Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Challenge and House Hunting

The Occoquan hosts three head races during the fall. The Head of the Occoquan, the Occoquan Chase and the Occoquan Challenge. The first of these is the Challenge, which will be held on October 7. The Challenge course is unique in that it starts and ends at the same place. For most head races, you launch close to the finish line area, row upstream to the start, get in line, and row the course. The Challenge incorporates a 180 degree turn at the halfway point and the race finishes where you started the race although on the opposite side of the river. Being able to make an quick turn is the key to the race. As you might imagine, getting an 8+ to turn 180 degrees is not an easy task. 8+s are 60 feet long with small rudders. They are designed to go fast in a straight line so they do not turn well. My club has a definite advantage since the Occoquan is our home water. We can practice the Challenge course and the turn numerous times. And so that's what we did during Tuesday evening's practice. We again took out an 8+ and a Quad. I was bow in the Quad and responsible for the steering. My other three teammates are basically novice scullers so we did our best rowing hard, but at a lower stroke rate than optimal for a head race. We practiced running the course a few times. The first and second times, I was late entering the turn and we went wider than we should have. Going wide in turns loses you time and distance which equals bad if you are racing. The third time we got it right making a nice tight turn without losing boat speed. Plus the more we practiced, the more comfortable my teammates were in the Quad and by the end of practice the boat was running much more smoothly and we were able to give the 8+ a bit of a run. The weather forecast for tonight's practice is calling for thunderstorms so I don't know if we'll make it out or not. It will depend on the timing of the storms.

As I've mentioned here before, The Son is living at home since he graduated from college. Its not that uncommon in these parts since housing prices are a bit past ridiculous. However, it seems that The Son does endure some ribbing at work for still living with his parents so he has expressed an interest in starting to look for a place of his own. Now living at home and being gainfully employed for the last year and a half, one might think that The Son was able to amass quite the little pot of savings. Ah if only this was the case. Its only in the past few months, with a goal clearly defined of getting his own place, has he started to save rather than blow his paycheck on lord knows what. Therefore, coming up with a down payment might be a bit of a sticking point. He looked at his first place Tuesday evening, a one bedroom condo. It lists for $200,000. Apparently it was nice and he liked it. The downside, its only a mile from us. It wouldn't shorten his commute any. The hunt will continue over the weekend by looking at some places closer to where he works. He's also scheduled to talk to our Credit Union about what he can really afford in terms of a mortgage payment. This should prove interesting.

Ann and I have some vacation time to use up before the end of the year. Tuesday night we booked a flight to Orlando for November. My Dad has a lovely girlfriend that lets us use her condo in Cocoa Beach. I'm so ready to go lay on the beach during the day and consume large amounts of seafood food and beer in the evenings. Ah the good life. Its like a Corona commercial.

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