Saturday: Tough Threshold work on Quinsig

Weather:  Warm, starting in the low 70s and climbing.  Wind was gusty, swinging randomly around from the south to the west.  Average wind was around 4 mph with gusts above 6.  There was a fair amount of chop on the lake.  There were also lots of power boats.


  • Warmup by heading to the north end of the lake (~2K)
  • 2 x 5.5K
  • 5′ rest
  • pace target: 2:20
  • rate: start at 22 for 2k, then to 24 for 2k then to 26 for the last 1.5K

02225_|_1404_|_06:40_|_2:22.3_|_152___|_22.8_|_09.2_|_157___|_head down lake
04476_|_2134_|_10:05_|_2:21.7_|_253___|_25.1_|_08.4_|_168___|_rest of lake
06796_|_5724_|_27:19_|_2:23.2_|_669___|_24.5_|_08.6_|_165___|_full lake
12520_|_2246_|_14:22_|_3:11.9_|_265___|_18.4_|_08.5_|_139___|_feet out

09262_|_44:04_|_2:22.7_|_1074___|_24.4_|_08.6_|_165___|_Main set
01102_|_07:30_|_3:24.2_|_122___|_16.3_|_09.0_|_139___|_rest meters
02246_|_14:22_|_3:11.9_|_265___|_18.4_|_08.5_|_139___|_cool down

What an adventure.

The warmup was reasonably uneventful.  I launched and headed up lake.  The wind was behind me and I was cruising along nicely.  I pushed the pace a little until my heart rate was well up in the UT1 range, then backed off to save myself for the main event.

The plan was to do two complete lengths of the lake, 11k in total at a pace a bit slower than head race pace.  To try to conserve energy, I planned to start at 22spm, and then push the rate up to 24 after 2K, then again up to 26 after another 2k.

This plan lasted until my encounter with the new police boat on the lake.  This is a truly magnificent police boat.  Apparently a surplus open ocean patrol boat from the coast guard.  It’s big and I learned the hard way that it throws a massive wake.

I was pushing hard into the head wind.  At first, in the relatively sheltered north end of the lake, I was doing OK around 2:20 pace, but slowed considerably in the chop and breeze as I got into the second 1000 meters.  Then I saw the police boat over my shoulder.  It passed to my port side, about 40 meters away, and I steered a bit toward the wake to take it straight on my bow.  The wake was huge.  I rolled down either side of my boat, well above the gunwale and completely filled the footwell before it receded to stern.  At first, I thought I would just be brave and muscle on, but the water sloshing around was really bugging me, so I turned into the docks to empty it out.  My pace from the top of the lake to the point I got waked was a 2:22.3.

That part went just fine.  In to the dock. Out of the boat.  All the loose bits out of the boat.  Oars off, lift the boat, drain it out.  Back in the water. Oars back on.  Water bottle and shoes back in the boat.  Get back in the boat.  That is where things went awry.

I stepped into the boat and got my feet strapped in.  At that point, I noticed the dock was just barely beyond my reach to push off.  Oh well, I slowly pulled in my port side oar to push away from the dock.  I had to haul it all the way so that the blade was at the oarlock.  This position was apparently a bit unstable.  I started to push off with my blade tip, and the oar slipped under the side of the dock, and in a heart beat, I was in the water next to my boat wondering what the hell had happened.

So back to square one.  right the boat.  Repeat the drill to get the water out.  Get back in.  Feet in shoes.  Push off and row humbly away.  Very embarrassing.  I paddled out to the proper course and restarted my piece.  The wind must have swung more westerly in this section because the chop was less and my pace was better.  At least it was better until I was waked again about halfway to the narrows.  I got back up to speed and continued to the narrows before I noticed that my speedcoach seemed  to have been stopped during my whole docking/draining/flipping/draining exercise and I had not logged the prior 1000 meters or so.  Dohhh!  I restarted the speedcoach and continued.  Within a few hundred meters, I was waked hard again.  Not enough to swamp me, but enough to make me stop rowing for a couple strokes.  Things were nice and flat for the next 1000m, then another waterskiing boat nailed me with a wake as I was heading into the cove at the south end of the lake.  The last 2K was at a 2:21 pace.  I guess it must have been more of a cross wind than a head wind.

At this point the thought doing another piece just like that one was filling me with dread.  I took a nice rest, a bit longer than 5 minutes and told myself that a nice tail wind would make everything feel much better.  This lie was exposed almost immediately.  The wind was coming just about from exactly sideways, and now I was on the leeward side of the lake, so the chop was bigger.  I gave up on trying to rate down at 22 because it was easier to balance at 24.  It was a real challenge to try to keep my strokes long at the catch because the chop was throwing off my balance.  I was also having trouble finishing clean on some strokes because my oars would come out of the water at different times with the wave action.  Strangely enough, after getting waked 3 times going down lake, I was completely unscathed going uplake for the entire 5700 meters.  I was slower going uplake, with an average pace of 2:23.2.  I blame the chop!

I was very tired by the time I finished the piece at the north end of the lake.  I had a drink, pulled my feet out of the shoes and took it really easy coming back down lake to the dock.  I crawled out of the boat onto the dock.

It wasn’t easy, but I have to say it was a productive session.  Need to get practice in crappy water, and I need lots of minutes at threshold to get ready for head racing.

3 thoughts on “Saturday: Tough Threshold work on Quinsig

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