Aug 22 2017
Sunday – more racing
The weather had changed from calm to windy. A nasty crosswind.
My first race was the Masters mix 2x with Romana. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we agreed that we would row it as a test race to Bled. Row our own race.
We launched early to get a few practice starts in and to get used to the chop and the crosswind. Then it was time for our start. The locals from Trebon to our right side looked dangerous, and we were also nervous for the trainer from Lodni Sporty, the other club in Brno, who rowed with her son who was over on vacation from Norway. He looks big. Also, I am convinced that the fastest mix Masters combinations are young guys with a “average age compensating” lady. That was it. Just three boats in the C category.
Aligning boats in a strong crosswind is not an easy task. We moved all the way to the stroke side buoys, hoping that the aligning would be fast enough to prevent us from moving over to the other side of the lane and having to row the first race strokes in the buoys. We managed that, but the last boat to be aligned was ours, so Romana was busy paddling, and the boat was not set, when the starter called “GO”.
We were second out of the start. Trebon was in front by a meter. Lodni Sporty were falling behind fast. Bye bye guy from Norway.
But with a 500m race, not leading out of the start, you’ve got a problem.
Tried to solve the problem by just keeping the stroke rate high. No settle, just furious 37/38spm strokes in the chop. “Row our own race” plan went out of the window.
I think we narrowed the gap to 30 cm, but we couldn’t quite close it. Then the gap opened again, as my legs started to hurt. I was definitely not rested after Saturday’s four races. So we were second. And we were disappointed. During the paddle home I had to explain why I needed to do four races on Saturday. The “Row our own race to prepare for Bled” argument was not deemed valid any more.
We all have our ways to deal with disappointment. It was OK.
I spent an hour in our team van to write up the blog post about Saturday’s races, and then I moved over to where my brother in law Tomas had his boat trailer. I explained to him that we would probably finish last in the Men’s Open 2x race, because I was really tired. We agreed to still row the race “to prepare for Bled” and do it in a leisurely 30spm.
So around 2pm we warmed up and rowed to the start.
Six boats. All young guys … and us in lane 3. The wind was very strong in the first 500m of the race course, because at this point the lake is not shielded by the spa park trees any more. The plan was to just row and survive the first 500, then find good rhythm and row the entire 2k at 30spm.
Attention – GO. Off we went. I did the full power start and first 15 strokes thing, but the five other boats were gone by the time we were finished with that. Ok, too bad, but we wanted to row our own race anyway.
The first 500m were a struggle, but not as bad as I expected, and we managed to find a good rhythm sooner than the 500m mark.
Somewhere around the 500m mark the boat on lane 1 was reappearing in my peripheral vision. I just kept going in 30/31 spm and at this slow stroke rates I felt pretty good.
We passed that boat, and to my surprise we were now in closing distance to the boat in lane 6. “Wow, all these guys go out like crazy and then settle to a really slow middle 1k,” I thought.
We passed the double in lane 6, and to let Tomas know that I was fine, I called “catch the next one”.
By now we had 1k to go. The regular Masters distance, and we were going gently enough to not be scared by that at all. And the first three boats were not so far ahead of us.
Unfortunately, these three boats started to row away from us. We just kept going. Lane 6 was passed by lane 1 as well, and started to fall behind.
Crossing the 500m line, the lane 1 boat did a visible shift in stroke rate. In fact, in that final 500m they managed to get back a lot of the distance Tomas and I had put between them and us. In the end it boiled down to a final sprint towards the finish line. I was really tired by then, but we managed and we finished just ahead of them.
What a great race. It’s a pity that the 2k is not the Masters distance.
About 10 seconds after that, I became extremely disappointed, seeing the dreaded word “STOP” in the middle bar of my SpeedCoach. Oh no!
I had reset the SpeedCoach at the end of our warming up row, planning to switch it to “READY” by the time we would start aligning at the start. But of course, with the cross wind and all, I forgot. This was the second time that happened this weekend.
There was a glimpse of hope when I noticed that Tomas had switched on his SpeedCoach GPS. So after the race I took it to the computer and tried to download the data. This is when I found out that Tomas doesn’t have DataPack installed. So then I wanted to use the Recall function and take photos of the screen, but the memory was full with older data. Why can’t the bloody thing just remember the most recent 100 splits, instead of filling up the memory and then just not recording any more!
