Wednesday, July 25, 2007

First Race

Our first race of the season is now behind us and we're gearing up for our next two races over the next two weekends. Then sprint season will be over and we begin preparing for Head Race season. So how did I do? Did I tell you what a nice day it was? Sunshine, low humidity and temperatures in the low 80s? I didn't? Well it was. Actually the club did very well overall. My boats not so well. I stroked the Men's B 8+ and rowed bow on the Men's B Quad. B being the designation for our second boat in the category and not an age designation. Anyway DFL for both. The men's 8+ was my first race. We were in lane 2 between two Alexandria 8+s. My boat was not prepared for the start, which was our fault and not the referee's. So half the boat started to row and the other half did not. We were a good boat length behind right from the get go and in a 1,000 meter race game over. Plus we didn't row all that smoothly. It was more 8 individuals rowing as opposed to 8 rowing as one. We finished a good 20 seconds behind the third place boat. The good news is our Men's A boat came in second missing first by less than 2 seconds based on adjusted time. In Masters racing you are handicapped by the average age of your boat. The younger the overall age of your boat, the more time you give up to your older competitors. The Quad race was just a disaster. We were over in Lane 4 next to a Capital Rowing Club Quad. They were the heavy favorites since they were much younger and row Quads on a regular basis while our club more or less dabbles in Quads as a way to row some extra races. We don't practice a lot in them. My three teammates in the Quad with me barely have any sculling experience at all. In the times that we did practice, I noticed we had a tendency to pull to the left. Consequently in aligning for the start, I pointed the bow slightly right toward the center of the course. Amazingly we had a fast strong start. The bad news was with the point we had, we were merging with the Capital boat to our right. The referee was right behind us telling us to move over, which we did although it totally broke our rhythm. The rest of the race was just a struggle. Our blades were dragging on the water during the recovery, the boat was down on our starboard side causing us to dig deep with our starboard oars and miss water with our port oars. It was one ugly race. One I'm quite content to forget about. So no medals for me personally, but the club did earn medals for Its Women's 8+ - First; Women's Double - First and second, Men's A 8+ - Second, Mixed Double - Second. Overall a good day's work. The host club, Capital did supply burgers and dogs for all us plus various cold salads and deserts. We supplied our own adult beverages of choice, which in my case was some Yuengling Amber. You can check out pictures of the races here. Next week we row on Noxontown Pond in Middleton DE next to the St Andrew School. Its one of the bigger Masters Regattas and very competitive. I'm glad we were able to have a tune up first.

The Son returned from his two weeks in California. His flight was due in Friday evening at 7:30, but was an hour and a half late. Thank goodness for Flight Tracker so we weren't sitting in Dulles's cell phone waiting area half the night. Still United took a good 45 minutes getting the luggage unloaded. Going home I first missed the exit from the airport to Rt 28 south necessitating another trip around the airport ramp. Then I missed another turnoff heading through the wilds of northern Virginia requiring another turnaround. My eyes really are going down the tubes. At least we got to see a number of deer munching on the side of the roads.

Sunday I decided that I had enough rowing for one weekend and went for a bike ride along the W&OD Trail. I did a 22 mile ride from Rt 28 to Leesburg and back. I started at 7:30 and the trail was unusually empty except for a few joggers. By the time I turned around in Leesburg, the trail traffic had picked up considerably. It took 43 minutes out and 40 minutes back. Another beautiful day.

Since I took up all day Saturday with my rowing, I did promise Ann that I would do some yard work on Sunday after my ride. I was back by 10:00 and spent the next two and half hours trimming back our various shrubbery. Except for one big expanse of holly bushes that were left for next time, I got it all done. Then we let The Son treat us to pizza and beer for lunch. Yum!

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