Festival Regatta: Better rower, worse fitness?

Weather:  Lousy.  Rain, heavy at times (like during my 1K).  Wind East 5-7 mph (head wind).

There were two events.  Men’s Master 1x E (50-59) at 8:54 and Open Men’s 1x at 10:15.

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 2.58.06 PM Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 2.57.49 PM

02388_|_0929_|_03:51_|_2:04.4_|_123___|_31.9_|_07.6_|_164___|_1K Race
03317_|_1074_|_06:49_|_3:10.3_|_127___|_18.6_|_08.5_|_133___|_cool down
04391_|_1702_|_10:31_|_3:05.3_|_174___|_16.5_|_09.8_|_136___|_warm up
06093_|_1917_|_08:39_|_2:15.5_|_245___|_28.3_|_07.8_|_164___|_2K Race
08010_|_0996_|_06:10_|_3:05.9_|_107___|_17.3_|_09.3_|_133___|_cool down

I launched in driving rain about 30 minutes before my first start.  I did my usual Rojabo type warmup, but I cut back the 28, 30 and max pieces to only 10 strokes.  I then did a set of 4 starts.  No issues there, but I was very unnerved.  The river was choppy and the I had about 3 inches of rainwater in the bottom of my boat.

1K Race

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 4.20.54 PM

I got in line and we drifted up to the start.  The got us aligned and called a very quick start.  I got off the line slowly, but without any real troubles and settled reasonably well to 32 spm and waited for the inevitable feeling of distress.  Today it came very early, right around the 30 stroke and it seemed as if I must have gone off too hard.  There was a bit of head wind and chop and maybe I was fighting it too hard.  Anyway, around the 40 stroke or so, I got waked by a launch heading back up to the start.  It was disruptive enough that I actually missed a couple strokes and lost count of where I was in the race.  I settle back in and saw that the guy in lane 4, to my port side was about a boat length ahead.  I just started to try to get a bit more length to see if I could move on him.  I could.  This was a good pick me up.  I continued to push and continued to gain on him, and ultimately got about half a boat length up on him, around 20 strokes from the end.  I rowed through what I thought was the finish, and coasted, but it was a good couple seconds before I heard the horn.  My bad.  I know I should always row until the horn sounds.  That cost me a second over the next guy, but I didn’t lose the place.

Here is the video of the race:

I was 3rd out of 5 in my event, beating the fourth place finisher by 2.2 seconds.  This year, my finish was the same on both uncorrected and handicapped time.

There was another flight of Master E 1x after ours.  One guy in that flight beat my raw time, and two guys beat my corrected time, so I ended up 4th overall on raw time (+2.9% off winner) and 5th on corrected (+4.9% off winner) across all 9 boats.  Last year, I was 3rd of 7 on raw time (+1.7% off winner) and 4th of 7 (+7.6% off winner) on corrected time.  So, all in all about the same performance as last year.  I was hoping for a bit of improvement, so I’m a little disappointed.


I rowed back to the dock, pulled my boat, and got out of the rain for about 45 minutes.

2k Race

Screen Shot 2015-06-21 at 4.21.04 PM

Then I launched and did an abbreviated warmup and a couple more starts.  Again, my start was just fine.  And I settled quickly to around 28 to 30 spm.  Just like the 1K, distress came early and viciously and I sagged pretty badly in the middle.  I was just off the stern of the guy in lane 2 and I made multiple pushes to see if he would break, but he managed to stay just ahead of me through the 1000 to 1800m.  I was very confused about my HR.  I felt like I was pushing as hard as I possibly could, but my HR was only in the upper 160s.  It was a very weird feeling and I’m a little spooked by it.

Anyway, after jousting with the dude in lane 2 and nearly giving up a few times, I finally got up the nerve to really press him with about 150m left to go and I was making up ground quickly.  But I ran out of race course before I could seal the deal.  I ended up finishing 1.8 seconds behind him.

Here’s the video of the 2K Race.

I ended up 5th of 6 in my heat of the 1x.   2 boats in the second heat were faster than I was, so out of 11 boats, I was 7th.  This is a slight improvement over last year (8 of 11).  I was also 0.1% closer to the winner.  Last year I was 9.5% behind, this year 9.4% behind.  Not a lot of progress for a full year of training.


9 thoughts on “Festival Regatta: Better rower, worse fitness?

  1. sanderroosendaal says:

    Just now had access to the YouTube videos. Watched the 1k one. Big wake. Technique wise, I would recommend working on not putting the blades too deep and pulling horizontal. You seem to be ‘pulling over a barrel’. I suspect this causes your acceleration bump in the RIM stroke profiles as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. bendredman says:

    Blimey! You’re not kidding about that launch wash!

    Your form looked nice generally! Few comments that might be of use:
    1) Eyes in boat off of the start! Don’t check out your opponents until you’ve settled, which should be at least stroke 15, if not later.
    2) Looks a bit like you’re digging the blades in at the catch (particularly the first stroke). Could just be I’m not used to the camera angle. It looks a bit less pronounced towards the end
    3) You can see the moment you decide you can take the guy next to you in the 1km – everything gets a bit more snappy. Row like that the entire way and you’d be miles ahead!
    4) More practise on the starts! You lost a lot of ground on those (in the 2km someone is a length up within the first few strokes). Higher rating, get up to it earlier, and let it last a bit longer before coasting down to cruising pace. It’ll hurt, but that’s what adrenaline is for!

    It’s hard to work out how you’re doing from position compared to others unless you’ve got a much bigger sample than that, so don’t be disappointed due to position or percentage. Training data is much more useful to see improvements!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gregsmith01748 says:

      Wow. Thanks for the comments.
      1) I was spooked since there were no lane markers and our spacing was less than perfect. But, you are right. I should keep my eyes in the boat, for sure.
      2) No, I was definitely digging deep. I think it is related to rowing in the chop. I seem to revert to some bad habits as soon as I feel less balanced at the catch. The headwind had kicked up a reasonable amount of chop at the beginning and it was smoother at the end, so I managed to do a little better then. I need more rough water practice, I think.
      3) Now I have something to work on!
      4) I know. I suck at starts. I played it very safe in the races because I am not confident of my balance when I really hammer the first stroke. I decided that a controlled acceleration was better than a massive crab which would be both slow and embarrassing!

      I am still trying to work out what the hell the happened in the races. I did just about what I should have, but my level of distress and my low heart rate really do not compute. Today’s training session was a very different story.

      I think I need to race more and keep working on technique and starts and be patient with making long term improvements.

      Again, thanks for watching and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

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