Friday: 20km on the Charles River Basin

Thursday:  I was too tired at 4am to get up and workout before my flight.  So I didn’t.

I got home from the airport around 7pm and had a nice relaxed evening.

Friday:  Since I will be rowing in the HOCR, I need to learn the river.  This session was the first step towards doing that.  The plan was for two hours of steady state down the whole HOCR course and into the basin, then turn and row up the course in the direction of the race.  There are lots of bridges and turns, so there is a lot to learn.

I launched at a public boat ramp next to Community Rowing in Brighton.

I managed to knock my seat off the rails while doing my beach launch, so I scooted over to their docks and got myself fixed up.  Then I proceeded down river.

I had spent a little time looking at the Charles River Rowing Map. But I certainly had not memorized it.  I began to regret this almost immediately.  After heading downstream from the CRI docks, you pass under the North Beacon Street Bridge.  About 500m past that bridge, there is a sandbar that extends more than halfway across the river.  It is well marked, but I misjudged how close I could cut it and ended up dragging my fin and speedcoach impeller through the sand and needed to gingerly turn to escape.  It didn’t really occur to me that it could be as shallow as it was, but I looked off to the side of my boat and about 20 feet away from me downriver, I saw a goose standing on the sandbar, and his body wasn’t even touching the surface.  It must have only been about an inch deep there!

Having extricated myself, I then continued downstream through the Arsenal Bridge, and past the Northeastern boathouse.  Just downstream from there is where the HOCR finish is.  Along this part, I also managed to get some weeds entangled in my impeller, so the pace was wrong on my speedcoach.  It took a bit of time to realize this and I really raised the pressure to get back to sub-2:30 splits.

I continued down river through the Eliot Bridge turn.  This turn is HUGE.  It’s about 1 km around the bend and now I can see why it so hard to keep a good line in the race.  It just keeps going and going. Finally you straighten out and hit the Anderson Bridge.  This was the warmup area for the Cromwell, so I rowed up and down the section from the Anderson Bridge to the Weeks footbridge a number of times that morning.  Today, I just went straight through the Weeks foot bridge and onto the 1km straight section called the Powerhouse Stretch.  There are two bridges in this section, the Western Avenue Bridge and the River Street bridge.

I had rowed 5.5km by the time I hit the Powerhouse stretch, and nearly 7km by the time I entered the broad turn toward the BU Bridge.  I was starting to feel a bit tired.  I had been rowing a lot harder than I had intended.  Mainly because I wanted to see faster splits, but I think also because there were other folks on the river and I didn’t want to be a slowpoke.

After going through the BU Bridge, I passed in front of BU’s DeWolfe Boathouse, which is the HOCR starting line.  This is also the finish of the 2K course in the basin.  So I lined up on one of the lanes and continued rowing down stream under the Harvard Bridge, and nearly all the way to the Longfellow Bridge.

At the point where the speedcoach told me I had done 10K, I turned around and had a drink.  I’d been rowing for a bit more than an hour.  I then set myself up and got going in the other direction.  I discovered that I had a bit of a headwind to contend with, and I was getting a pretty tired.  I rowed upstream over the HOCR course and tried to pick out useful landmarks to use for different sections of the river.  After I passed the finish of the HOCR I slowed down and paddled through the narrow bit of the river.  Through the last 2 km or so I was gaining on a women sculling ahead of me.  I pushed the pace to cleanly pass her before we got to the North Beacon Bridge.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.05.22 AM Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 9.05.37 AM

I had such a good time!  It is a remarkable place to row.  Some nice straight sections, broad turns in both directions.  Tons of bridges.

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Certainly keeps you alert.

I think I might try to do this again a few more times.  It was really information overload this time.

2 thoughts on “Friday: 20km on the Charles River Basin

  1. stelph82 says:

    It is a nice stretch, and technically challenging enough that you feel glad when you street a good course (or annoyed if you don’t!) Theres definitely an advantage for the local rowers!

    You could also get some experience racing at one of the “head of the Kevin” that riverside run as preparation races, tho I think you have to get yourself invited by a current member

    Liked by 1 person

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