Exciting and disappointing at the same time

So I had an exciting morning. I drove to the lake to pick up the trailer with three singles. As you can see, the lake was still frozen and it will take another few weeks before it will be rowable.

Frozen Brno lake

We took the singles to the place where our rowing club started 105 years ago, which we still own, even though most of the buildings are in bad need of renovation.

There, it didn’t take us long to get two single ready and we headed out on the water. My first row with the Empower Oarlock, so I badly wanted to record it. Unfortunately, I made a critical mistake. After a few months without using the SpeedCoach, it’s user interface managed to confuse me. Seeing the message “stop”, I figured it was running and recording, and I could “stop” that by pressing the “back” button.

So I happily selected which parameters to watch and went off rowing, already looking forward to taking a critical look at the data.

Unfortunately, as I just found out, you have to set it to “ready” and not to “stop”. All I have is a 27m segment when I was fiddling with the setup! 🙁

Other than that, the row was fun, and luckily I had the Garmin Forerunner running in parallel, so I do have heart rate and pace.

The rowable part of the river is about 2.5km long, between two sluices. It is quite windy.

In the first 2.5km, I selected stroke rate/pace/power/catch angle. I started with arms only, then arms and back, and then to half slide, three quarter and on to full slide. It was fun to watch the catch angle go up. If I remember well, I ended up around 61 degrees.

Power was around 180W. It dropped down to 120 when I was turning to starboard, and went up to 220W when I was turning to port. And as this is a windy river, there was a lot of turning.

At one point, I ran into a thin sheet of ice. Luckily, no scratches on the boat.

At another point, I surprised a few swimmers. I didn’t expect swimmers. I should have known better, with the Czech Republic the world center of cold water swimming. The girls were splashing in the ice cold river while Eda and I rowed by, and only on our second loop they were back on the shore. Amazing!

I experimented a lot with the third and fourth metric to watch, so on the first return leg I looked at slip and average power. Average power stayed at zero. (I know understand why, but it didn’t occur to me then.) Slip was around 4 to 7 degrees. Then I looked at wash and total stroke angle, with wash around 11 degrees, and total stroke angle around 107 degrees, if I remember correctly. And finally, back to power and finish angle. All very exciting. If only I had all the data afterwards. Well, I guess it’s my fault.

It was also fun to watch how my power remained consistently oscillating around 180W, while pace varied with the stream and wind.  I am already looking forward to training for the 6km head race and figuring out what power I can sustain over that distance. I plan to spend some time doing that, and then on race day I can just hold that power for 4 or 5km, and then go for it. Having power feedback available during a row is perfect. Really perfect.

I guess only in the turns, the power value can be deceiving.

After the row, I took a few pictures of our river rowing venue.

After the row I drove the trailer back to the lake venue. I took a shower there and replaced batteries and did firmware upgrades on 8 of the club ergs. After that I drove over to the electronics store to pick up a new Raspberry Pi for my little rowing data logger project.

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