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