Monday, March 26, 2007

Spring Weekend

The weekend was a reminder that Spring is here or at least on our doorsteps. With promises of 80 degree temperatures on Tuesday. Bring it on.

I did make it out on the water for a row on Saturday. I rowed bow in a double for a nice seven mile row. I was in a mixed boat, which in rowing terms means you're rowing with member(s) of the opposite sex. A friend and I are toying with the idea of rowing a mixed double in some races this year and this was our first time in a double this year. She's strokes and I row bow and steer. Although, unlike the Quad I was in two weeks ago, a double doesn't have a steerable rudder (you use your foot to steer in the Quad, you turn your foot in the direction you want the boat to turn). A double turns by using more force with one of your oars than the other. I'm used to rowing bow in sculling shells and steering while rowing so its not a big deal to me. I know the Occoquan well enough to know when to start my turns and how to get the right points coming out of a turn. A lot of my teammates are not keen on being in the bow of a Quad with the responsibility of not only rowing hard, but steering as well. Its does take a bit of practice to be able to push off your foot stretchers with your normal stroke pressure with your foot cocked at a strange angle making a turn and constantly looking back over your shoulder to check where you are going, look for debris in the water and to avoid other boats. Where most rowers have the problem is over steering the boat. The tendency is to apply full rudder when actually only a slight amount of rudder is required. You see the boat zigzagging from one side of the reservoir to the other. That's a lot of extra rowing for your boatmates, which won't make them happy. I like to think that some of my ability comes via Daughter#1. Daughter#1 got me interested in rowing although she is not a rower herself. She's a coxswain and a very good one at that. I think a bit of her has rubbed off on me via our talks, watching her cox or being in the boat she coxes where I'm no longer her dad but just another rower in the boat. Which is how it should be - most of the time anyway. The row in the double went better than I expected. It doesn't mean we'll be that competitive, but the set was good and the boat ran fairly well. There's nothing like hearing that gurgle under your boat as it moves along. The competitive challenge that we'll face is we're both classified as lightweights. That's under 165 lbs for men and 130 lbs for women. The races we might possibly enter have no separate lightweight category for mixed doubles so we would be racing against crews much bigger, heavier and stronger than us. Not a good thing. Now I can live with this as I understand most mixed races are considered more fun races than anything else. A chance to get in an extra race or two when you are at a regatta. My partner though seems to be highly competitive and I think our race results might be a shock to say the least. We'll see.

The Son is off to California for a week long trip to Vandenberg AFB. Its his first trip to the west coast so I think he was looking forward to it. The only bad thing was he had a 6:00AM flight out of Dulles to LAX. Guess who got to drive him to the airport? You got it. There is nothing as unpleasant as to having to get up at 3:30AM on a Sunday. Did I mention it was foggy. Its the heaviest fog I've had to drive in in quite a while. I almost missed seeing a red light as I was concentrating so hard on seeing and following the lines on the highway. The more amazing part of it, by the time I dropped him off at the airport (I didn't park and go inside) and headed back, the fog had mysteriously disappeared. I did manage a few hours sleep after returning home, but I felt a bit out of whack the entire day.

I also found out on Sunday, that I was responsible for van this morning. Normally I meet the vanpool at a commuter parking lot, which is not the origination point of the van. However the usual drivers that start the vanpool run were both unavailable leaving me the default driver. Given my druthers I would never drive the van. I much rather sleep than drive. I'm not crazy about having the responsibility of the safety of several other people that happen to be in the van with me. However, I also realize that we have to take turns because no one really likes to drive the beast. Rather than drive to the commuter lot where the van is parked when not in use (not my commuter lot, but another one) and then having to drive home in my car from that lot in the evening a process that would add about another 30 minutes to my commute, I chose to go get the van yesterday. I'm sure my sleeping neighbors enjoyed the sound of its diesel engine starting up at 4:30 this morning. The good news is I don't have to drive it in tomorrow and I get to sleep on the way home today.

No Daughter #1 updates as I didn't talk to her this weekend to see what she was up to. Sometimes no news is good news.

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