Another day at the races: Beak of the Chick

Sorry - the complete group picture did not take place due to BBQ sandwich and shandy, and the urge of others to head home - blame it all on Felix (as usual)

Sorry - the complete group picture did not take place due to BBQ sandwich and shandy, and the urge of others to head home - blame it all on Felix (as usual)

Yet another helpful race experience – everybody – including Ken - had a good time.

In many aspects, it was a trial run for the upcoming big head races Charles and Hooch:

  • How long does it take us to agree on lineups? Long – one mind changed 30 minutes before the trailer left, the other 20 minutes before the race

  • How quickly can we find a towing vehicle? Extremely fast – thank you Brian for contributing your truck – and thank you for not telling me before we left that you only changed the transmission Wednesday night in your sloping garage

  • How quickly can we load and onload the trailer? 90 minutes to load, 30 minutes to unload with 4-8 rowers

  • Can we partner with Raleigh Rowing Center and do composite boats? Yes – easy – fun – fast – Lake Wheeler is only a 40 minute trailer ride away in Friday afternoon rush hour

  • How do practice results convert to race results? Not very well – we have never faced ground swells and changing tides before. Yet another reason to go to as many races as possible and gather experience!

  • Did it pay off to practice the quick U-turn? Sort of – if only we had thought about practicing clockwise, too.

The individual race results:

  • Tracy in her 1x: Tracy volunteered to do the Charity Row at the beginning of the regatta to scout the course. In perfect conditions she kept up with a 4+. Then – you guessed it right – she encountered a buoy (out of line). To improve on the Richmond experience, she not only hit it, she hugged it (buoy in armpit). She did not flip and came home with valuable course intelligence. Thank you!

  • 4+ with Tracy as cox, Dan as stroke, Jason, Richard S, Felix: It seems that we all did not learn the lesson from Sarasota and again hit the race without a proper warmup (Brian found the erg after we left and Tracy was eager to get to the start line). As usual with old men (it was Dans 45 birthday, after all) there was too much adrenaline induced over-power after the start. In combination with an unexpected ground swell, that made some floppy rowing for the first 600 meters. Once we got together (and the blades on the water to set the boat), speed and consistency increased and we got ready for the U-turn – which was perfectly initiated – if only we had figured in the current. Half way into the turn we had to abort, re-adjust and then do another turn (see chart). With the adrenaline finally gone, and thanks to Jason’s and Richard’s finishes, we had an efficient 2nd half with a good sprint (thank you Dan for stroking a smiley face).

greifensee race.png

Unfortunately, the other, much younger, team beat us by 8 seconds in raw time. They were the local team with a clear advantage at the turn, I would say as excuse.

  • Masters Men’s 4x with Brad in stroke, Bob, Ken, Rick: In the event with the most entries, they did very well. And if times were handicapped (they were by far the oldest) they might even have won.

    They executed a perfect turn with stern pair holding on starboard, bow pair stroking on port (thank you Rick for gathering this competitive intelligence before the race).

    The tide turned between the first and second race. The chart shows that they did a great job controlling the rate and getting run. Can you see where they caught a crab?. Amazing how quickly they recovered, literally never missing a beat. Fitness and endurance might need some work, though (unless they can explain the dip in speed towards the end with being waked).

freight train Wednesday.png
  • Open Men’s 4x with Brian in stroke, Jason, Richard, birthday boy Dan in bow: By now all rowers were warmed up. And guess what: they won – being the only entry. So, the question was whether they could post the fastest time of the day (over all events). With a SpeedCoach guessed time of 11:14 they did (the organizers forgot to take their start time, therefore could not compile an official time). Best “official time: of the day being 11.31. According to their words, the row was work. They never got to the point where it was just “tapping along”. Felix thinks that with this lineup they should easily be able to row below 11 minutes.

  • Masters Mixed 2x with Brian in stroke and Tracy in bow: This boat has seen the most lineup changes of any entry. And the stars just did not align. They were waked, soaked, almost flipped. Comment “we do not want to talk about it!” Felix even had to delete the respective SpeedCoach data. Our friends from Raleigh Rowing won (I assume). Congratulations.

