Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Diamond States

Its been a busy week at work hence the lack of posts. Daughter#1 has been on me to put something up so here we go. We drove up to Connecticut on Friday to see her and help her move into a new apartment. She has been living in a studio apartment and sleeping in a loft so one of the things we were bringing up to her was her box spring so she could set up her bed in a normal type way. That loft from Ikea was a bitch to put together and I can't say I was sorry to see it go. Thanks to her boyfriend I didn't have to take it down and dispose of it. We made good time driving up to Connecticut. We made it in five hours including one quick stop for breakfast. After we arrived, we had lunch at Tigin's, a local Irish pub where I managed to enjoy a Bass and a Black and Tan along with a nice Shepard's Pie. After dropping off the box spring at the new apartment, we went and checked into our hotel and to get ready for the evening's festivities - a baseball game at Shea Stadium with the Mets taking on the Washington Nationals. I'm old enough to remember when the Mets were an expansion team, Casey Stengel was the manager and they played in the old Polo Grounds. Now they're building a new stadium right behind Shea. Amazing how time flies. Daughter#1's bf bought us all tickets, which was really nice of him. We insisted on paying for the parking and the food and beer at the game. It was a fun time even more so since the Nationals won.

Saturday was moving day. I figured once the kids were through with college, my moving days were over. Little did I know. Actually Daughter#1 had already moved a lot of the little stuff so all we had to move was the bigger items of furniture. The one problem we had was, the person whose room Kim was taking over, hadn't moved out yet. He was due to be out by early Saturday morning, but after loading up our minivan with the first of several loads and drove to the new apartment, low and behold, he was still not moved and in fact was just arriving with a U-Haul truck. Ann suggested we just leave and stay out of his way. I suggested we help him move and speed the process along, which we did. After we had his things out, he and his gf and another friend helped empty our van so it turned out to be a win-win for us all. We got Daughter#1 moved in, set up her room, and met her roommate. Next we were off to have dinner with the bf's parents.

Ann and I were both a little apprehensive about meeting his parents. The kids seem to like each other so they don't need parents screwing things up. What if we didn't have anything in common? Nothing to talk about? All our worries turned out to be for nothing. His parents were delightful. We had a great time. As Daughter#1 said later, you four were so busy talking we (she and (bf)) couldn't get a word in at all. Well kids should be seen and not heard.

Sunday Ann and I packed up and left Connecticut and headed down the NJ Turnpike to Delaware and the Diamond States Masters regatta. The pictures above are actually from two years ago. As this years become available, I'll link to them. As soon as we hit Delaware, it started to rain. Upon arriving at the regatta site (St Andrews school), I donned a rain jacket and searched out our boat trailer. We arrived around 9:00 and my first race was at 9:45 so I needed to find out when we would be launching. I found the trailer and noticed all the boats were still on the trailer. Turned out no races had started due to the rain and some lightening in the area. The hosts kept pushing back the start and it looked like they would finally have to cancel the entire regatta. In fact some clubs left figuring just that. Finally the rain let up and the races were on. My first race was in a 4+. Our coach chose me to be the Stroke. Somehow we ended up an the A and B category. So in essence we old guys (average age 40) were racing a bunch of 20 and young 30 somethings. Needless to say we got our butts whipped. Another DFL. I had about an hour to rest until my second and last race for the day, which was in an 8+. Our coach surprised me by assigning me the stroke seat. I haven't stroked the 8+ but a few times all season. Plus he asked me to run the race at a 37 stroke rate. We've rarely raced much above a 34 in other races or practice so that was a bit of a surprise. I'm not sure we could do it and still row efficiently. There comes a point where despite rowing at a high rate, the boat won't go any faster and might actually be slower is everyone isn't rowing together. Lining up at the start, our coxswain had a problem backing us in to the starting platform. Actually that isn't quite true, out first attempt we backed right in, but the stakeboat holder couldn't hold us and we drifted off. Because of a slight breeze, further attempts ended up without success and since we were on the outside (Lane 1), they let us do a floating start. We reached a 41 stroke rate on our start and managed to settle into a 37 much to my surprise. We managed to hold it most of the race although about the 700 meter mark it started to drop down to a 34. Our coxswain started calling for our final sprint (we race 1,000 meters) and we got it back to a 36, but no higher. We finished third in our heat of four boats. Not a last place! Something to build on. After docking, I left the de-rigging and trailer loading to my teammates and headed home as I was beat. As it turn out, only a few more races were held before the rain returned and wiped out the rest of the races. The team will travel to Philadelphia this coming weekend for our third sprint race. I decided that three weekend traveling to race was more then I wanted to do plus I'm sure Ann wouldn't appreciate it either.

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