The most important race on my rowing club's fall calendar is the Head of the Charles in Boston. While we are always practicing for that next race, the Charles is always in the back of our minds. Its easily the most prestigious Head race and everyone wants to race it. Because of the demand they hold a lottery to see who gets in. At best we'll get to enter one boat, probably an 8+. There are probably twelve of us competing for those 8 slots. Its up to our coach to pick who goes. To that end he had us seat racing on Thursday. We had four 4+s out and took turn racing first by pairs and then by fours. Again and again and again, First two minute pieces and then three minute pieces. Racing by pairs just drains you since you have two rowers out and their weight plus that of the coxswain can easily total 500 lbs of dead weight. By the end of the practice I was exhausted and my quads ached. My boat didn't do particularly well so that's not a good omen for going to Boston in October.
Saturday our coach was off getting laser eye surgery so we had a fill in. It was a cluster fuck from the beginning. We took an 8+ and 4+ out with me stroking the 4+. The first 4 we pulled out and put in the water was a mid-weight boat, but the shoes were too small for one of our rowers and the boat was sitting too low in the water with all our weight. So we had to put it back and get out the heavy-weight boat. We didn't push off the dock until 7:45. 45 minutes late. We rowed up to Fountainhead Park as a warm up and spun the boats. As we rested before we started our piece, the women's boats came past us from the direction of Ryan's Dam. They stopped just downriver from us at the big turn at Fountainhead. Our substitute coach, if you can call him that, wanted the piece to start at Fountainhead and end about a mile past Sandy Run at the first power lines. That's neither a HOTO course or a Chase course. Its about 2,000 meters longer than the HOTO. I'm not sure if he just wanted us to row a long piece or he got his finish lines mixed up. I'm betting on the later. Anyway, we started about 90 seconds before the 8+. We hadn't gone more than a 100 meters and as we went between the women's coach's launch and the women's quad we heard that sound no rower wants to hear - the scrapping of the bottom of the boat on the bottom or over some underwater obstruction. The reason the women's quad and the women's coach had stopped was both had also hit bottom. In fact the coach was out of the launch standing in the water getting his outboard free. He suggested we do the same. I told my boat just to sit tight and I'd push us free. We really hadn't run aground but hit a rock or stump so I was able to push us into deeper water pretty easily. I also stubbed my toe on a rock as I was doing so. It hurt, but I didn't think anything of it and climbed back in the boat and we finished our piece. It wasn't very pretty rowing. Our set was off and the boat seem heavy the whole way. Except for the exercise, it wasn't a good day on the water. After I got home and undressed, I noticed that the toe I had stubbed was very swollen and a deep purple. I suspect it may be broken, but since there isn't much they do for such things, I haven't gone to the Doctor about it. Its just sore and ugly looking.
We went and looked at a few condos with The Son on Saturday. One was pretty nice and reasonable, relatively speaking for the Washington area. We still need to see if he can get financing otherwise he's stuck at home for a while longer. After looking, we tried a new restaurant on the Occoquan. One I didn't know even existed. It was located at the Prince William Marina and called The Eagle's Nest and it's located just downriver from the town of Occoquan. It looked fairly new so I don't think its been open very long. There are no signs for it and I haven't seen anything promoting it. Maybe they're relying soley on boat traffic for business. It had a nice view of the river, but what surprised me was their lack of seafood dishes. I guess when a restaurant is on the water, I expect that. Except for a few appetizers, there was none. They were advertising a red snapper special, but that was for evening dining only. I'm sure we'll go back at some point, but it wasn't what I expected or wanted.
Tomorrow we're off to watch the Nationals take on the Mets. Its suppose to be a beautiful day.