Hand heights?

Hand heights?

  • Masters Mixed 4x with Brian at stroke, Justin (RRC), Sarah (RRC), Tracy in bow: this was the last race of the day, with our composite boat with Raleigh being the last one to launch. As Tracy put it: “Brian and I redeemed ourselves”. The lineup seems to have worked, the whole crew looked good and in synch. They won in a competitive field. Congratulations!

Side notes:

  • If Felix had hearing problems before, he is now completely deaf thanks to the redneck exhaust system on Brian’s truck (I think we need a gofundme campaign to replace it…

  • The rebels might have defeated the British redcoats (and their Hessian mercenaries) in Williamsburg, but the incomprehensible British road system for sure survived

  • Sarah (and Trader Joe) introduced the organizers to shandy. It was an instant success thanks to temperatures in the upper 80s and humidity in the 90s (William: you were wrong about the mosquitos, though)

  • Trailers are not as self-explanatory as one might think. Maybe Tim can introduce all non-farmers into “best practices” to prevent us from having to lift the thing again - and other “details”.

  • Ken and Rick re-took the initiative to add a support beam to trailer the “finally good 8+”. Thank you very much. The Hooch will be the first weekend in November

  • Brad is still in survey mode: At the coaches and coxswain meeting, he and Bob gathered intel from every club present on their coaching, how much they spend on it, and how they support members with racing ambitions

  • Richard S. challenged Tim/Felix to a race against him and Jason which – according to him -the youngsters “will win easily against the old men”. Just name a place, distance and time …

  • Susan and Reesee (I hope I got that right) provided beer, birthday cupcakes, water melon and – most importantly – Led Zeppelin for everybody. It seems that is the soundtrack that gets Ken/Rick/Bob/Brad into race mode!

  • Cultures clashed over “group picture” vs. “group social with beer/shandy BBQ”. In the end none of it was completely achieved. I am sorry – but the chef’s choice sandwich, Jason polling cyclists how to pronounce cycling terms, and RRCs description of Eurotrash slings were irresistible.

Thank you:

  • Richard S for organizing everything!

  • Brian for driving/parking/racing the trailer – we beat RRC to Lake Wheeler – never race against a Virginian with a BBQ sandwich in his stomach

  • RRC everybody else for helping loading/ unloading the trailer

Finally made it to Kindergarten

Five years ago, 7 (actually: 8 since Reid delegated his voting rights to Carol) optimistic rowers started CHaOS Rowing (also known as the Chatham Amateur Oars Society)..

Finally reaching Kindergarten age, CHaOS going stronger than ever.

Over the last 12 months we have

  • Continued our outstanding safety record

  • Miraculously received a brand new trailer and a Lee county redneck a new hey trailer

  • Completed the boat park with a safety launch, an ultra heavy weight 4x (Freight Train), and ultra heavy weight 2x (Griffinfly), and a Resolute heavy weight 8+ that still waits to be rowed more often.

  • Improved the facilities with a new oar rack and a comfortable layer of gravel (and continuously replacing the hardware stolen from our dock)

  • Raced successfully on the regional, national, and international level (and missed our first race start - without a bad word being spoken afterwards)

  • Consolidated (and in one case: improved) the relations with the other North Carolinian clubs

  • Established CHaOS Adaptive Rowing and successfully put the first rowers on the water. At current growth rates, CAR will soon be bigger than CHaOS

A big “Thank You” to all members! It was a real team effort. Could not have achieved all of this without you!

A further positive sign is that our club is rejuvenating with a new generation stepping up. The board has 2 members who joined CHaOS over the last 3 years. At the Richmond race, none of the Charter Members participated and a young and enthusiastic group of racers competed very successfully (and had a lot of fun - including a large amount of beer).

The goals for the next 12 months can be summarized as “consolidation”:

  • put the club on a sound financial footing by increasing dues and converting to a section 501 c 3. Richard S. will soon send you instructions on how to renew your membership and pay your dues – and your private boat insurance.

