Monday, July 16, 2007

A Fun Weekend

Our rowing practices are ratcheting up in intensity as race day (this coming Saturday) gets closer and closer. On both Thursday and Saturday I was in a quad. Both days our Quad was second to another Quad and a 4+. On Saturday we did mange to beat one of the 4+ in each race (we did four race pieces). In the very last one we started first in a staggered start and manged to hold off the other three boats, which gave us a bit of a lift. Its been difficult rowing in this particular Quad. Its actually a 4+ that been converted to a quad by swapping out the rigging. Unlike most true Quads, it doesn't have foot steering so we've been trying to steer with just oar pressure and frankly it hasn't worked out very well. All during Thursday's practice we kept drifting to starboard. It seemed like we spent half the race pieces trying to get back on course. It turns out that the rudder had been taped down off center and that why the boat kept drifting on us. We re-centered it for Saturday's practice and it was a bit better, but it still drifted to starboard consistently. The finish at the Capital Sprints requires you to go under two bridges. It could be interesting to see if we can get under the correct supports and not actually hit the bridge. The boat is difficult to turn at best. I'm not looking forward to it. we're not the fastest boat to begin with and to be constantly correcting the heading just costs more time. Its just frustrating.

Because I didn't get enough rowing on Thursday and Saturday. I also took out a single on Friday. It was a perfect morning for it with comfortable temperatures, low humidity and flat water. I did an 11 mile row - 5 1/2 miles out and back. As what seems to be a recurring pattern in both my sweep rowing and sculling, the first couple of miles seemed a bit of struggle and then something clicks and it comes together and the boat starts to jump during the stroke and runs during the recovery. Of course the trouble with this is i can't go out and row a few miles before my races. Its row to the start line, line up and go. That means at best 1,200 to 1,500 meters before the race. On Saturday, it wasn't til out last piece that it all started to come together that allowed us to hold off the other boats. Its all for fun, but its always nice to be able to row a clean race.

Daughter#2 came up for a visit on Saturday. Daughter#2 was quite the soccer player in her day and played from age 5 through high school playing on both her high school and middle school teams along with her club teams or as they're known as her travel teams. Her first travel team was the Prince William Classics. I was an assistant coach for her team for a number of years. My duties were more on the administrative side - registering the teams in WAGS (Washington Area Girls Soccer) and for various tournaments. All the girls had to have picture IDs and their birth certificates were all scrutinized with a fine tooth comb. I'm sure there must have been a cheating scandal somewhere along the line that required this kind of process, but I have no details. Before every game, the referees would have the girls line up and they would match each girl with her picture ID. For practices I was more a ball chaser than anything else. I also kept stats during games. Because she played for so long with the same team, you develop friendships which you miss once your daughter stops playing. So it was that Daughter#2 and three of her old Classics teammates arranged a dinner for themselves and the coach and two of the assistants. Unfortunately, the other assistant couldn't make it, but it was nice to see the girls and the former coach and his wife. We had a really nice dinner catching up. something we need to do more of. The girls made a night of it heading down to watch DC United take on FC Dallas at RFK.

Sunday morning Daughter#2 and I headed out for a bike ride. She has this old Peugeot bike that we had renovated. Its super light. We went to my usual haunt - the W&OD Trail. We parked on RT 28 and headed east. Daughter#2 had never been east of Rt 28 on the trail and wanted to see what it was like. We rode to just east of mile marker 14. There is a detour there as the bridge at that point is closed for repairs. The bridge supports were partially eroded during a storm sometime back. being an employee of VDOT, she was interested to see what they were doing in terms of repair. Being an environmental specialist, she was a bit surprised to see the lack of erosion control around the work area, but I guess this being a park its not subject to the same strict controls a VDOT project would be. After a 25 mile ride we headed back home to get some lunch. It was late for lunch and everyone was hungry. Daughter#2 is a vegetarian and also somewhat lactose intolerant, so picking a restaurant that appeals to everyone is sometimes an undertaking. someone had recently recommended a Thai restaurant to me not far from where we live. Daughter#2 loves Thai food and I can live with it so we decided to try out. The Siam Bistro turned out great. the food and service were great and the prices very affordable. we started with some crab rolls and each picked out something different from the menu. i had a spicy seafood dish with mussels, shrimp, scallops and squid with various vegetables served with jasmine rice. I washed it down with some Thai beer. The three of us (Daughter32, Ann and myself) really enjoyed it and I'm sure we'll go back.

Hope everyone else had a great weekend.

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