About traffic patterns and a hard 1k (Tuesday)


A rest day. A strange day at work. The US had a holiday, and CZ has bank holidays on July 5th and 6th. So there were not so many people, but I really had to get in and get some stuff done.


A holiday, but I still had to get up early and get to the lake, because after that we would be driving to family in Pardubice to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 40th birthday.

The plan was to row a full out 1000m as a race simulation. To make it a more complete race simulation, I decided to do a longer, “Fletcher”-likewarming up. Then I paddled to the start of the 2k, noticing that the Albano buoys system has been removed because race season is over on this lake. I dialed up a 1k, pressed start and got ready for a race start while CrewNerd counted down 30 seconds. The plan was to row a 3:40, which I thought would be possible in the tailwind conditions.

Go. Race start. Then execute race plan. Ten strokes at high rate, then settle a bit.

Everything was going well. I was seeing 1:44 pace right after the start, then pace slowly crept up to 1:50.

Then, 350m into the race, when things started to hurt a bit, a pair crossed right behind me. Tomas and Jakub doing their warming up.

I knew that that meant that a single was following closely behind them, and as the traffic patterns on our lake are a little vague, I was afraid it might be on collision course. So I decided to look around (I was not wearing my mirrors). I noticed that the single was indeed on collision course and I also noticed that I had drifted from the straight 2k, and was about to collide with a big yellow buoy that is just outside the (now invisible) Albano system.

I had to stop for one stroke to avoid smashing my scull into it, then continued. All this made my rate and pace drop.

To make things worse, along the course the lake became choppier and that also made me slower and rowing at a lower rate. After 100m of struggling, I had an inner dialogue that went something along these lines:

“You’re not making your pace target. Give up  and paddle.”

“Man up and finish the row” – I followed that advice.

In the end I didn’t meet my pace target, but I was glad I finished the row.

Workout Summary - media/20160706-205938-2016-07-05-0725.CSV
Workout Details
01|04316| 22:49 |02:38.6|19.5|154.0|180.0|09.7
02|01000| 03:45 |01:52.8|31.9|179.0|187.0|08.3
03|02225| 12:52 |02:53.7|18.5|152.0|167.0|09.3
04|00250| 00:57 |01:55.5|32.2|178.0|183.0|08.1
05|00731| 03:49 |02:36.9|19.6|153.0|166.0|09.7

Here is a zoom plot of the 1k:
download (7)

That is a new  plot from rowsandall.com and I am quite proud of it. I am now offering my users wind corrections. So you can see that my 1:51 pace in the first half of the row was really a 1:53-1:54 in neutral conditions. You can also see the big drop in pace, and then I recovered.

To test the wind conditions, I decided to do a hard 250m (running start) in headwind, roughly at the same place where I had done the 1k. For the 1k I averaged 1:53 in tailwind. The headwind 250m were in 1:56. I think that is a fair comparison as I did try to row as hard as the 1k.

On traffic patterns

The confusion with the guys doing a warming up made me look at my traffic pattern ideas again. The traffic patterns on our lake were agreed long ago between the two rowing clubs. I think after a few decennia, some sloppiness has started to creep in, and the traffic pattern is not the safest any more, as there are many points where traffic crosses.

I drew an improved pattern, but nobody wants to change it. And I guess even if the clubs agree, it will be hard to change people’s habits.

Here is the current pattern:


From my club, we row warming up towards Rokle. The “official” traffic pattern is to cross the lake diagonally and merge into the traffic rowing towards Rokle from LS Brno, hugging the right bank (bottom bank in the picture). At Rokle you turn and row back “in the middle”. Some rowers are convinced that the traffic pattern is that rowers from both clubs hug their respective banks when rowing towards Rokle, and in the middle when rowing towards Sirka.

Rowing from Rokle to Sirka there are two options. Either you turn sharply after the nude beach, cross the warming up traffic and row to the start of the 2k. Alternatively, you just keep going straight until you merge into the 2k Albano roughly at the 500m point.

I think the whole area between the 500m point and Rokle is confusing and has a high risk of collisions. Here is my proposal:


The idea is that from our club we should do warming up towards Sirka instead of rowing directly towards Rokle. Then all traffic from Sirka to Rokle should hug the right (bottom) bank.

An interesting detail is that I have found old plans for the race course from the 1950s. Compared with the course that was finally built (after establishment of the LS Brno club) is was shifted more towards Rokle, and the finish was 300m past our club house, with a grandstand on the left (top) bank.