

The heavies took over after us, and old friends Mike Shields (70-74) scored a hammer for the first time with an SB 7:42.6, and Tom Cattell the bronze (60-64) in 6:57.0. Adam Rosenthal added an SB in 10th at 7:31.0.

Carla Stein (55-59) made her bid for a hammer next, and took it out fast. CRASH-Bs Commodore Emeritus Linda Muri was out fast too, but Carla's 1:54s to Linda's 1:59s soon turned into open water. Both rowed strong and steady, but Stein's best 2K in several years was too much for the field as she finished strongly at 7:34.4. down the line Mary White rowed 8:23. and Winnie Stopps placed 4th the the 60-64 group at 8:25.5.

While waiting for the award ceremony a few of us volunteered to have Echo Cardiograms done on us for a research project about rowers who have been competitive for over 20 years. Curious about what it might do to our aortas. While testing me I was told that my heart rate was down into the 50s so soon after racing, and that was good. 50s. Really? Low 40s or high 30s would be more like it. Either I raced exceptionally hard, or the attractiveness of my tester was making me excited. Slender women with long dark hair do tend to do things to me.

After collecting hammers, and socializing several of us headed across the street and up a couple of blocks to Tony's, a pizza place that also serves breakfast. So many rowers descended on them that the cook ran out of home fries two customers before me, and was getting low on eggs. Carla's friend Beth Bruchill (Hammer, 7:12.4 in the 50-54s) joined us and we raised a coffee toast to Bob Spenger (R.I.P.) who had joined us here a few years back during his last trip ever to CRASH-Bs.

I fear for the future of the event, suspecting that it was probably a financial disaster this year with the numbers of rowers and vendors so sparse compared to the past. I hope not. Even diminished by the loss of the World Championhip status it is still a major ergatta, and it would be a shame to lose it. It was, after all, the very first erg racing ever to be done, and the inspiration for all the erg racing that has come since. I hope to be able to be back for a 2019 CRASH-Bs.

Renegade Rick Bayko,
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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by joe80 » February 26th, 2018, 6:01 pm

Great read Rick. Well done on that hard-earned hammer.

Regards,
Joe

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by jackarabit » February 26th, 2018, 6:03 pm

Here’s to you and your hammer, Rick. And to Bob Spenger, gone but not forgotten.
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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Cyclist2 » February 26th, 2018, 7:51 pm

Bravo Zulu, Rick! I checked your race data, and you definitely had that killer instinct going, creeping up on 1st place, then passing. I could tell your tank was empty on those last few strokes, must have known you were going to win :D

Given the unsatisfying venue at WRIC, maybe next year I'll opt for CRASH-B instead, or if WRIC is in Toronto, I'll hang around and do both. (Edit: They need to have CRASH-B before WRIC so it can be a satellite regatta. That may improve attendance).

Again, well done!
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by TomR » February 26th, 2018, 9:22 pm

did c2 explain why it wasn't helping to sponsor the crash-bs? seems surprising the company would not pitch in somewhat.

has anyone seen any numbers of participants at wirc and crash-b? interested in relative size of each competition.

hope crash-b thrives. don't fancy traveling to toronto so i can place in the middle of the pack of old guys.

thanx
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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Seat5! » February 26th, 2018, 11:04 pm

Great write up, Rick!
The wrong turn driving in was followed by an O turn in the middle of an intersection, a near ruin in with gendarmes and I was not sure until the race was over if I was glad we got to the Arena on time or not. Needless to say happy to have made it for the breakfast afterwards if nothing else!

I wonder if all of us wrote to Crash B if they would get this event scheduled early enough to be a satellite, as was suggested, I really think if C2 would make it a satellite it would save the event.

Good luck next weekend!

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Edward4492 » February 26th, 2018, 11:08 pm

Great race Rick, really well done! Kinda wonder if WRIC and CRASH B 's can both survive. This sport is pretty niche to begin with, splitting it in two seems rather foolish to me. CB's was always THE event. And not to diminish anyone's success, but I would have liked to have seen Romoli's bid for a hammer in 60+ LWT contested against upstart Carey Jung out of Texas; and many similar match ups that got split up. Be real curious to see what the draw would be in Toronto.

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Bob at CB's a couple of years ago, the last one he did. Talk about good fortune, we sat and talked for about an hour. In retrospect, I hope I was smart enough to shut up and listen. A true gentlemen, competitor, and icon.

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Recess » February 27th, 2018, 4:58 am

The following post on row2k.com is a perfect companion piece to your great post. I for one feared for Crash-B's future after just seeing photos of this year's event. But as long as this isn't just spin from the organisers, I think they're not panicking.

http://www.row2k.com/crashb/features/20 ... nd-Future/


John

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Rod » February 27th, 2018, 6:47 am

Edward4492 wrote:. And not to diminish anyone's success, but I would have liked to have seen Romoli's bid for a hammer in 60+ LWT contested against upstart Carey Jung out of Texas;
That would have been no contest Ed, Emanuele Romoli would not have got near Carey who is improving with every race and did 3:14.5 for a 1k at his local gym the week after WIRC, that's a sub 6:50 predictor!

Next year in Toronto if he is in shape which I presume he will be because he rows on the water then I think Carey will be a long way ahead of all of us.

I was very happy with my 6:58.1 for Silver btw Ed, It made me realise that I can still go faster so hoping to do a better time in Toronto next year but even if I am quicker I expect I'll be further down the finishing list if some of those that were not there this year take part.
61 year old Lightweight male. Based in Sussex, just south of London, England. Best 2k recently.. 6:58.1 for Silver at the world champs on the 18th February 2018.

