April 05, 2001

trouble on Town Lake


Rowing practice felt a little better today, but as usual, Iím a bit annoyed with Coach DI. (I tried just calling him Coach here, but it just didnít sound right -- the DI is for "Drill Instructor", based on a certain similarity of approach.) It is entirely possible, maybe even likely, that Iím just being defensive so that I wonít have to admit how badly Iím rowing. So feel free to take the following with a large grain of salt.

One reason Iím loath to take Coach DIís comments today seriously is that he spent almost all of todayís practice with the other boat, as they were having steering issues. Itís very difficult to steer a quad; there is no cox, so you have to steer from bow seat, while rowing and while facing backward. Itís hard as hell to look back over your shoulder without missing a stroke (literally). The woman doing the steering was new at it. She managed not to hit anything, so deserves a bit of slack for steering a somewhat, er, serpentine course.

Anyway, so Coach DI spent all of 6 minutes with us, the last of 6 6-minute pieces at 65% effort, at a medium stroke rate. I did ask if he would look to see if I opened up my back too soon (that is, moved my body before finishing my leg motion, which wastes energy without moving the boat). He stayed at my end of the boat (bow) for maybe a minute, then dropped back behind the stern. Afterward, no comment at all.

So I went up to him to ask if I were still opening too soon, and he said, "Uh, maybe a little. But you had all kinds of issues going on there -- the power wasnít there and there was no puddle at all coming off your blade. Maybe you should consider dropping down to the Fitness class for a month to get back into shape. Youíve done this before, though, so maybe you just need a week or two to get back into it."

Translation according to Dichroic: "Oops, I completely forgot to look. But I didnít notice, when I dropped back, that you had no puddle."

Well, part of that is entirely true. I admit it -- I cheated. I rowed with a bit less power to concentrate on form today. Another factor in that is that I really do have less power than the rest of the boat -- todayís crew was all either male or female heavyweight. Not People My Size. Still, in the past, Iíve been able to compensate by having better form, so that a higher percentage of my power goes to moving the boat. Either Iíve lost some of that or everyone else has caught up, or, more likely, both.

Still, I donít want to drop down a level, especially since that group rows in the evenings so Iíd never see T, except when we woke each other up by my coming in late or his going out early. Also, the coach of that class rarely coaches much at all, but has been known to tell womenís crews theyíll never row as well as men. No thanks.

I wanted to say, "Look, DI, weíve been doing this together for most of a year. You should have some idea of what Iím capable of, and whether Iíll be able to get to the level you want." I didnít, but I did point out the size issue, and asked if there was another day that might work out better (different crews show up on different days). He told me that there is a lightweight womenís crew beginning on Monday, so I will first call someone to see if thatís true (given Coach DIís notorious lack of organizational ability), then plan to show up for that. Itís not ideal; Iíd be rowing MWF and T would row TTF, so every evening would be shot for one or the other of us. On the other hand, weíd at least be on the same general schedule, so itís feasible.

Also, then I wouldnít be stuck trying to carry a boat at a "shoulder height" thatís actually above my head. Ouch!!

Posted by dichroic at April 5, 2001 09:31 AM
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