Apr 8 2020
Maiden Voyage in a Socially Distant World
Lockdown status update
So the last time I wrote was on March 31. Here is how the number of positive tests developed. The source is https://ourworldindata.org/coronavirus-data.
The two charts are the same. Just that the right hand side is plotted on a logarithmic scale, so you can see how we are slowing down the growth. We are doing all the measures to make sure the healthcare system will be able to manage. So here is an interesting set of charts, taken from https://covid19.healthdata.org/czechia:
So according to the predictions, the number of Intensive Care beds should be sufficient, even if you take into account the uncertainty. The picture for invasive ventilators is the same. Here is a comparison between Czech Republic and Portugal, both countries with 10 Million inhabitants, reaching 10 confirmed cases on the same date.
So what is the difference? Let’s look at the lockdown measures.
Looks pretty identical, right? There may be a couple of differences:
- Czechs have been pretty disciplined in taking the measures seriously, especially in the first three weeks
- Czechs are not a “hugging” nation. I don’t know about Portugal, though, but here people greet with a nod or with a handshake (we don’t do that any more). Czechs don’t kiss or hug every time they meet each other.
- Face masks. It seems that virtually overnight, around the 17th of March, we have turned ourselves into South Koreans or Japanese. Previously, the only people wearing face masks were Asians at the airport and in the tourist hotspots. When the government announced mandatory coverage of nose and mouth outside your property, when there was a shortage of face masks, people were told that some protection is better than no protection, and that the masks serve to protect others in case you are infected, not the other way round. In a day or two, enough people were making face masks at home to supply an entire country of 10 million.
Wearing a mask is now seen as an act of responsibility. It’s unpleasant, but if it helps, it helps.
None of the numbers provided above are to be seen as scientific evidence, but I would say that wearing a home made mask is not a big sacrifice to make, especially if it allows to get the virus under control and start thinking about easing up some of the other measures.
So since a few days, the crisis team of the Czech government are starting to think about how to ease the measures, and allow more economic activity. This debate is very difficult, because it’s a huge balancing act. How do you protect the vulnerable groups while allowing others to go about their business? How do you balance “smart quarantine” measures with data privacy laws?
The first thing that is now possible again since two days is: Individual sport without a face mask. Maximum group size 2 persons.
Yes, we were already running in the forests and parks, but we were wearing face masks. And we were out in nature. All sports facilities (even outdoors) were forbidden. So for me as a rower that meant: No rowing on the water.
We have been working with the club board yesterday to install a way to comply with the government measures but still allow some rowing, now that external sports facilities are open again.
- We have a strict timing policy on when you are allowed on the club ground, governed through a simple Google spreadsheet. So if I want to launch at 9, I block the 9 to 9:15 time slot in the spreadsheet, and that is the only time when I am allowed on the club ground. This can be easily checked through the chip key access. In this way, a maximum of two persons is present on the club ground at any time. Of course they are wearing face masks.
- No access to any of the indoor facilities. You arrive in your rowing clothes, do your training, and shower at home.
- Desinfection of all surfaces you’ve touched.
I hope this will gradually be eased. But I guess it is more realistic to take a week or two between each subsequent easing step to see if we are not creating a second wave of infections. Crossing fingers!
So what sessions have I been doing last week?
On April 1, I did a run:
I ran pretty slowly, taking pictures here and there:
I cannot remember if it was an easy run or a hard one, but I did really enjoy it. It was the first time in four days that I left my property.
On Thursday, I did nothing. Meetings from 7:30 AM to 7:30 PM.
On Friday, I did the land workout. It’s a workout I found on this youtube channel and it’s pretty balanced, doable and nice. I had a pleasant muscle soreness the next day.
On Saturday, it was time for an indoor rower session in the garden. It was great weather. I did 4 rounds of “Dart Games”. That’s a pretty nice way to work on stroke consistency. The trick, I discovered, is to not fuzz about the curve on the monitor, but to get in a trance, listen to the flywheel, and try to focus on leg pressure. I managed a high score of 14,625 points (out of 15,000 max)!
Unfortunately, BoatCoach disconnected itself in the middle of the second game, so the chart looks a bit weird.