Aug 22 2017
New Sensor Test – Boat and Seat Acceleration
Monday was a rest day which I really really needed. I just walked around at work, had a good lunch, and happily worked while my body (hopefully) worked on repairing muscle damage, repleneshing energy stores, and all the good stuff that causes the training effect.
This morning I had a Steady State row scheduled, but I allowed myself a bit of Play Time with New Rowing Gadget. I have been playing with the Quiske System since I received it a week ago, but due to racing I hadn’t gotten around trying the Quiske sensor under the seat. I do have a strict “No New Gadgets During Races” rule, you know. I only add electronics with proven benefits. Also, this Masters rower cannot process more than 2 numbers, maybe three, during a race, so sticking with stroke rate and power, and perhaps one additional variable, is my mantra.
What is the Quiske System? Here’s a picture of the elements, taken just before this morning’s outing:
Ignore the big blue SpeedCoach. Behind my footstretcher you see an Android phone running the RowP app. This app does a similar thing as RowinginMotion. It measures all the usual rowing parameters (pace, stroke rate, etc) but it also records boat speed and boat acceleration curves. After the row, you can see your sessions on the web portal, and select ranges of strokes to look at acceleration curves. The innovation is the sensor pod under my seat. Yes, that little white thingy with the Quiske logo. The red part is a piece of tape. The holder for the sensor pod was slightly damaged, so I added some reduncancy. That sensor pod connects to the RowP app through Bluetooth and it measures the seat acceleration. If you put the sensor on your oar, which can also be done, you can measure your stroke length, oar angular acceleration, and the oar vertical movement.
So how can all this make you faster? I personally think this is a multi step process. You can look at the curves while rowing, but chances are you have no clue about what is a “good” curve. The way out, I think, is to just record, upload the data to the portal, and look at the results. Then, try to correlate them back to per-stroke metrics like stroke length, work per stroke, etc, and look at the influence on boat speed. Video analysis has a role as well. Only by combining these analysis methods you can find what the curve means. Then, if you’re lucky, you will find that a certain characteristic wiggle or spike in your boat acceleration curve is related to a jerky hands away movement. And only after you have established that link, you can start using the in-boat display of the curve for direct feedback. (By the way, on the picture above, I could not even use the display for direct feedback, because it was out of the field of view, hidden behind the wing rigger. I have a better mount on order to solve that problem.)
Another thing that I like about the Quiske system is that it enables you to measure “actionable” metrics. Things like “catch efficiency”, “check”, “catch duration” are interesting numbers, but they are hard to relate to something that you can feel and control in the boat. I prefer things like stroke length, handle speed and acceleration or seat speed and acceleration. I can imagine working on speeding up or slowing down the seat during the recovery, or eliminating bum shoving during the drive. They are things rowers can feel and coaches can see.
So, to play with the system, I added a few 20 stroke bursts to my steady state training, and the end result looked like this:
Just about 8% of the workout time was thus spent somewhere else than in the UT1/UT2 power band. The bursts were short enough that perhaps the only metabolic thing would be a temporary lactate spike, which then would be nicely burnt in the subsequent UT1 interval.
And … here are the charts:
I am not going to go into deep analysis at the moment and I am not going to make any statement about impact on boat speed. The boat speed numbers are impacted by the wind anyway, as 22, 26, 30 and 34spm were rowed in headwind and 24, 28, 32 and 36spm were rowed in tailwind conditions.
Just a few observations:
I think it is great that we have both Quiske and RowinginMotion. At first glance they are similar, but the details are different. RiM can be expanded through a 1.000,- EURO sensor box, while Quiske is expanded through the 299,- EURO sensor pod. The pricing for the Analytics platform is similar. I am not going to make a full comparison table, as I think that both solutions have a roadmap of new features that are going to be added continuously, so let’s see how the systems evolve.
Oh, and this is how our rowing club and lake presented themselves this morning. Long sleeve temperatures, but o so beautiful.
Yes, that is morning mist over the water.
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By sanderroosendaal • Uncategorized • 1 • Tags: OTW, quiske, rowing, single, steady state, training