A brief escape from endless erging

I am in San Diego on a business trip.  I arrived last night and didn’t have any meetings until late this morning.  I saw an opportunity, and I reached out by email to the fine gentleman from the San Diego Rowing Club who I rowed with last winter to see if I could maybe jump into a boat on Wednesday morning.

I got a positive reply from the master’s coach, and was invited to show up at the boathouse at the ungodly hour of 5am.  I arrived and they decided to put me in a quad with Dan, Mark and Kyle.  I was in the three seat, and Kyle was stroking.  I had the good fortune to show up on a morning that was a reasonably low intensity day.

The session plan was split into a warm up and two 25 minute chunks.  The warm up was feet out rowing.  The first 25 minute piece was 5 – five minute segments of 4′ steady state and 1′ of drills

  • pause at the finish
  • pause at body over
  • pause at quarter slide
  • quarter slide rowing
  • heels down rowing

Then for the second 25 minute piece, a 22/24/26/24/22… rate ladder.

I was really glad for the technical focus.  I have not been in boat since November, and I was sure I would be really rusty.   I was pretty worried that I’d be a lousy person to have in the boat.

It was a good boat.  Kyle in stroke was a metronome.  He didn’t have a speedcoach, but he was hitting the rates.  I had some trouble matching up to his stroke just because he had an enormously long reach.  I would hit the front stops and he would seem to keep going forever afterward.  I had to literally slow my roll to get in sync.  Some times I was OK, but it came and went.  I hope it wasn’t too annoying for them.

The drills were really useful and it was great to get some coaching from the launch.  The coach (Patrick) nailed my technique problems right away (not rocking over completely before breaking my knees on recovery and then lunging at the catch), and provided good real time feedback.

The ladders were not as neat.  The boat was not set very well, and I suspect that I was the main problem.  I was having trouble sitting vertical in the boat.  I was tending to drag my port oar on recovery and my oar work was sloppy in general.

Having said that I was delighted to be on the water and I had a total blast.

Screen Shot 2019-02-13 at 12.07.08 PM

I hope I didn’t wear out my welcome.  I’d love to get back out with this group of guys again.  With all the time I spend alone on an erg or in my single, getting into a quad is a fantastic, fun experience.  It’s a great challenge to get synched up with another rower.  It’s great to get into a boat that is so stable that I can work on getting my blades way off the water on recovery.  And the whole tempo is much faster, even at low rates because the oars are going a lot faster through the water.

Now I’m sitting in the airport waiting to occupy my middle seat on the red eye back to Boston.

Tomorrow:  The schedule calls for a 3 x 20′ L4, but we’ll see how I feel after this flight.


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