On Sunday, I had a lot of computer work in the morning, and then I procrastinated before doing my workout. Actually, I switched on the TV and watched a movie “Catch 22” that they were broadcasting. Great movie, but not the smartest thing to watch during a lockdown.
The workout was 4×4 min/4min, a variation on the Pete Plan 4x1km/4min. I hate time based workouts, but I get why we’re doing them (to make it easier to do them in groups). Anyway, after three intervals I felt like Yossarian and just quit.
Well, three is better than nothing.
On Monday, I had to pick up a parcel at a parcel delivery spot, and I decided to take the bike. It was also a good way to air my two teenage boys who rode with me. Bike riding with a face mask is hard work.
It was a nice ride. Also interesting to see the town center again. It looked pretty busy, but I quickly realized that a normal Monday afternoon would have been much more busy. Parcel collected and a 90 minute bike ride is kind of equivalent to a 60 minute row, I think.
On Tuesday, April 7th, I did nothing. Even though I am on COVID-19 related unpaid leave (furlough) this week, I still find I have a pretty busy schedule. With two colleagues from work, we are trying to deploy a low cost video conferencing tool for basic schools. I am doing some maintenance work on rowsandall.com, and there is some volunteer work I am doing. So … busy days.
I also discovered that I started a bit too late with the hayfever pills, and on Tuesday I was suffering.
So, with on-the-water rowing legal again thanks to the disciplined behavior of all people around me, I was able to row on the water today. Thanks, everyone!
This means a lot to me, because I have a new boat. It was sort of the last thing to arrive from Italy before the rowing club closed, so I hadn’t done anything with it except putting it together. Today was the day to test drive it. Here is the boat:
I won’t tell you its name yet.
First, I did a 1km paddle. I had to return to the club to adjust a few things. Luckily, the 15 minute slot after me was empty, so I could return and do some adjustments. After that, it was a prefect row on a flat lake.
Here are a few more charts, just for fun.
Unfortunately, the NK Empower Oarlock had some issues. Even though I had put in a freshly charged battery, it would disconnect from the SpeedCoach every few minutes. After a few times, I didn’t bother to reset it. So that’s causing the flat areas in the power curve.
So this was great. Of course, we will miss a big part of club life, and it’s not clear if there will be any racing in the coming few months (I personally don’t think so).
I am also aware that my readers who are in full lockdown may be very jealous. I am sorry. I know the pain. One day, also you will be taking out your single again. Remember, when that happens, it is because all people around you were disciplined and took COVID prevention measures seriously.
Apr 12 2020
Wednesday was the first day on which I tried out my new single. Thursday, I went out in a double. I am lucky to live under one roof with my favorite double partner, so we were allowed.
We did a steady state workout prescribed by the Stuck At Home Rowing Club (SAHRC). The workout was called “Flatten the Curve” and it was 2km at 18spm, 1km at 20 spm, 1k @ 22, 1k @ 24, 1k @ 22, 2k @ 20, 2k @ 18 SPM. I slightly altered it to avoid the 24 SPM section, and of course there were built-in rest periods when we were turning the boat.
It was a bit choppy, and Romana and I had to concentrate to get the strokes right. Good training.
Thursday was also launch day. We launched the sales of our SAHRC club shirt.
Isn’t it a great shirt? You can have yours too by ordering here (Men) or here (Women). The best thing is: The proceedings will go to Medecins sans Frontieres / Doctors without Borders, and you will get a great shirt.
And more was launched on Thursday. As Czech children are stuck at home since March 10th and Czech teachers are struggling with web conferencing software which is too complex, has a language barrier and has security issues, two guys from my team decided to develop a free alternative in their free time. After a week of testing with one school in the Kolin region, and numerous improvements, as well as fund raising and preparing the infrastructure, we launched webskola.cz on Thursday. Czech schools can now very easily launch a secure virtual classroom without risking that hackers post obscene images on their students’ screens.
We got 78 classes registered on the first day, and we sold 91 SAHRC shirts. It was a great day.
On Friday, I did another repetition of a home circuit. Same thing I did a week ago. It was a good circuit and I did three rounds, even though it was quite hot in the sun.
