Friday, October 10, 2008

Of Racing and Washing Machines

I did say in the last post that I would talk about our race this past Sunday. I raced in the 50+ 8+ boat and in a Quad, which was pretty much the last race of the day. In both races we came in second out of three boats in the category. The 8+ race was fine. A little rushed in the beginning, the big 180 degree turn was excellent and we finished about where I expected timewise given the make up of our crew. The Quad was a different story. It was a thrown together group. Two of the rowers have been teamed most of the year in a Double (2X), then there was me and finally a novice sculler thrown into 3 seat. We had not practiced together even once. Then there was the shell. It's the only Quad we have available to our club that has steering. There are other Quads, but we either don't have access or they don't have steering. Having no steering and a fixed rudder is fine for sprint racing where all you do is go in a straight line, but for Head races with their various turns, not so much. We had been having problems with the steering cables on this Quad dating back to last fall when the cable had broken. It has never been properly fixed. When we took the Quad out of the boathouse on Sunday, we discovered that the steering (controlled by the bowman's right foot) was again not working properly. The rudder would turn only in one direction. Feverish repairs ensued and we (I use the word "we" here loosely. I was more an observer) thought we had at least some semblance of steering. It was also decided that I would not row bow instead giving that seat to the person who rowed bow in the Double who had already rowed the course and therefore knew when and how to set up to take the turns. We launched without incident and headed to the start line. It wasn't until our number was called and we headed to the start that we got the inkling that our boat was not quite right. The foot steering was totally useless and we were having a very hard time keeping the boat on a straight course. It kept turning to our port side. Because of the steering problem we were out of position for our start and actually missed the first buoy, which should have resulted in a 30 second penalty, but I didn't see it listed in the results. Through the entire race it was a battle to stay on course. We were constantly having to pull harder with our right oar. It left us all exhausted and cranky and as a fitting end we collided with the finish line buoy. We limped back to the dock and discovered not only had we lost steering, but the rudder had cocked itself in such a position that would turn us to port. It was about that time I decided doing too Head races in a day at my age was a bit crazy and one was more than enough. Amen.

On Thursday I worked from home so I could go to the Dentist to get a permanent crown placed on my back tooth. I've been wearing a temporary one since I had my root canal about ten or so days ago. I was in and out in about 30 minutes. They pulled the temporary crown off, cemented the one one in, checked the bite and that was that. It feels a little sharper than my original molar but I guess that's ok. Its my first replacement tooth. Certainly another black mark that I am indeed getting old.

Today I again babysat The Son's condo waiting for the repair men to come fix his washing machine. The part (drain pump) took a little longer to come in then we expected even though it only had to come from nearby Maryland. They showed up a little after noon. It was a two man job since his dryer is stacked on top of the washing machine. It didn't take them that long to fix and as it turns out, a Canadian coin, of all things, was what destroyed the pump. Somehow it got past whatever filter device they have and got inside the pump and proceeded to tear the insides up. Hopefully this expensive lesson will teach The Son to make sure he empties his pockets before he does his wash.

It's a long holiday weekend, Yea! for Columbus Day. We have another race on Sunday - the Occoquan Chase hosted by the George Mason University Men's Crew Team. I'll be rowing in a 4+ and actually coxing the 8+ that will travel to Boston next week. This should be really interesting. I'll let you know how it goes.

No comments: