Saturday was National Learn to Row day here in the US. Many club host open house events, ours was no exception.
Before all the festivities got started at around 8AM, five of us met up for a row on Quinsigamond. I was in a double with Joe in the bow. Bob and Eric were in another double, and Deb was in a single.
It was overcast and a chance for rain, but it never materialized. There was a 5-10mph breeze from the North, which was a tailwind heading down lake and a headwind heading up lake. This breeze built slowly through the morning and was around 15 mph by the time we finished the Learn to Row Day activities at 11:30AM.
Joe had been sick all week and was nursing a sore shoulder from a minor injury last weekend, but he was game to row hard. I had gone into the session thinking I would just take it easy. But when we headed down lake we were side by side with the other double and I did NOT want to get dropped. So, I kept the rate around 24 or 25 and full pressure all the way down the lake. The boat felt quite heavy. We had opened up a couple of lengths on them by the end, but we looked a lot worse off. Joe had to fight off the urge to throw up. I guess he wasn’t all the way recovered.
When we turned around up lake, I dropped the rate down to 22 but still kept pulling hard. I didn’t want to completely lose contact with Bob and Eric. We hung on like that through nearly 4K of rowing into the wind, and I have to assume that Joe was feeling a bit better because he started calling for sets of 10 hard, with 10 at a paddle. Then for the last 3 sets, he was asking for 3/4 pressure during the off bits. You can see from my HR how hard I was working in that stretch. I was too busy rowing to look around, but I think we closed the gap a bit with the other boat during this bit.
We turned to head home and really just rowed pretty easy for most of the way. Finally, Joe said that we had 500m left, what did I want to do with it. I said I wanted to bring up the rate and row it hard. I brought the rate up to 28 and focused on trying to keep my strokes clean. The boat felt like it was moving reasonably well in this block. Then we headed back to the dock.
Looking at the HR data, I was a brutally hard workout. Looking at the pace, not so much.
|Start|Dist_|Time_|_Pace__|_SPM___|avg HR|DPS_|Remarks |00018|00088|00:26|02:27.7| 18.2 | 121 |11.2|Warming up |00106|03291|14:43|02:14.2| 24.7 | 165 |09.0|hard 3K to south end of lake |03397|00090|05:12|28:53.3| 17.1 | 118 |01.0|rest |03487|04062|20:40|02:32.6| 22.7 | 164 |08.7|moderately hard 4K into headwind |07549|01459|07:06|02:26.0| 26.1 | 177 |07.9|9x power 10s, 10 strokes rest |09008|00075|02:46|18:26.7| 20.1 | 144 |01.4|turn around at north end of lake |09083|01645|08:35|02:36.5| 22.6 | 151 |08.5|cooling down |10728|00398|01:40|02:05.6| 28.4 | 176 |08.4|hard 400m |11126|00013|02:46|46:24.6| 28.0 | 140 |00.2|back to dock
We got the boats put away, and I ran off to get coffee and treats for the event. By the time I got back, there were already about 20 people there. By the end of the day, we had hosted over 35 folks curious about rowing and gotten 29 of them out on the water. I also got to try sweep rowing for the first time. I stroked an 8 for two of the outings. We would put 2 experienced rowers in seats 7 and 8, and fill the rest of the boat with the “Learn To Row” (LTR) folks. We would then have everyone row by pairs, then try it by fours, then just have the stern pair set the boat with the all the newbies rowing. By the end of each outing, we were able to get all 8 of us rowing and give them a feel for what it is like.
We had 2 eights on the water and about 8 or 10 boatloads of folks out on water all together. It was the most successful LTR day that we can remember for our club and a lot of them indicated an interest in taking classes. Very exciting stuff.
I’m not sure I got much of a feel for sweep rowing under the circumstances, but I enjoyed it. The oar is huge, but with two hands on it, it feels like you can control the feathering and height off the water quite precisely. The body motion would also take some getting used to. Getting the arm farthest from the oarlock out between my knees at the catch, and leaning out over the oar was a new experience. I think I like it and I’d welcome the chance to get into a sweep boat in the future.
Today (Sunday): I am giving myself a day off. My elbow is still bugging me, so I am popping the Ibuprofen and wearing my brace. Tomorrow, I’m back on the Charles in my single. I think 1000m repeats are the order of the day, but probably with a rate cap.
One thought on “Saturday: 11K in a double and National Learn to Row Day”
Sweep is cool. It’s a shorter stroke and less subtle, but when you are getting ready to start with 6×9 men, the air heavy with adrenaline, that is very special.