I’m using the same line twice in two weeks, but what the hell.
Rowed my first formal 2,000 meter indoor rowing race of 2011 today at the Cape Cod YMCA — the annual Cape Cod Cranberry Crunch sponsored by Cape Cod Rowing: the local club that rows on Lake Wequaquet in Centerville. I was entered in the men’s heavyweight division — there were eight of us ranging from maybe 15 years old up to the 60s — and there were races through the afternoon for various categories of girls, women, lightweights and heavyweights.
My race — the combined boys & men’s 2K — was first, so I started warming up almost as soon as I arrived, got good and loose, peeling off layers of clothing until I was conspicuously perched on the ergometer in lane one in my stylish Union Boat Club uni-suit, aka according to my wife, “The Dink Suit”
The eight ergs were networked and a lane display was projected on the wall showing little yellow boat icons with our names next to it. I rocked back and forth a couple times, mouth bone dry, and the monitor counted down — Attention. Ready. Row!
I did a series of short starting strokes to get the flywheel up to speed, and then lit up at 36 strokes a minute for ten strokes with an average split of 1:20. I had written out a race plan on an index card that was on the erg between my feet, and even though I felt like Superman on Crack in the first minute, I resisted the dreaded Fly-And-Die strategy and settled down to 26 strokes per minutes at a 1:41 for 250 meters, and then further down to 1:44 for the next 250.
At the 500 meter mark — 25 percent of the way through — I started to breath twice on each stroke — exhaling at the finish and the catch and inhaling on the drive and recovery as my metabolism shifted into oxygen deficit and my heart rate was climbing into the 160 range.
I did a hard power ten at the 500 meter mark and saw the 17 16 year-old kid, novice Andrew Pereira on the erg next to me — a 220 lb., 6’5″ beast from New Bedford Community Rowing who was definitely going to kick my butt — was cranking a lot faster and pulling away. I was tempted to ignore the index card and chase, but a plan is a plan and the whole purpose of today’s race was to gauge my speed three weeks before the world championships and the plan was to break 7:00 and aim for 6:45.
I felt great in the second 500 picking up the pace to 1:43 and rowed a power ten at the half-way mark. I ignored Pereira r and his coach exhorting him next to me, and stayed on plan, rowing the third 500 at 1:42, and the beginning of the final 500 at 1:41. With 250 meters or about 25 strokes left I “emptied the tank” and sprinted at 1:38. Ten strokes in and the junior was done, finishing with a 6:31. I put the handle down at 6:42.2, fast enough to win the adult division, but second to Pereira who won the Boys Division and had the fastest overall time of the day.
I won some schwag for the effort and felt good enough about the race to brag in a blog post. I’m now ranked 22nd in the world for the 50-55 heavyweight men’s class.
9 thoughts on “The Older We Get the Faster We Were”
I just slid under 7 last year. Aiming for 6:50 this year; probably not by Crash-b though.
That is the sickness!!!!! PR at worlds? Diet and LSD until then. Going round that fly wheel like a gangster emptying a clip in anger.
Thanks Tom and Marta. I’ve got my target for the Crash-B’s
22nd in world? Nice. Bet that 17-year-old won’t be able to say that when he’s your age.
Nice job!! Oh, and “the kid” is 16 🙂 He just started rowing this past summer in our club’s very first learn-to-row class. He’s stuck with it and (clearly) is doing well. Hopefully he’ll be just like you when he reaches your age! See you at the B’s…
Thanks Carolyn – NBCR made an outstanding showing at the races. Andrew has a bright future ahead of him on the business end of an oar.
Thanks David – that’s our goal! He’s a great kid and I’m happy our club started just in time for kids like him. Hope to see you this spring when we host a few races on the Acushnet River!
Atta-boy David! I’m thinkin’ that you should rock the Brooks School Wrestling singlet for the ‘Crash B’s’! Wear only one shoulder strap to shake up the oppo, maybe throw a potato in the back because lumps distract..See what I’m sayin’! You’ll soar right into the top 10!