Hard Distance – 8km in the single

Another rainy Saturday. It is interesting. On Friday, when I had to give up OTW rowing because of work and traffic jams, it was nice and sunny autumn weather. Today it was gray and rainy. And choppy. We managed to get the rowing training in during the only window of dry weather of the day, but it wasn’t ideal.

I was going to do my 8km hard distance, and Romana’s Junior girl Iva was doing a 6k full out. We are both preparing for the same head race. We paddled a warming up paddle to Rokle and then we had to wait. Two big tourist boats were passing, and we had to time our start to minimize the risk of getting into a collision course with these boats (which do a zig-zag trajectory crossing the lake several times) or having to row through their wake. You can see their course on the map. It’s the dashed blue line.

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I gave Iva a 1 minute advantage, but when I saw her steering a quite wide course in that first minute, I decided to give her 2 minutes. Ideally, that would allow her to stay in the lead for her entire 6k and help her achieve a maximum effort. So I sat around waiting for another 2 minutes.

During which a clueless kayakker paddled right into my trajectory, turned around, and stopped paddling, his back towards me and staring in the other direction. With 20 seconds to go I caught his attention and when he finally understood that I would prefer him to not be in my course, he paddled away slowly.

After 1000m I had to deviate slightly from the ideal line to avoid the worst wake from one of the tourist boats. In the second kilometer, I thought that I was gaining fast on Iva, but it was confusing. Then I remembered that Iva doesn’t row in anything else than bright, fluorescent colors, so the rowers in front of me were probably somebody else. Indeed, they were a double and a single from the other club.

I rowed into the narrow part at Sirka when Iva was leaving it. After 3km, I stopped, turned, and got rowing immediately.

About 4km in, I had to change course to avoid being caught between two tourist boats. I also rated up slightly because I wanted to cross in front of one of them.

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Despite these complications, I was getting closer to Iva. About 500m after the pedalo rental was the point where Iva was supposed to go all out. Indeed, it seemed that the rate of me closing in on her was slowing down a bit. It was a great hunt. It is really good to row and compete with someone else, even when you give yourself a handicap.

Turning around to do the final 2km of my 8km was hard. I shouted a few encouragements to Iva who was finishing her 6k, and then set out to survive the 7th kilometer, and wind it up for a big push on the 8th. I did the big push, and it was mentally very hard. But as always, I was glad I did it in the end.

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Looking at the pace, I am glad to see it responded quite well to the increased power. Technique was not falling apart today. I am also fascinated by the speed peak at 17 minutes into the row. This was when I had to row harder to stay ahead of the big tourist boat. I guess being distracted, not focusing on the pain, but just on passing in front of that boat, gives you a boost in boat speed.

I did use the Quiske system with the sensor under the seat again.

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During the row, I had the Quiske RowP app set to show acceleration. But I have to be honest. I didn’t check it once during the hard distance row. There is too much going on when your heart rate is above 180 to look at a wiggly curve on a phone screen. Otherwise, the after-row curves, averages over all strokes per section of the row, are consistent with my feeling that I was pretty consistent. That is consistency doubled. The differences I see can be explained by rating up to higher and higher rates.

Finally, a series of metrics charts.

Pretty happy with this row!

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