Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Survived

Wye Island has come and gone and all I can say about it is that I survived it. Weatherwise it was one of the best days we've ever had for this race. The early forecast of rain didn't hold and the day was sunny and warm. The water was flat and perfect for rowing. I was originally suppose to race in a Quad with three novice scullers, but that sensibly went by the wayside and I was moved into a mixed 8+. Unfortunately my mixed 8+ had 3 women and 5 guys. For a mixed entry you have to have an equal number of both sexes. So instead of racing in the mixed 8+ category, we were moved to the Masters Men 8+ category. The row around Wye Island is as pretty a row as you can ask for. The view of the Island and the surrounding area is very picturesque. Big houses with well tended landscaping, big boats, duck blinds, lots of water grasses. I wish I could say our row was as pretty, but it was downright ugly. We had no ratio between the drive and the recovery, there was no coordinated swing. Our 4 seat had not adjusted her oar locks which was positioned for someone 6 ft tall and not for her 5'2" frame. Consequentially her oar was barely in the water. In addition, two of our rowers were washing out early meaning their stroke length was about half of everyone else in the boat. The boat just felt heavy the whole race, which took us over an hour and forty three minutes (unofficial time). That's a good 20 minutes longer than it should have taken us given the water conditions. We were just bad. The good news out of all of this is that we got a first place medal. I hesitate to mention we were the only boat in our category. It cheapens the experience. :-) Onto the pictures.

Here are some of my teammates relax after rigging the boats as we wait the start of the races.

This is the boat we raced in . It's a Wintech 8+. Made in China of all places. The high school with which we co-own the boat with has named it the Titan. Our other boat sit on slings waiting to be launched and out boat trailer in the rear of the picture.

A shot of the Titan from the bow.
This is my seat on the boat. I rowed 2 seat (second from the bow). You can see everything from 2 seat (except what the bowman behind you is doing). Not shown is the seat pad I use since the seats get hard after a while and this was a long race.

Here is our Master Women's Quad getting into their boat. In almost all our races we launch from docks. Wye Island requires you to wade into the water to launch and recover. The bottom is a mixture of sand, mud and broken oyster shells. Most of us wear flip flops of some sort to protect our feet until we can get into the boat.

Ahhhhhhh....after the race. One of the joys of Masters Rowing are the cold beers and tale swapping afterwards. This is especially true after Wye Island as the cold beer cools your sore blistered hands as you hold it and makes you feel so much better as you drink it. One of the side benefits of racing on Maryland's eastern shore are some very good seafood restaurants. The club will normally stop in at one to celebrate the day and the club's accomplishments. I don't have the full results, but besides my boat we had one other first place finish (Women's Quad). This year we stopped at the Fisherman's Crab Deck at the Kent Narrows for crabs and the like.

The food was excellent as was the company and the cold beer. And I had a perfect view of the water.

I can't say that this was the best Wye Island race I've been to despite the 1st Place finish. It just wasn't a good row, but overall it was a fun day. It does test your ability as a rower to do that 12.5 miles and still maintain your form, focus and concentration for that long a period. It's also exhausting. Given the warm (hot) day, I felt really dehydrated afterward. At the end of the day I was in bed fast asleep by 8:00 PM and it still hurt getting up the next morning. Next up is the Head of the Potomac this coming Sunday, September 21.

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