Monday, July 28, 2008

End of Sprint Season

Yesterday I left my house at the ungodly hour if 5:00AM (ungodly for a Sunday Morning anyway) with two friends in tow so we could row at the Diamond State Masters Regatta on Noxonton Pond just outside Milddleton, DE. The pond is actually part of the St. Andrews School. It's a beautilful ride up once you cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and enter Maryland's eastern shore. We made the trip in two hours. It looked to be a beautilful summer day. Plenty of sun and warm.

The reason for the early start, was that I had a race at 9:15. We normally are on site about two hours before we race in order to get our boats rigged and give ourselves time to row up to the start and gather ourselves before we start. I had two races scheduled for yesterday - the first race was in the Quad and the second was in the Men's 8+. There was the threat of afternoon thunderstorms and given last years weather, the organizers were anxious to keep on a strict schedule. For our first race, the row up was uneventful. It was the first time the four of us had rowed together. We all know how to scull (a quad is a sculling boat - each rower has two oars as opposed to a sweep boat where each rower has just one oar), but knowing how to scull and rowing as one fluid machine does take some practice. Some rowing clubs emphasis sculling and others sweep rowing. We are a sweep rowing club for the most part, which dabbles in sculling as a way to maximise our members time on the water. That said, my crew felt relaxed rowing into the start and hooking up with the stake holders. We didn't have grand expectations and knew this was more or less a throw away race. Just an opportunity to compete in more than one event. I call them my crew as I was in the bow and would be responsible for steering and giving the commands. The referee gave us a really quick start and we were ready. We had practiced our start a total of three times all on the way up to the start. So we were off and running. As we rowed I noticed the boat in Lane 3 (we were in lane 2) seemed to be getting closer and closer. we had a good two boat lead of open water on them, but the referee started flagging us to move back to our left (starboard). I checked my foot position (yes in a Quad you steer with your foot as there is no coxswain) and it was centered properly and I checked my point (the stake holder) and it looked to me as if I was ok, but apparently not. Our Quad is old and gets used a lot. Apparently the neutral foot position, in fact will cause the boat to drift to port. I adjusted the rudder to get our boat to turn to starboard and oops, I over corrected. I corrected back and so it went. Back and forth. I finally figured out were the true neutral rudder position was, but it did cost us time and distance. We finished strong and for us it was a decent, if not toally satisfying race. We finished 4th in our heat. When they posted our results, it showed us third after handicaps were applied and we were thrilled. Today I checked the results and we're listed as fifth. Not sure what happened there.

After our race, we hot docked with some our women who would be racing the same Quad in about an hour. So we didn't have to hual the boat out of the water. The rest of the morning and early afternoon was spent watching others take their turn racing, eating lightly and trying to stay hydrated in the heat. I can't say our club did that well. We had a lot of 4th and 5th place finishes. As the Regatta lunch break began, so did the threat of thunderstorms. Big black clouds began moving in from the west. We scrambled to get our boats de-rigged (those that would no longer be used racing) and back on our trailer and strapped down. The others not going back on the trailer were strapped down on the slings they were resting on. At first the organizers said there would be a 30 minute delay, then one hour, then two hours. At that point we had a decision to make. Wait and see if the weather improved or pack and leave. With the threat of additional lines of thunderstorms coming through, we decided to bag it. We de-rigged the remaining bots and loaded them on the trailer and went home. Checking the results, I see our 8+ race did get run. I wonder how late it went off. It was disappointing not to get a chance to compete in the race we had our (i.e., the men) had their best chance, but on the other hand waiting around in the rain, soaking wet and cold, isn't much fun either. As it was I got home at 5:30PM. Had we stayed, I probably wouldn't have gotten home to past 8:00PM, so I'm ok with the call. Next week is our last sprint race. I will be on vacation, so yesterday was the end of my sprint season. Now we'll transition into Head Race season, which I prefer. I just wish work wasn't so crazy so I could just slide this week going into vacation.

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