Saturday – A Confrontation with my Single Rowing Skills

This was another planned hard workout. On Thursday and Friday, I had to work long and I didn’t have time for rowing. I felt pretty bad about missing two sessions and was prepared to make this an extra hard one to compensate.

A nice 2x3km, with a 5 minute break in between. Instructions from the coach. First one in 26spm, second one in 28spm. He writes instructions for pairs and fours, and has explained me many times that singles rowers subtract 2 from the SPM values. So I was supposed to do this at 24spm and 26spm. Of course I forgot.

It doesn’t work like that.

I arrived at the club at 9:30, just in time for my sons to start their training. I quickly changed to rowing gear (shorts, it was only 9 degrees but very sunny).

When we arrived the lake showed its mirror flat side, but the weather forecast had predicted a pretty strong wind, so I wasn’t sure it would remain flat. When I launched and during the warming up, the water was still nice, and I didn’t notice that the tailwind slowly increased in strength.

I turned around at Rokle and got ready for my first 3k. Go!

A few minutes later it was the 20th minute in the chart below.

With around 1.6km to go, this wasn’t going well. My heart rate was very high and I was having difficulty holding the stroke rate. Also, I was rowing very hard on the first part of the drive and I had the feeling this wasn’t sustainable.

It was a head wind and it was stronger than I had expected, and little waves were starting to build.

All this was adding up in my brain, and I stopped abruptly. Then continued technique drills at low stroke rate.

At Sirka, I turned around and drank some water, then got ready for Plan B – do the second 3km in 24spm and focus on taking a light catch. Even in the tailwind, the rowing wasn’t easy. The waves were getting bigger, and I was not as fresh as I wanted.

I held that for 10 minutes, then stopped.

It wasn’t to be, today.

I did run the Quiske app during the “intensive” parts of this session, and the charts are shown above. The lines are averages over pretty short time intervals. I think they are the average over about 10 strokes maximum, perhaps fewer. The Black line is the average over the entire session. The curves look pretty close to the single stroke ones that the Quiske RowP app shows during the row. I started an interesting discussion on the in-stroke data over at the Rowing Data Analysis Facebook Group. I am thinking deeply about that first acceleration bump around 7% into the stroke. According to Kleshnev, having this bump, i.e. a local maximum in the acceleration, is good.

The wiggles around 45% of the stroke are bad. These are my fast hands away. At the end of the second 3km stretch, I did a little photo shoot. First, the selfies:

Then, the scenery:

And, finally, the rowing kit:

You cannot see the Android phone with the RowP app, because I had taken it out of the RAM mount (on the right, behind the wing rigger) to take the pictures. Also invisible is the RowP pod under the seat. Seat dynamics didn’t reveal any interesting insights, so I didn’t bother adding the pictures to the blog.

Yes, this was a confrontation with the skills of a rower who has spent more than four months on the erg. I am missing the subtlety in the catch. I am not able to dose my power wisely. I get thrown off by little waves. I guess all this will improve in the coming month.

It has to.

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