Sunday: Cromwell Cup

Weather:  misty rain.  Temp around 65F.  Light winds.  Flat water, except for some launch wakes.

I got to Riverside around 6am.  I unloaded and parked my car close by.  I was all settled in time for the 6:20 racers meeting.  Then I waited around to launch.  My start was at 8:43, so I launched just after 8AM, and made my way up river to the warmup area above the start.  I did a version of my normal warmup with increasing rates, and then did some starts.  The first couple were pretty horrid, but I settled down and eventually shook off the nervousness.  Then it was pretty much OK.

Were called to the line 5 minutes before our start and lined up across the river.  No bouys marking lanes or the start line.  There was just a tent on the shore and a person with a megaphone calling alignment.  As soon as she called it aligned, the starter on the launch behind us called out.  “This is the start.  Ready.  Attention.  Row!”  I’m very glad that I setup at the catch when alignment was called, because there was no screwing around on this one.

My start was clean, but uninspired.  I was in lane 2, which share the center span of the two bridges with lane 3.  I was side by side with the guy in lane 3 through the first bridge and there was only about 5 m between us.  It was exciting stuff, but he was faster than I was and I was flying and dying trying to stay side by side with him.  After the first bridge, I settled in at about r30 and just tried to hold on to some semblance of technique.  The launch was aggressively calling steering commands to all of us, and I found it a bit disruptive.  I lost stroke count a couple of times because I was trying to listen, steer, watch the pace, count and row cleanly.  But the main thing was that I had gone out too hard and I was paying the price now.

The second bridge is only about 300m away from the first, but I felt like time was passing in slow motion.  That’s what happens to me when I don’t have a good stroke count to keep me centered.  I went under the second bridge, finally, and looked at Crewnerd.  Crewnerd told me I had 350m left to go.  In my head, I translated that to another forty strokes.  Two sets of 20.  I can do that.  I started pushing the pace again and got through 20 strokes.  At this point, I got some more steering suggestions.  I had drifted over into lane 1, by the docks of the Riverside Boathouse.  I took a couple of hard port strokes, and then counted out the remaining 20 strokes to the finish, but no beep!  I kept on going for a couple more strokes and the finish horn finally went off.  I was massively disappointed with my time, 4:01.3.    I finished 3rd in my 4 person race.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.17.20 PM.png

Here are the results of the other heat.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.45.33 PM.png

After the finish, I rowed down to the BU bridge for a cool down, and that was it for the day.

Here’s the whole row.  The race was from LAP002 to LAP003.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.25.08 PM.png

Here’s a zoomed view of my course.  You can see that my steering was way less than ideal.  I started off going toward lane 1, eventually got my point on the bridge and went through it side by side with the guy in lane 3.  After that bridge, I veered away from him, but it looks like my course was reasonably straight toward the second bridge.  Coming out of the second bridge, I started veering toward lane3, and was pointed back by the launch following us.  I guess I must have overcorrected because you can see how I drifted out into lane 1.  The guy in lane 1 was well behind at this point, so there was no interference,  but I added some extra distance and slowed myself down to steer at the end.

Screen Shot 2016-07-10 at 1.25.47 PM

Here’s pace, spm and heart rate.

Here’s a zoomed view of the race.


I covered an extra 10-20 meters over the 1k due to my lousy steering.  The slow down at the end was me steering back to lane 2 away from the dock.





So, what am I to make of this race.

  • The pace that I managed was what I should have been expecting based on the prep work I had been doing.  I was doing an all out 500m at a 1:55 pace, so a 1K should have been between 1:58 and 1:59.
  • My steering was bad.  I think that was mainly because I have been trying to make up for a lack of good specific preparation by trying to push very close to my limits.  Last year, I was very disciplined about looking every ten strokes and it was a better race.
  • With regard to race specific training.  Between my travel schedule, my lack of a boat until a month ago, and not having a good specific training plan, I was not well prepared for this race.  I did enough training on starts, but I did not do enough heavy lifting.  I needed more 4x1Ks, 6x750s and 8 x 500s.
  • My base fitness isn’t as good as it has been either.  My 2mmol power is around 185w right now on the erg.  I think last year it would have been about 10 watts higher.  That’s about 4 seconds on pace, and I think it made a big difference in the second half of the race.

Based on all of that, I did as well as I should have expected.  And I’m fine with that.  Honestly, I’m not completely fine with it, but I understand it, and I will use it to define my training from here on out.

Now I set my sights on head racing season.  Here’s a preliminary race schedule.

  • Sept 17: CRI Fall classic (5K)
  • Oct 2: Textile River Regatta (6K)
  • Oct 9: Quinsigmond Snake Race (4K)
  • Oct 22: Head of the Charles (5K) (If I get in the lottery)
  • Nov 5: Merrimack Chase (5K)

I need to put together a more formal training plan, but for now, I will be focusing on aerobic base.  Lot’s of 2mmol rowing.  It’s also time for some video and RIM feedback.



11 thoughts on “Sunday: Cromwell Cup

    • gregsmith01748 says:

      I should have put quotes around the word “suggestions”. I obeyed immediately, and they were actually really helpful. I like this event a lot. The people running it are enormously competent, but low key and relaxed. It ran on time and smoothly just like last year.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. dcyyz says:

    You spent a lot of time rating over 30spm which was probably not the most efficient use of energy. It is hard in a race to keep it under control, but that’s what training is all about. Switching over to head race training with two months to go rather than continuing with sprints will pay dividends in the Fall.

    Liked by 1 person

    • sanderroosendaal says:

      I am not sure I agree. A 1k race is not about efficiency but more about effectiveness. One would have to be very efficient to get the power in at 29spm. This is racing over 4 minutes and less.


      • dcyyz says:

        If you can row 1:58 at 30 why row 1:58 at 34? If you’re not trained at rowing at 34 then rowing at 34 because that’s the rate you “should” row a 1k at, isn’t going to make you any faster, just tired sooner.

        Liked by 1 person

      • sanderroosendaal says:

        I cannot reply to DCYYZ’s comment to my comment, so I reply to myself.

        I think we are converging here. If you can row 1:58 at 30 but you cannot row, say,1:52 at rate 34, then stick to rate 30. Looking at the HR plot, I would say that Greg being fully prepared for 1k racing would have been able to get to the “red” zone and be faster than he was.

        Well, in the end of the day it is speculating about Greg. I would love to hear what Greg thinks about this.

        PS – Are you Dave from the ISS blogs? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. bendredman says:

    Doesn’t look much like a fly-die to me – it’s possibly a bit fast at the start, but not by much. Actually, looking at it, it looks about right! The guy next to you must have had a pretty similar race profile to yours as he wasn’t a lot faster by the end. Maybe it’s the race specific training that’s been missing meaning you really felt it.

    When there’s lots going on (normally steering or a super close race) I can’t cope with everything, so have to stop thinking about things. Counting strokes is the first thing that goes for me so I can concentrate on the priorities

    Having said that… in the last race I did I got so panicked about the start (strong flowing stream with a static start – squaring up was a test of faith) and then trying to catch up, that I was down to just concentrating on going hard (river assisted I hit 1:22 pace). Into the bank as it turned out…

    Liked by 2 people

      • stelph82 says:

        Agree, this season even though I had been racing 2k’s and preparing for those, it still didn’t really prepare me for the 1K which is a particularly brutal one since you tend to go off hard from the start, settle and then immediately wind for the finish!

        Usually its the practicing of starts and transitioning into race pace that needs focusing on, personally this is the toughest part of the race as its (relatively) easy to go off hell for leather, and also (relatively) easy to have a solid mid race pace – its much harder to do one after the other in an actual race

        Liked by 1 person

  3. dcyyz says:

    Yes, Sander, Dave (tinpusher) from ISS blogs.
    Not being able to reply to a reply is a PITA.
    Greg normally doesn’t have any problems getting into the red. Maybe 1k was just too short to do so yesterday.
    I think Greg would agree that he isn’t in the shape to row 1:52 at 34. Me neither for that matter!

    Liked by 1 person

    • gregsmith01748 says:

      This is awesome. Glad to see so much commenting going on, even if the crux of it centers around my lack of fitness to do my best in a 1K race 😉

      A few notes.
      1. I felt comfortable and efficient between 30 and 32. When the rate got below 30 at these paces, I was noticing a lot of leg fatigue. Above 32, and I started losing a lot of length.
      2. Getting in the red. I can usually get in the red in a 1K piece. I think what happened yesterday was a problem with muscle fatigue, not aerobic limits. I could feel myself losing coordination and I was losing power in my legs during the last 40 strokes. I was also distracted by my steering problems. I don’t think that was limited by lack of training, I think it was a problem with race plan execution.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s