Long Silence – Back on the Lake Again

I posted my last blog post on Monday, two weeks ago. It was a race report of a strange race day. On that Monday, I thought I was just tired.

But when I woke up on Tuesday, I knew it was something a bit more serious. The common cold. Nothing to worry about. I would just take an extra rest day and then carry on.

Unfortunately, Tuesday and Wednesday were long and stressful work days. I got worse during Tuesday and even had a light fever. Finally, on Thursday, I found time to recover from home. By now I was coughing heavily, trying to control my temperature and generally extremely miserable.

Friday to Sunday I gradually got better, to the point that on Sunday I even took time to visit the rowing club and watch my sons race. I still wasn’t in any shape for exercise, but by now the main focus was to get healthy enough to fly to the US for a business trip.

On Monday I did so. The dry air on the plane and the 3 hour wait at the immigration in Atlanta didn’t help either.

Tuesday started with a working breakfast and ended with a business dinner.

Wednesday thru Friday I was locked up in the Atlanta Hilton hotel for a big tech symposium organized by my employer. The days were all the same. Working breakfast at 6:30. Tech lectures from 7:30 to 12:30. Working lunch. Breakout sessions between 13:15 and 18:00 and tech poster sessions from 18:00 to 21:00.

Heavy. Even if the days would have been lighter, I doubt I would have the energy to visit the fitness center. I was still coughing heavily and not feeling well.

On Friday evening, I boarded a plane to Amsterdam, and around 4pm on Saturday, I was home.

Romana arrived in the evening, with news from the regatta in Hodonin. On Sunday, she had to get back to Hodonin as a coach. After a long, lazy morning, I rode to the lake and did a slow steady state session in my single. Still coughing a bit but feeling better. The temperature was about 28 degrees C, so it was hard for me to judge if the rate of perceived exertion was due to the temperature or a dramatically reduced fitness level after 2 weeks of doing nothing.

It was a nice row. It was very hot but there was a bit of wind. There was a windsurfing race going on in front of our neighbors, the wind surfing club, so I started out in the South direction, which is very unusual for me. Arriving at Sirka for the second time, I was just in time to see the mass start of the swimming leg of the Brno Triathlon. That’s a lot of splashing!

The water was a little choppy but in a nice way. In Brno, we’re used to a bit of chop and we even enjoy it. As this was a hot day, there were swimmers of course (you have to really scan and find the heads to avoid rowing into them), and the usual armada of SUPs doing yoga, or meditating, or taking their dog out, and the armada of boys with girls on pedalos, drinking beer, taking selfies, and generally not concerned with surrounding traffic. So it was good to be back on the lake again.

The pauses between 40 and 45 minutes were me watching the Triathlon swim start.

I also used the row to check out the new generation Quiske rowing pods.

As you can see from the images, the first generation was 3D printed, while the New Generation is a nice, sleek, molded plastic. Quiske also improved the method to attach the pod to the oar, using an elastic sleeve which is a lot more secure and fixes the pod better. Good improvements.

Boat Acceleration
Oar angle velocity – notice slight acceleration into the catch

Thinking about the oar angle velocity chart. It starts with the catch on the left and the key there is to quickly accelerate the blade to match the water velocity and place the catch at exactly the right speed to produce a “V” shaped splash. Then we see the boat accelerating, which results in an angular velocity which increases during the drive. Really this part of the curve should closely match the boat speed curve. In the absence of blade slip, the two curves should match exactly (not in terms of exact shape, but one cannot drop while the other increases, and the other way round).  Around the catch, it all lines up perfectly. Around the final part of the pull I am less sure. The angular velocity starts to drop while the boat still accelerates (albeit slower), which must mean the blade is starting to drag through the water? At this point in the stroke, the pressure on the foot-stretcher is dropping, and that would mean an acceleration of the boat even if the blade was still in the water. Very interesting timing interplay and I need to model them a bit more.

For today, I am planning another slow, low rate row, and then I need to pick up my training plan again. I wonder how to restart after such a hiatus. Luckily, I will have three race weekends in a row. Good opportunity to check where I am.

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