If you can’t ride, then row

The end of my cycling career is essentially sealed now that I have sent the insurance settlement check for my old bike (The Viktor Rapinski Team Saturn LeMond) onto New York University so my eldest can become Martin Scorcese.

That means getting on my other exercise vehicle, my Empacher T18R training scull, and logging some meters around Grand Island here on Cape Cod.

I rowed in high school and college, gave it up after I graduated, then returned to it in 1995 after writing The Book of Rowing for Overlook Press. I bought my scull in 1997, named it the Arsch Clown in honor of Michael Bolton, Office Space, and the boat’s German origin, and have raced it a couple times in the Head of the Charles and the Green Mountain Regatta.


Here I am in the HOCR. I later hit a bridge abutment,  but managed not to capsize despite the exhortations to do so by drunken Harvard students. That would have been more than embarassing.

I carry the boat on my head down the hill to the harbor, launch off of the beach, and row approximately 9,000 meters around Grand Island. Here’s a link to the route.

It’s a great workout on some of the most beautiful sculling water in the Northeast — maybe a little less fun than cranking around on a racing bicycle, but infinitely safer and a better overall bang for my exercise buck.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “If you can’t ride, then row”

  1. trail a lure or hooked eel and get in some trolling time. My brother bought a Triak two weeks ago, trolled a gold castMaster his first time out at Big Bear Lake and got very confused when he caight a 2.5 pound rainbow while sailing. Memo to self, think very hard before loosely tying 10 pound test line with to big brother’s big toe as he sails new boat for first time.


  2. Chuck had slowed down and got it near the bottom. he was freaked when the line started tugging on his toe. when iheard about it, i assumed he had punched the fish out!.


  3. Glad to hear you’re back on the water, where blood doping doesn’t exist–just pain and extreme forms of masachism.

    I’ll be racing in your neck of the woods this Saturday morning, at the Slocum River Regatta in Darmouth, MA. With a 5k erg time now at 20:20, and finishes that seem to be getting worse (much to my dismay), this 2-miler could go either way for me.

    How’s the water around Grand Island at the crack of dawn?

  4. I started using the rowing machine at the gym in my apartment here in Beijing this week…first time “rowing.” It’s a great workout for sure, my shoulders were burning the next day. Looks like a lot more fun on the water, and probably more difficult than sitting in a gym.

  5. Ergs don’t float, as my coach used to say, but I still live on mine. It’s an ugly thing that gets better as you get shape, and then gets evil when you start racing yourself and getting obsessed with the online rankings at concept2.com

    Then there’s the CRASH-B sprints which involves public hari kari in the company of a few thousand other masochists.

    good luck in Dartmouth on Sat. Paul. That sounds like a nice regatta. You should also consider the Coastweeks Regatta in Mystic. That’s a great fall event. The best is the Green Mountain in Putney Vt. the third week of September. You’re on the water with ex- and current Olympic medalists and the prizes are bags of apple, bottles of maple syrup, and blocks of cheddar. Only time I did it was in a pouring rain. Since everyone parks in a recently harvested corn field, the place turned into mudville.

    Mike, glad you’re settling in. I may try to borrow that machine when I next visit BJ

  6. Coastweeks Regatta in Mystic? Already signed up.

    In addition, I’m signed on for the Meridith Bay Regatta on Lake Winnepesaukee, NH, the Textile River Regatta and the NH Championships.

    But I may have to reconsider my schedule. I do love that Vermont cheddar!

  7. I”m going to float three miles of the San gabriel River East Fork later today on an innertube though the rapids. it’s stupid but testicle chilling and fun. It’s a six mile hike up to the start of the float and then you rocket past watering big horn sheep who uniformly say it’s “Baaaaaaaaaaaaad”


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