I also had to do groceries for the long weekend. I thought going to the store at 10:15, fifteen minutes after the closing of the “Senior Citizens Only” hour, was a good idea. It was such a good idea that many other folk had the same idea. I got one of the last parking spots and grabbed one of the last scanners. It was not a pleasant experience. Of course everybody was wearing face masks, but it was just too crowded for me. Well, I did my groceries, paid, and disappeared back home.
A nice day to go out in the single. I got the 9AM slot from our singles departure slot system. (We have a 2 boats per 15 minute slot roster for going out in singles, in agreement with the recent government rules.) The 9AM slot is perfect because it seems to be the time of the day with the flattest water.
The workout I did was another one from the SAHRC, well actually a brutal workout copied from Eric Murray: 28 minutes rowed as 7 minutes at 20spm, 6 @ 22, 5 @ 24, 4 @ 26, 3 @ 28, 2 @ 30, 1 @ 32 SPM.
As I was in the single, I decided to reduce stroke rates by 2 SPM. I had also forgotten to take a water bottle, so it was pretty exhausting. It’s a great workout though. You start gently and get to work on technique and boat run, then you try to take that to a higher stroke rate, and on and on. I had some micro breaks of 15 seconds to turn the boat.
Workout Summary - media/4b05597757-20200411-083229.csv
--|05962|28:00.0|02:17.8|195.0| 23.5 |166.0|186.0|09.3
02|01444|07:00.0|02:25.3| 148.0 | 18.0 | 149.0 |11.4
03|01251|06:00.0|02:24.1| 161.0 | 20.0 | 160.0 |10.4
04|01051|05:00.0|02:22.9| 181.0 | 22.5 | 166.0 |09.4
05|00848|04:00.0|02:21.6| 200.0 | 23.5 | 174.0 |09.0
06|00662|03:00.0|02:15.9| 201.0 | 25.5 | 174.0 |08.7
07|00466|02:00.0|02:08.9| 233.0 | 27.5 | 181.0 |08.3
08|00237|01:00.0|02:06.3| 243.0 | 30.0 | 184.0 |08.2
You can see from my heart rate that I was pretty exhausted. I am pretty happy with the boat speed I achieved, although there is a lot to optimize. New single, new boat shape, requires getting used to. I am also thinking about doing some rigging changes. I want to set everything a tad lighter, hoping that will make the rowing a bit more dynamic.
Here’s the force curve as recorded with the NK Empower Oarlock and analysed on rowsandall.com. Here is a 6K race on my old single, for comparison:
Seems I need to work on getting a bit of length there. Let’s look at some other data from this interesting session:
Power and Boat Speed vs stroke rate. Seems pretty linear, and it shows in the pretty flat Work per Stroke data. Boat Speed is of course influenced by head and tailwind sections.
Wash numbers are pretty awful, I need to work on my finish. I will also set a weekly alert on rowsandall.com to send me a report on Wash. Knowing that you will get that email forces you to work on improving a metric.
Slip values got better but I think it’s rather a reflection of the wind calming down than of me improving technically.
And this last very short interval is me playing with max boat speed (headwind) for 10 strokes. Just test driving the new boat. Looks like I need to improve timing at higher stroke rates. I get the boat up to speed, but then boat speed drops as I rate up more. I know how to do it. Just avoid rowing like a pig.
On Saturday afternoon, I spent a pleasant hour in the garden taking apart my Concept2 erg and cleaning it. It wasn’t too dirty inside the cage, but I had time to do it and I wanted to adjust the bungee and take care of the chain anyway. Got very dirty hands and a very happy mind.
Romana and I headed out early for a quick spin in the double.
This was my 6th workout this week so we didn’t do a full training. Just played with some 20″ on 40″ rest intervals, and after we turned the boat we did 30″/30″ at 30-32 SPM. It was fun. When we got home, the boys had made breakfast. No eggs, but waffles, toast, freshly pressed orange juice, and other good stuff. We stuffed ourselves and then had coffee. Now I am relaxing.
By sanderroosendaal • Uncategorized • 0