Ann and I aren't the most social of couples so when we get an invitation for a night out, we usually accept. Yesterday the occasion was a small get-together to celebrate two of our club's members success at the Mid-Atlantic Erg Sprints. One a gold and the other a silver, both women. It was a small dinner party of 11. Ann usually dreads these events in advance as she knows most of the talk will involve rowing and she's not a rower. However, once there, she usually has a good time and endures a lot of recruitment attempts. We love to share our love of the sport with everyone and can't fathom those that wouldn't want to join us out on the water. She handles it pretty good naturedly. As expected we enjoyed the company and the food and the wine and the beer. Of course, its payback time come this mornings erg class.
Our rowing season if made up of two parts - the Sprint season and the Head Race season. Sprint races are held during the summer and involve side by side, up to six lanes, racing over a 1,000 meter course. Fun to watch, easy to tell who wins and basically involves rowing as hard and fast as you can for about 3 1/2 minutes. Our starts can be as high as 40 strokes per minute settling to 32 to 34 strokes per minute with a final sprint up around 36 to 38 strokes per minute. By contrast, Head Races are held in the fall over a 5,000 meter course (lengths vary somewhat), starts involve the shells lining up single file and stating at 15 second intervals, difficult for fans to see but a very small portion of the race and impossible to tell who wins until all the times are calculated. Head Races are rowed at a 28 to 30 strokes per minute. I prefer Head Races to Sprint races. Technically, Sprint races are more difficult due to the start and its all about the start in a 1,000 sprint. Coupled with our club getting a later start than most clubs, I feel we're not as prepared as those we race against. By Head Race season, we've pretty much caught up.
In preparation for Sprint season, I'm periodically timing myself on the erg over 1,000 meters. Yesterday I did a personal best of 3:49.1. Hopefully I can continue lowering that time.