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by gregsmith01748 » February 27th, 2018, 10:01 am

Rick,

Congratulations on a great row and a shiny new hammer! Thanks for posting your write up. I always enjoy them, but this one even more than usual. I was on the edge of my seat during your description of the race and I was delighted when you revealed your win!

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by PaulG » February 27th, 2018, 1:29 pm

As your erstwhile driver, I wish I could have gone in and seen your race and the others. Another great report. The plumbing (the house's not mine) and the back (mine not the house's) are improving and I likely will go to the Ergzilla this weekend if you can trust me for ride.

Paul

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Yankeerunner » February 27th, 2018, 1:37 pm

Thanks for all the kind comments. I sometimes wonder if there might be a collective groan of "Oh no, not again," when I post these. :oops:

Thanks Joe, we old distance runners are lucky to have found another outlet for our need to test ourselves now that we can't take the pounding like we used to.

Jack, Bob's spirit lives on for many of us. Great memories of his posts and conversation when meeting in person.

Mark, if you come out this way and can stand no-frills accommodations in a ManCave you're welcome to stay in West Newbury with me between events. The cycling isn't good at this time of year, but I do have an erg for use at any time.

Tom, I haven't heard anything about why C2 wasn't there. Perplexing to me. Alexandria showed 2,227 entries, and I've heard that CRASH-Bs was 1,300. BIRC used to be big also, some 2,500 or so participants, and that too has fallen off quite a bit. It might even have disappeared for a while (the Brits can probably jump in here and straighten me out on that) and made a comeback as a smaller event.

Carla it amazes me, how you do. If it were possible to quantify 'Dread of the Event' with a number, and 'Success at said Event' with another number I'm sure that your ratio would be higher than that of any of the rest of us. :!: I like the idea of CRASH-Bs as a satellite event if the WIRC is going to be spread throughout the world in the future.

Ed, there sure are a lot of good 60+ lwts these days. It's always good to get all the best together at once, but it rarely happens. Through the 8 years that I did both CRASH-Bs and BIRC (two biggest events at the time) I rarely competed against the same people in Birmingham that I faced in Boston. Too bad. And yeah, Bob was good for our sport.

Thanks for the link John. I hope it's not just spin too, putting a good face on a tough situation. I want it to survive and thrive.

Rod, you're tearing it up at all distances! I'm sure that you're going to be in the mix, whoever is competing. It's so great that your wife is doing it and doing it well also. One of the First Couples of indoor rowing!

Thanks Greg. My most memorable races are the ones that are close enough that I'm in medal contention but the outcome is in doubt, and that includes my battle with Bill Stross two years ago when I chased him down over the final 500m but came up 0.1 short of his Bronze. It's unbelievably hard, but the most satisfying, knowing I've given everything I've had.

Glad to hear of the improvements Paul. Yes indeed, on to Ergzilla!

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Citroen » February 27th, 2018, 2:19 pm

Yankeerunner wrote: Mark, if you come out this way and can stand no-frills accommodations in a ManCave you're welcome to stay in West Newbury with me between events. The cycling isn't good at this time of year, but I do have an erg for use at any time.
The mancave hospitality is highly recommended. I found when I diverted the option of IBM funded direct flights from LHR to SFO & SFO to LHR. I wangled IBM paying for me to fly LHR to BOS, BOS to SFO (outbound) and SFO to BOS, BOS to West Newbury, WN to CRASH-B, CRASH-B to WN, WN to BOS and BOS to LHR (for my return journey). Our favourite cub reporter is a wonderful host and can be encouraged to provide a free airport taxi service.

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Cyclist2 » February 27th, 2018, 3:13 pm

Citroen wrote:
Yankeerunner wrote:Mark, if you come out this way and can stand no-frills accommodations in a ManCave you're welcome to stay in West Newbury with me between events. The cycling isn't good at this time of year, but I do have an erg for use at any time.
The mancave hospitality is highly recommended. I found when I diverted the option of IBM funded direct flights from LHR to SFO & SFO to LHR. I wangled IBM paying for me to fly LHR to BOS, BOS to SFO (outbound) and SFO to BOS, BOS to West Newbury, WN to CRASH-B, CRASH-B to WN, WN to BOS and BOS to LHR (for my return journey). Our favourite cub reporter is a wonderful host and can be encouraged to provide a free airport taxi service.
Got it, thanks a bunch! Now it remains to be seen whether I can revive the enthusiasm in the fall to work hard enough to actually get there :oops:
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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Re: A Small Bit of CRASH-Bs 2018

Post by Rod » February 27th, 2018, 4:26 pm

Yankeerunner wrote: Rod, you're tearing it up at all distances! I'm sure that you're going to be in the mix, whoever is competing. It's so great that your wife is doing it and doing it well also. One of the First Couples of indoor rowing!
Thanks Rick that's very kind of you to say and Carol says thank you as well.

It's a shame that races, particularly the world championships, are always over 2k as it's a bit below my best distance. If there was a 10k or 30 minutes then I'd much prefer to enter that and I'd be more confident of my chances than over the 2k.

I know there was a 30 minute race at this years world champs but it wasn't a ''Championship'' event so the winner couldn't call themselves a 'World Champion'.

The 30 minute races were also the day before the 2k's so I didn't want to tire myself for the championship race, if they had been the other way round then no problem....I'd certainly have done the 30 mins as well......hopefully things will change for next year but I'll be there (with Carol) whatever is available....it was a great event and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'll look out for you if you're going to be there too Rick....cheers mate!
61 year old Lightweight male. Based in Sussex, just south of London, England. Best 2k recently.. 6:58.1 for Silver at the world champs on the 18th February 2018.

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