Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Chase

The Occoquan Chase was held this past Sunday. Its hosted by the George Mason University Men's Crew team. I competed in the Masters Men 8+ category. We came in third out of six entries in our category. As last week in the Challenge, our time was a bit slower than last year. I don't know if its our boat or changes lie with the lower water level that effect boat speed or a combination of factors.

I've eluded to the low water level in the Occoquan and here is a picture looking back at our boathouse. As you can tell from the tree line on the left of the picture, the water level is down a good ten to fifteen feet. Most of what is brown dirt in the picture is usually covered by water. You can see our dock barely reaches the water and that's with extra dock sections added.
The Chase is run from Jacob's Rock down river to the first set of powerlines that cross the Occoquan. The finish is just past the 500 meter marker on the 2000 meter race course.
This is our Women's 8+ "A" Boat passing the cove where our boathouse is located. They came in first.

Just past our cove, the boats have to make a left hand turn around the a buoy. Our Women's 8+ is the boat to the far right, not quite yet to the buoy. I believe that is Alexandria that is trailing them.

The following picture was taken right before the Men's 8+ race. The boats gather at the start and start off single file with 10 to 15 seconds between boats. This picture is of our Men's 8+ "B" boat. This was the boat I was originally scheduled to be in. I was to be in the stoke seat. The stroke seat is the one just in front of the coxswain.

This is my boat. I'm way at the other end in the Number 2 seat. We were the next to last boat to start. We passed an entry from Northern Virginia Rowing Club, which in all fairness was a mixed boat. They had two women rowing. We also passed our men's novice boat at the first turn. A distance of probably 3/4 of a mile. We cut inside them on the turn, clashing with their oars as we did so. Since slower boats have to yield to faster boats, they had to go wide. There wasn't much space on the outside of the turn due to the low water and they were forced to stop before running aground and reposition their boat. Our "B" boat almost ran into them also before also having to stop and reposition themselves.

As you can tell from the picture it was a gorgeous day for rowing. The temperature was barely 70 with low humidity and just a touch of wind. Also much better than last week was that I only had to race one time. I think I've discovered once is enough.
This weekend I head to Boston for the Head of the Charles. This race is considered the highlight of the Head Race season and draws crews from around the globe. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good weather and tasty lobsters.
All pictures were taken by Alex Torres.

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