2nd Head Race Season - lessons learned

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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2nd Head Race Season - lessons learned

Post by G-dub » November 11th, 2018, 12:56 pm

For the most part it was a rewarding and fun season. I raced in 3 regattas and 8 total races. A men’s 4+ was the focus and I also rowed a men’s 8 three times and a mixed and and mixed quad once. Yesterday was three races in a day, which was an interesting exercise in endurance - 30+ K in a day is always a lot of rowing and combined with adrenaline, nerves and a three hour drive home it definitely was quite a lot.

Our men’s 4+ didn’t have the same bodies in it each regatta due to life getting in the way - usually 3 of the original group plus one regular sub. We finally had the group we started with in the boat yesterday and rowed very well. The competition wasn’t strong and we were able to leave the other two boats far behind. It then became an exercise in pushing ourselves, with the thought of two more races to go that day in our heads. But our wonderful young (14 years old) coxswain made sure we stuck to the task for the whole race. But for a little let down at 2K ish to go, we rowed fairly strong for us. This boat has been a joy and all of us and the cox have formed a nice bond. To me this is the most fun part about the sport, committing to a boat and having a shared attitude about picking each other up and pushing for each other. Also having a laugh and establishing friendships. And I know we can get faster too as we all gain more experience individually and together, which would be a treat.

I do find it challenging to know if I’m giving total effort at times in a “big boat”. The technical parts keep the mind occupied and there isn’t a PM in front of me to tell me to get my ass in gear like on the erg. And it’s hard to know how much weight you are pulling relative to others (on both sides of the ledger). For instance our fall men’s 8 has a wide variety of experience, fitness, age and desire so it’s mentally hard to know that extra effort is being rewarded and worth it at times. I should have used a HR monitor and maybe my own stroke coach app for some bit of metrics to look at, but when going just by feel, I’m fairly certain that it is too easy to leave a little in the tank. I also am still quite new (year and half) so am still having to balance full power only (which you can sort of get away with on the erg) with being smooth, balanced, relaxed and long(er). One thing for sure is that halfway still feels like too long to go and the same tunnel vision happens the last 1K as on the erg, so maybe I am putting out! I need to get back on the erg to see where I stand relative to my erg only years.

All in all the crews I was in regularly brought home shiny pieces of metal at the less competitive regattas and lessons learned at the big one we went to - Head of the Hooch. Fortunately we have both, we can feel proud of ourselves relative to folks at or near our current abilities, but also know that we have a long way to go before we can even think we are good at this!
Glenn Walters: 5'-8" X 192 lbs. Bday 01/09/1962

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Re: 2nd Head Race Season - lessons learned

Post by Cyclist2 » November 11th, 2018, 5:09 pm

Great insight Glen! Glad you had a successful year.

As I mentioned in one of Ed's posts, no crew or individual ever thinks they are "good enough". It's a constant effort to just keep getting better but, boy, it sure is worth it. The better you get, the more fun it becomes. Chris Carmichael (Lance's coach) had I quote I liked: "It never gets easier, you just get faster".
Mark Underwood. Rower first, cyclist too.

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Re: 2nd Head Race Season - lessons learned

Post by Edward4492 » November 13th, 2018, 4:02 pm

Nice racing Glen! I find I really enjoy the head races, all sculling (1x and 2x) on my end. Definitely love the synergy when me an Marianne get the double moving well. I think as we get better OTW we'll find that we'll be able to get closer and closer to the level of effort we throw into the erg. But I don't think it will ever be the same. The boat rewards smooth, flawless technique. It's what makes it so challenging and rewarding when it's going well.