  • sustain our equipment by building a rigger rack, improving the way we rack boats and oars, updating Hedi, and dispose of surplus boats

  • lay the foundation for further successful racing by fighting the “CHaOS fade”

We came this far because of you! Thank you very much for making CHaOS your club and never stopping to contribute toward its success!

Hope to see you on the water soon!

Brad, Felix, Richard S, Tim

Virginia Sprints: Adopt a buoy day!

Women Master 2x - came in second after sprinting through

Women Master 2x - came in second after sprinting through

Six rowers and an old man went to the Virginia Sprints in Richmond yesterday.

With 17 participating clubs it was a bigger event than High Point. We used it as preparation for the upcoming “big” sprint events SE Regionals and Diamond States.

Our theme for 2019 - courtesy of Jürgen Gröbler - is “try new things and get ready for 2020”. We therefore raced untested lineups, some combinations sitting in the same boat the first time on the way to the start.

The second goal is to overcome the “CHaOS Fade” – last year’s race profiles showed a fast first 300, followed by a continuous fade and an inability to effectively sprint to the line. This year we are aiming for negative splits, hoping to end up with an even speed through all 4 quarters. Data still needs to be analyzed in detail, but from the coach’s chair it looked that we made substantial progress toward this goal.

Race profiles are getting more consistent (M4-)

Race profiles are getting more consistent (M4-)

Results beat expectations, too – by far (link to final results)

The “why not” boat was the 4 – with Dan in bow, Richard S stroking and Brian and Jason in the engine room. They came in second on the water, 3rd (=last) after handicap, being beat by 1.2 seconds. They hugged a buoy, thus starting the trend for the day. All of them are alpha males. Adrenaline and power were stronger in the sprint than the technical ability to have a strong finish on every stroke. After watching the video, even Richard S agrees that we have to work on that.

The next race was the mixed 4x with Blair in stroke, Jason, Richard S, and Tracy steering. With rain in the forecast, Blair took out her ears, ignored the commands and stroked a perfect race. Yes, there was another buoy in the way, so all four, without hearing a command, just did a second start and motored through the field, winning by more than 30 seconds. Even after the handicap (Blair is way tooooooo young), the CHaOS boat won handily.

Jason and Richard S then hot-seated into the men’s masters 4x, with Dan in bow, Richard stroking and the big boys in the engine room. Yes, you guessed it right, there was another buoy, this time to be hit head on at 300 or so meters. Followed by a lesson in effective sprinting from the other team. CHaOS was vying for the lead with about 200 meters to go. Then the other team took a beat out of the stroke rate and started to motor away. CHaOS came in second on the water (handicapped result follow link above) and exhausted. They learned 2 lessons: Dan wants to steer with a mirror from now on, and “keep cool” is the art of sprinting.

After tea (he is British after all) Richard S joined Occoquan Boat Club for the Masters Mens 8+. It was good to see the CHaOS orange among the sea of red. They came in 3rd in a very fast field. No, no buoy, but a boat stopping crab from the strongest rower in the boat. They recovered well but ran out of water at the end.

Tracy chose to row the Buffalo for the Women’s Masters 2x. She thought the steering would prevent her from hitting another buoy (it did not). However, the boat was too big for the two of them. Their 5 stroke start had 10 alternating strokes - each rower only catching with one oar at the time (courtesy of the police boat swinging by). They recovered fast, and dancing like a ping pong ball in the ocean, they kept up with the leaders to come in second (raw time, no adjusted times, see link above). Blair obviously only hears what she wants to hear – she never settled and thus kept up with the leaders. Even though they could not make up what they lost at the start, they did not lose another inch thereafter. Well raced!

Last race of the day was the Men’s Open 2x with Brian in stroke (yes the “I can only sweep” Brian) and Dan in bow. They rowed a perfect race – smooth controlled start, steady race profile, relaxed shoulders. They were just unlucky to be up against the Virginia state champions who won by open water, always controlling the race. CHaOS came in second with two very happy rowers. Dan made clear that from now on, the Buffalo is “their” boat.

