ErgScores.com is a good tool for erg blogging

ErgScores.com | Welcome

I’ve started to get into this interesting site for tracking and mapping ergometer scores. What’s most impressive is the guy behind the site, Jeff Wagner, redefines great blog marketing. He detected I was erg blogging, invited me to check out Ergscores.com, then … and this is cool, wrote a widget that permits me to auto-publish my scores from the site to this blog every day, and a gadget for iGoogle.
What is ErgScores.com?

ErgScores.com is a free online indoor rowing management application. With ErgScores.com you can:

* New! Daily Erg Blogging
* New! Team Accounts
* Classifieds. Search for rowing equipment from classifieds across the web.
* My Community mashup of rowers by distance.
* Calendar support for scores and workouts
* Support for Google Gadgets
* Create and manage goals
* Manage your erg scores, daily workouts and graph your progress over time
* Export your scores into a variety of formats for sharing with others
* Team data management with graphs, reports and lineup comparison for coaches
* Access your scores from anywhere
* High School rowers can release scores to college coaches
* ….more features are being added daily. Comments welcome

Here’s what Jeff wrote me recently as an example of total mash-up passion:

The biggest obstacle is getting the data into ErgScores.com.  I have not used RowPerfect, but I believe they have an auto-sync method that uploads the data directly to C2.  Unfortunately, C2 has no public APIs for their log book (that I know of anyway). So you would have to input your data into ErgScores.com directly.  Perhaps, I could make data entry easier for you by writing a Google Desktop widget for data entry or something of that nature.

Let me know what you think.

FYI: I book marked that erg finder you were looking for this morning for you ( http://del.icio.us/jwagner/for:dchurbuck). I’d love to mash that up as well..”

Spring sculling – OTW

OTW = on the water, shorthand in my rowing log for an outdoor scull around Grand Island. This morning was perfect — temperatures in the 60s, no wind, water like glass. So down the road I go with my boat, launch in the mud on an extremely low tide, climb aboard, get my muddy feet into the stretchers, turn on the SpeedCoach and off I go at 24 strokes per minute for 45 minutes and 9200 meters around the three bays of Cotuit, Marstons Mills and Osterville.

After three months of garage workouts, staring the grill of my car, rolling back and forth on the ergometer listening to heavy metal and electronica, a scull on smooth water in a wakening spring landscape is just the ticket. This is a rowing day — I’m off to Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester to see my daughter’s first race of the season.

Erg blogging — back from Beijing baby

My last workout was a week ago — Saturday, a water workout — but I hit the gym at the Loong Palace (aka “The Lonely Palace” due to its utterly remote location and long distance from downtown Beijing) as soon as I arrived on Monday afternoon — China time — and discovered I had forgotten my running shoes, forcing me to shuffle through the library in white socks and stupid plastic shower slippers.  There I found the usual anemic exercise equipment. Rack of dumb-bells, stair-master, elliptical, stationary bike, recumbent bike, and of course

No Concept2 ergometer. The closest one was 50 km away at my step-sister’s house SE of the city, and I expect it probably is one of the few in the country save for those used by the handful of Chinese crews (which I have seen rowing on a river in the city last year).

So, since my boss was on the elliptical, I climbed onto the stairmaster and trudged away for ten minutes, switching to the bike for another ten. It is frustrating to only workout half of your body after getting the full treatment on the erg. But, breaking a sweat after the flight is a good thing, the only cure, and a necessity to, in the words of Joe Nickerson, to teach “the body is evil and must be punished.”

This morning, back on Cape Cod, I managed an brisk half-hour on the machine, my lungs burning from six days of Gobi desert dust, Beijing smog, and reprocessed United airplane air. But, it felt great and the time was decent.

Erg Blogging — by the numbers

Today I completed 30 minutes and broke the magic 7,500 meter mark, an indication that I can keep my splits under 2:00 for a sustained piece, which in turn is an indication that I’m getting back in shape.

Rowing is all about the numbers. I divide the stroke into a four-beat count of: catch, drive, finish, recovery and the Concept2 PM3 monitor tells me the rest: strokes per minute (I am most comfortable at a 24 rate, racers sprint at 34-36 spm), heart rate (my resting rate is 70, I need to calculate my basal, or waking rate, but while rowing I usually hang in the 150-165 bpm range with a finishing sprint in the 175 bpm range), watts, calories per hours,  meters elapsed, meters to go, projected finish time, etc. etc. etc.

In short, rowing is for number geeks. This is not a pleasant experience of watching the river bank slide by. Eyes in the boat, upright carriage, chin lifted to keep an open airway, and total focus on the balance of the boat. Well, on the erg it’s worse. Sit up right, try not to flail, don’t let your head roll around in agony, and ignore the sappy James Taylor song that comes on the iPod during the ultimate sprint.

My targets now are around weight loss, that means long pieces — like 10,000 to 15,000 meter sessions over 40 to 60 minutes — at a low rate, low effort, keeping my heart rate down in the 120 range. This is the definition of tedium. No challenge. No competition. Just grinding along letting my metabolism cook off fat cells. Hence I have graduated from the acclimation rows of 5000-6000 meters (20-24 minutes) to a half-hour, and after a couple weeks of consistently finishing the 30 minute piece (my favorite training distance and conditioning maintainer) I’ll graduate to the 10K.

So, getting there. Still too embarrassed to disclose my gross tonnage.

Sidenote: I received word from my agent that an actual royalty check for the Book of Rowing is on its way. Amazing that is still in print.

Malfunctions on the wheel of pain

Sunday morning erg piece was marred by a USB failure between the erg and RowPro — the software I use to log my meters and plan the workouts — so it was a straight up old-school, use-the-erg-monitor piece, but …

My iPod Nano was frozen and wouldn’t play, which meant for 19 minutes and 18.6 seconds I had to listen to the flywheel fan inhale and exhale along with my desperate wheezing. Afraid to get on a scale, but now able to handle over 20 minutes of sub 1:58 pace which is a good thing indeed. My lungs are opening up and my VO2 max is improving judging from my heart rate which is trending down into the high-150s.