Sunny, 70s, windy. Wind SW 5mph with gusts to 15. Sun sparking on the water. Really beautiful.
Today the plan was a low intensity steady state session. I decided to take my Alden out for a spin to get used to rowing it and to figure out what kind of paces are reasonable in a shorter and wider boat. I went to Lake Whitehall, which is about 5 minutes from my house and is a popular kayaking, fishing, and canoeing spot. No rowing though. It works OK, but the longest straight is about 2K and that requires some fancy steering through a couple of narrow spots. As I found today, it also builds some chop. It was not an issue in an open water boat, the power boat wakes weren’t either. They were kind of fun to row over.
The Dual XGPS160 acted up again today. For the first 15 minutes of the row, the pace was just bouncing all over the place. Getting stuck for a few seconds, then dropping down to 0:02/500, then returning to normal. Looking at the view on the map, there were a bunch of zigs and zags as the GPS position got messed up and then locked in again. For some reason, it started working after about 15 minutes.
The first half of the row was quite enjoyable. Since the boat turns on a dime, I tried to hug the shoreline more closely than I normally would. After that, the heaviness of the boat started to get to me. I learned that the analogy that Concept2 uses to describe drag factor is spot on. The heaviness on the drive and the faster deceleration were exactly the same. The only difference is that you don’t have the magical PM making the splits faster for that extra effort. You just go a bit slower. My best guess is about 0:20/500 slower. So, the same effort that produces a 2:30 pace in my fluid, produces a 2:50/500 pace in the Alden.
In essence, I will be doing a fair amount of bungee rowing. This has good and bad aspects to it. The good is that it slows everything down on the drive so it is easy to focus on blades depth and not missing water at the catch. The bad is that the load is heavy and I will need to adapt to two very different boat feels. One thing is clear though. It is much better than erging, both in terms of the stroke mechanics and also just getting outside and having some great scenery.
By rowing for over an hour, I found two additional issues with the boat. The first is the seat. I must have a different butt geometry than what the seat was designed for. I started noticing some pain at my right sitz bone about halfway through the row and it kept getting worse and worse. By the time I finished, I could barely support my weight on my right leg, and I was concerned that I might not be able to carry my boat out of the water. After about 5 minutes, the pain subsided a bit and I could function, but it’s still quite sore today. I’m going to try to get the exact same seat as what I have in my fluid. I can sit on that for hours without pain.
The second issue was much more serious, and far more abrupt. As I was rowing back from the south end of the lake to the launch ramp, about halfway, all of the sudden I heard a big bang off to starboard in the middle of my drive. I was sure that something had broken, but I wasn’t sure what. I looked at the rigger and I couldn’t see any damage immediately, so I took a couple of gentle paddle strokes while watching the starboard rigger. Ah ha! I saw that the starboard backstay on the rigger had parted right at the oarlock pin. Every stroke, the rigger was flexing toward the bow. This picture shows where the backstay broke.
So, now I will try to get some new backstays and get it all fixed up.
Today: I skipped rowing this morning because I didn’t get to bed until after 1AM last night. I’m hoping to get a sprint session in on the erg before I fly to Germany tonight on the red eye. The plan is 4 x (6 x 1′ on / 1′ off) 5′ rest.