Saturday morning I’ll be rowing in the 47th Annual Head of the Charles Regatta in the Senior Master Eights as a ringer for the Northern Virginia Rowing Association. I’m in decent shape, so none of the usual pre-race terror of a myocardial infarction apply. I just need to survive 5,000 meters up the best river rowing course in the world (I’m biased) in the world’s biggest two-day rowing regatta in front of a crowd of 300,000 spectators.
I think I rowed in the HOCR for the first time in the early 1970s, when it was a one-day affair, in a Brooks School four assembled on the fly by my coach, David Swift. Since then I’ve rowed it about two dozen times — mostly in fours and eights, prep school boats, college boats, alumni boats, and once solo in the senior master singles. This is the high point of the fall rowing season for me — the Green Mountain Head was cancelled due to river conditions in Putney, VT. I put in a mediocre performance in Mystic at the Coastweeks Regatta in September. Missed the New Bedford Regatta because I boneheadedly forgot the rolling seat for my single …. but now, on the penultimate weekend of October, will wind up the on-the-water season with one big row.
Come Monday gears get shifted to prepare for the indoor rowing season. A new erg is on its way to my New York City office, I’m down to fighting weight, now it’s just a matter of meters and suffering.