The old man’s summary of the day:

  • Race plans and controlled race profiles start to show results. Overall we start to be stronger towards the finish line. Still lots of work to be done to balance adrenaline and technique.

  • The youngsters are coming. Blair and Brian stroked almost perfect profiles. Thank you very much!

I think we know what we have to do to prepare for the next races: SE Regionals, Diamond States and Beak of the Chick: train in the line-ups we plan to race (Dan, Brian, Blair please make it happen), refine the finishes, and sprint effectively.

Big THANKS to:

  • Richard S for organizing everything – we know it was not easy

  • Brian for impressing everybody (and I mean everybody) which his trailer backing skills around two turns in a tight spot and driving the trailer to Richmond

  • Tracy for preventing the moods from deteriorating with entertainment and food and (almost) perfect steering – it was adopt a buoy day after all

  • Dan (and Susan) for forcing us to stop at the Legendary Brewery and solving the conundrum of gender transition sports (and global warming vs. 85 degree pools on the way there)

  • Jason, Tracy, Felix for sanding and painting the oars (second coat still needed - volunteers?)

  • Everybody for getting up that early and unloading the trailer in pouring rain in the middle of the night (with frogs and toads as a noisy audience). I hope we passed this morning’s quality check.

Hope to see you at the races soon!

First race of season: we have 1+2+4 NC Masters State Champions (and were only beaten by a crew from Georgia in the other races)

Despite the anger of the weather gods, we had a great start into the 2019 racing season at the North Carolina Masters State Championships in High Point. Complete results are here.

 Everybody went home with at least 2 medals around their neck.

 Many thanks to those who made it possible

  • Richard S for being organizer in chief + setting boats + getting the towing vehicle + keeping everybody on their toes + bankrolling everything (looking forward to the spreadsheet – since Tim did not race, it may have more than one tab).

  • Brian for driving the trailer – we hope you race a lot with us …

  • Tracy for providing shelter, food, and a new 4-legged club mascot

  • Kylie for coxing us and making sure we do not miss a start (the only warning we got was in the quad race ….)

  • Statler and Waldorf for keeping us entertained

  • Ken for providing the beer

  • Everybody for helping with de-rigging and loading (and the other way around)

 Proof again: CHaOS is a great club

 Things we learned (not sorted by importance):

  • Brian can eat a foot long sandwich and win a race 40 minutes later

  • One can become State Champion despite rowing off with the oarlocks backward

  • Holding on to one’s oar(s) when getting in and out of the boat is not taught at Harvard (and some other Northeastern schools)

  • Rick has an irresistible affinity to water: when helping others wet launch (resulting in an aching rear end) and when trying to row square blades

  • The European and US cultures clash over the term “I can’t”, one thinking it has to do with attitude, the other trying to say “we will be faster at 28spm”

  • Tow trucks can get stuck in the mud, too

  • A men’s 8 from Atlanta can be flabbergasted by a men’s 7+1woman (actually, 2 if you count Kylie) from CHaOS

  • A 30 meter detour made Brad’s day (and won a silver medal for the Freight Train – not bad for its first race …)

  • Oxford and Denmark are not happy with posting the fastest time (of the day) – they also wants to win on handicap (just grow up – sorry – old)

  • Duct tape and beer make a good combination – even with Rob overseas …

  • After a winter of training, CHaOS can execute a race plan and achieve a race profile with minimal fade the coach of the Australian M8+ calls “right on the money

Thank you for a great start into the 2019 racing season!

CHaOS Analysis Tool

Disappointed by @nk_rowing and overwhelmed by @rowsandall we programmed our own analysis tool. Upload #speedcoach FIT file and analyze #strokerate, #heartrate and #splits in one chart and see on map where you rowed it.

Use the sliders to select the part of the outing you want to analyze – see average splits, strokerate, and heartrate all in one chart.

The #chaosanalysis is part of our #chaossignup (no, not #icrew). CHaOS tools for competitive small #rowingclubs who want the basics - the way they need it.

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