Wednesday – Fun in the Eight

A Miracle!

Wednesday, April 4, on the very first training day for the CVK Brno Masters Eight, I arrived at the club and we were complete! The eight core rowers of the team were all there, and we even had my son Robin as a coxswain.

The session itself was just a steady state row, to get used to each other. We took the old Empacher eight and set out, starting with only the bow four rowing, then changing that to stroke four, and finally getting all eight together about 2km in.

The row itself was nice, despite the big waves. If I was alone, I wouldn’t have gone out in a single, but in the eight it is doable. We are not quite the shock, awe and terror inciting eight person rowing machine that we were last season (were we?), but it was a good start. If we can keep this up, our competitors should start to worry.

I wanted to start with a OTW “How To” this week, but as I was a bit disorganized, this row was a mess, from the data perspective. As I have no good place to fix the NK SpeedCoach on my place at 2 seat, I decided to take the waterproof Samsung phone and the RAM mount, which is attachable to almost any boat, and run BoatCoach. That was a good idea, but I failed to get it connected to the Wahoo Tickr X heart rate belt that I was wearing.

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Luckily, this heart rate belt has a standalone mode, so I used that.

The other complication was that it was pretty choppy weather. Good that BoatCoach has a “splashguard mode”, preventing splashes to activate the touch screen. Well … except when a drop hits the “back” button, which happened about 200m in on the first 3km leg after the warming up. The waves were fierce, and I was getting a good deal of water sprayed over myself as well.

Rowing is a great sport. You go backwards slowly while ice cold water is thrown at you. What can be more fun?

I was trying to concentrate on rowing sweep, but I do confess that the splashes doing random touch screen presses on the BoatCoach app were a bit of a distraction. This being sweep rowing, I cheekily used my left hand on a few strokes to try to contain the damage. The drops had  managed to get to the window which asks if you really want to shut down the app, and I really didn’t. It requires a bit of timing, but I managed to hit Cancel just before the catch, then exit from some menus.

Then there was another annoyance after the row. I have programmed BoatCoach to offer sending Raw Data per Email before closing the app. This is a great feature. Back at the dock, you exit the app, accept the offer to email the raw data, and send them to Before you start your shower, the workout is on the site.

It doesn’t work like that when you row in an eight. Arriving at the dock, I exited the app, but then we had to get out of the boat in a synchronized way, and carry the boat up to the boat house, all the while with the email window open. By the time I had removed the phone and the mount from the boat, the window and the BoatCoach app had already closed.

It took some time to locate the raw data file on the phone when I was preparing for this blog. I also had to sync the Wahoo Tickr X with the phone to get a TCX file, which I uploaded to to try and Data Fusion heart rate data into the workout. I also had to run the Rowsandall rowing physics module to get estimated power data. All that to be admired in the resulting plot:

(I think each data channel is slightly time shifted with respect to the other. I didn’t do a particularly good job at aligning them.)

So lots of data talk, but no real data “how-to”. Rather a “what not to do”, I would say.

It was a nice technique row in the eight though, despite the ice cold splashes.

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