Saturday, September 27, 2008

Report: Copperhead Regatta (long)

Hi, all! I have a fun time to report at thte 2008 Copperhead Regatta, right here in Houghton. I usually row a double with my wife, Kirsten. She couldn't race due to work conflicts, but Bob Sharkey and I tried rowing a couple of times last weekend and decided to give it a try. With a coaching session from the Deb, our latest addition to the PLRC (exciting news - check her out in an upcoming post!) we felt ready to give it a shot. I sat in the stern rowing stroke - I set the stroke rate. Bob in the bow steers and gives the orders. With our weights similiar, the boat felt pretty good.

After an entire week without rowing (I was getting over a cold and Bob was out of town all week,) we met at 7am down at the boats. One of the great things about rowing out of our own docks was not having to de-rig and move the boats. We had the coxes meeting and checked out a map of the course. A little over 3600 meters, Starting by the Ambassodor near the lift bridge, then down to the Isle Royale Sands for the finish. Bob and I were the first boat down the course. After putting in the water, you warm up while rowing to the bridge on the Hancock side of the canal, then turn around to get in position for a running start. You get up to speed as you cross the start line; they sound a horn and start timing you as you pass by. As ours was the first boat by, they hadn't yet worked out the kinks from the start. We were well behind the start, ready to start rowing - then all of the sudden the horn goes off! We took off rowing as soon as we heard it, though. At least I figure this way we get to race even more!

Coach Deb was next in her single. This was what's called a 'head race' - boats started down a course one at a time. You race against the clock. If you are much faster than the boat ahead of you, you might catch them. I'm just glad that Deb didn't catch us in her single!

The water was good; not completely flat, but any waves were going the same way we were. I tried to settle into a stroke rate of 30 strokes per minute. When I felt that I was going to run out of steam too early, I pulled it down to 28 spm. A bit of recovery, and we pulled it back up to 30 spm. Then, near the end, Bob called for a 'power 20' - for 20 strokes you give the strokes your most effort. After that we picked up the rate for about 10 strokes to the finish. Our finish time was 18 minutes 54 seconds.

The boat has a gizmo called a Speedcoach© that measures stroke rate, time and distance. Here are the splits for every 100 meters. Shown first is Interval (Meters,) then Strokes per minute, then Split/500M. That's the projected time to travel 500m, a useful standard to measure performance.
The last split looks pretty bad, but that' s because I forgot to turn off the Speedcoach© for about 30 seconds after the finish; that pulled the averages down.

100 27.5 2:56
200 28 2:39
300 28 2:37
400 28.5 2:37
500 29 2:37
600 29.5 2:37
700 29.5 2:29
800 30.5 2:22
900 31 2:26
1000 30.5 2:28
1100 30.5 2:32
1200 30.5 2:30
1300 30.5 2:32
1400 30 2:32
1500 30 2:29
1600 29 2:37
1700 30 2:34
1800 30 2:38
1900 30 2:39
2000 28 2:48
2100 28.5 2:43
2200 28.5 2:44
2300 28.5 2:45
2400 27.5 2:30
2500 28 2:33
2600 28.5 2:32
2700 28.5 2:35
2800 29 2:35
2900 29 2:33
3000 29.5 2:34
3100 29.5 2:40
3200 30.5 2:37
3300 30 2:41
3400 30 2:36
3500 29.5 2:28
3600 31 2:19
3700 25 3:41

Overall, I was happy with our consistency. With more practice and better conditioning, I' d like to average 2:30/500m splits. Without the last split, our average split was 2:36/500m.

Most of the other crews were either MTU Rowing Club or NMU Rowing Club. The Upper Peninsula Community Rowing Club from Marquette had a crew there, a masters women's coxed four. Composed of 5 women between the ages of 37 and 54, they rowed the course and had a good time. I'll have a couple of pictures up soon. Their finishing time is classified, due to mechanical problems that forced them to stop a couple of times.

Marquette returns the favor tomorrow at Teal Lake with the Iron Oars Regatta - second in the Heavy Metal Rowing Series. MTU will be going. Two in a row is a bit much for me at this point. Bob and I took on this one mostly as a lark. Maybe next year.

Big thanks to Terry for organizing the event, to the MTU rowers for their support, and to Tervos for doing timing at the start!

We may get out a few more times this season; soon it will be time to get boats in. MTU continues their season. I look forward to working with Deb (she is really cool!) and getting more people from our community into boats next Summer. (you!)

Look for pictures soon. See you!
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