…is in the books.
Just as predicted: a tough weekend. But overall, some really great racing from the group.
The erg on Saturday was mentally the more difficult of the two events for me. But I ended up putting together a piece I could be happy with–for now–and I was happy to hear a lot of my teammates bubbling about their PRs this weekend. I realized as we sat and chatted in the ball room at the boathouse that there are few places happier on earth than a room full of rowers who have just completed an erg test. The chat and camaraderie, even from those who fall short of their goals, is some of the most pleasant around. I have come to the conclusion that I will not miss erg testing but I will miss sharing the moments afterwards with my teammates.
After we were cooled down and fueled up (Adrienne ate all my snacks–good thing one of us planned ahead!), we spent a few minutes in the boat bay tuning up the boat, tightening hardware, cleaning tracks and taping wires and seat pads in to the boat. One of my OCD racing traditions is to tighten and clean everything (boat and oars) before racing. At Worlds I don’t get to do any of that, so I get a small amount of satisfaction from being able to do those things when we race small boats here at home. Then I roughed up my oar handle for the third time in two days before finally getting it to a point where I felt I would have a good grip for the whole 4.3k. It took a lot of work, but I got it there (scullers, do not take for granted your rubber grips; though I would never want a synthetic sweep handle, wooden handles are a lot of work).
Then it was time to race. And while we didn’t finish at the top of the group, I am most proud of Adrienne and the way she conducted herself to get the best result we could. We had talked about two main things for our race plan: the rate, and the course. And she performed very well on both counts, steadily building the rate all the way through the piece and pushing it up to a 35 at the end! Way to go Adrienne! For those who don’t know stats, Adrienne and I are not quite the same size, with her legs being about 6 inches longer than mine, so my love of high rates is not always universal in our lineup (same as when she sat 3 behind me this summer in the quad). And secondly, the course. Adrienne nailed it!
There are two major turns on the race course–one starboard and one port. On the first turn as you come around the corner, there are usually lily pads that come out several feet from shore, preventing you from taking the fastest course. If you want to tempt fate, you can row through the lilies to take the faster course, but risk getting your oar(s) caught. I tend to prefer the riskier, faster course, so I told Adrienne that if she could manage it, we should take it. But that if we were going to hit lilies, she had to at least warn me (since it is my oar that hits them on this turn) by saying “Oh ****, LILIES”. Well, she omitted the first part of the call, but sure enough we plowed right through the lilies in a perfect turn yesterday. But then a few strokes later, there was a second unexpected call: “UMM–GRASS!” I looked out just in time to see my blade slicing through some… grass, or sticks or something that had not been a part of the original plan. But no matter, we plowed right through that too, completed the turn, and then had a perfect line to the second turn and pulled that one so tight, Adrienne even tapped a buoy with her oar (never before been done!).
Overall, I’m glad to have been able to race this weekend, and I’m glad that my arm is still attached. I don’t think I raced to my potential on the erg or on the water this weekend, and there is a lot of work to do if I want to join the Team in San Diego for winter training, or make the Team this year. That starts by getting healthy, and then with continuing to get faster and stronger every day. We have a tough week of training ahead before having a week for Thanksgiving on our own–I have to hang in there and do the best I can.
Good job to everyone who raced this weekend–and special congrats to Elle and Caroline for winning the 2- and Gevvie for winning the 1X. Nice racing.
Long Live the Dream,