Sunday, April 24, 2011

Time Trial - Apr. 23rd Burnaby Lake: Spring RADAR

I had the experience yesterday of bringing all the on-and-off water training together under perfect conditions to experience what it would be like in a 2000m race.

"There is nothing I would rather be doing" I said, just before I started the Race. I was having just the time of my life. Adding to the experience was the weather was just perfect. Not a cloud in the sky, no wind, and a very calm relaxing holiday weekend. Thinking about it now, it must be very rare to have full sunshine and NO wind, with sun warming up the land near a city to heat up and cause thermals, not to mention adiabatic and katabatic winds being near the north shore mountains and ocean.

I had the fun experience of weighing-in for this race, but I checked 30min before official time and I was .6km over the limit, that is 1.3lbs that I had to loose in 30min. I did all the necessary bowel/bladder movements but I was still .4kg over. So, after consultation with my coach I donned every last Item of clothes that I packed, and went for a heavy run and push-up fest to get the sweat flowing. I also sat in my hot car for 15min. At weight in I was dead-on; 74.0kg.

A high-school athlete complained and wanted to use the designated oars that go with the boat I use - the same oars I have been practicing with for six months.
I had some confusion with the VCRC Junior team-members and oars that turns out we were both planning on using for the race. Anyway, I got things sorted and decided to just use the extra oars that luckily fit the boat. My only real plan the race was to hold strong, keep steady, not flip, and finish really smoothly. It turns out a 2000m race only ends up being roughly 7-8minutes long! That is much quicker than my days as a marathon runner. I wanted to keep as straight as possible, so I may have looked over my shoulder more than necessary (which in turn may have slowed me down also!)

I finished the race and had almost caught the leader ahead of me! Each boat was started roughly 30-40seconds apart in single-file. I hit a buoy that was about 20feet from the finish line and it nearly flipped me, I was really off-set and may have lost another second or two just in the last few meters of the finish line. But, that is part of the race and I have to learn to finish strong and not be distracted by a minor buoy-hit.

After the race I put a list together of things that I need to do for next time. 1) Make sure oars/boat is all sorted before the warm-up 2) drink more water after weigh-ins, and 3) get better sunglasses (due to the Zellers $4.99 special were sliding down my nose - and no free hand to push them up)

Results were posted today: I'm not really sure what it means to Rowing Canada, but I was the fastest single on the water!

Derek Vinge LM1x 46 07:34.6 06:38.0 87.55%

Those percentage will be converted into a point-system and ultimately add to my RADAR total points. I need roughly 350 total points to get funding/invitations to major races.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Dueling over a Grand! Part II

So, Day 2 of this exciting regatta was an early start... Sunday morning with the first Race at 7:05am. I raced Fraser Berkhout - possibly the fastest single in Canada (other than Malcom Howard) I put forward the cleanest most powerful 1000m race I have in a long time. I felt really good about my effort - but, I lost. It was close from the start and Fraser only stayed 2-3m ahead of me the whole way. Now, In my mind, he was exerting full effort and I was very close to beating him. But, in probable reality he was just conserving energy for his next races so he didn't want to just light me up (in a way that he probably could).

My second race was 3 hrs later and I raced a fast light-heavyweight (or a heavy- lightweight for that matter) he was a nice fellow from Seattle, who was also in an attempt to race with the National team (US). The wind picked up prior to the start, and I knew I would have to really be smooth and fluid in this race. Within the first 50m I had caught two bad strokes almost crabs and was worried he was going to pull away from me. But, he didn't and we stayed within 1-2m of each other the whole race. In the last 300m I really tried to make a move, however, I just didn't have any juice left and was completely drained for the finish. Next time!

Overall - I enjoyed this race, my first experience in the single and really putting it all on the line.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Dueling over a Grand!

This regatta, hosted by my own club VCRC, is an exciting event where contestants race against one other person (dueling) in hope to keep advancing to the next round.

The winner get $1000 - a big number in rowing winnings standards.

My first race was this afternoon - against none other than my friend and teammate Dylan Cunningham. We have practiced together for 6months and know each other well. The first 250m was an even dead-heat... but after a strong "power 10" I pulled ahead - and kept it that way till the finish. In Dylan's defense, he has been training with a road-cycling team for the past 4 months riding 2-3hrs/ day... I'm sure it effects a persons all-out brute arm power for strong finishes.

The next race is tomorrow...against someone who trains with the National Heavyweights. He better watch out - I feel full strength coming on now!

New World Record - 100km Relay LWT

On Wed. March 30th the National Lightweight Rowing team plus two recruits (Ming and I) broke the World Record in the LW 100km Relay. This is a team of 10 people trading off the erg (indoor rowing machine) to complete the distance. The previous record by the Brits in 2007 was 4:39:01 and we were ~9min faster @ 4:30:07.

My personal thoughts on it were that it was a sensational once-in-a-lifetime experience. Just to be asked to join the team was an honor, in my mind. I carpooled over to Vancouver with the guys and got to chat will all of them about their history, backgrounds with rowing, current opinions, and future plans. I got to see what keeps them motivated day after day, month after month. And, from what I saw, they are an inspiring group of individuals! They have to work together, but each and every person was unique and had their own personal story... Morgan Jarvis holding off taking the Bar exam and becoming a lawyer in the hope to make the next Olympic team, Matt Jensen's time spent building Fluid design boats and spending almost a decade perfecting his technique, Terry McKall coming from Edmonton of all places and working on his masters degree (like Rares Crisan) while full-time rowing, Mike Lewis a previous Olympic Bronze medal winner in Beijing coming back for more, John Sasi, another Olympian, consistently being the nicest, open and honest person I know... and the list goes on.

The actual event was a full success in regards to the smooth running, flowing donations, and overall atmosphere of the Downtown Vancouver location. I was given a Uni suit and compression stockings to use and keep* for further use; a positive reward for just hanging out with the National team.

My friends Eric & Caroline, and Marc even showed up for support and watched a few hours of the event. In addition there was a live web-feed of the event and you can watch a few moments of the finish below:

Video streaming by Ustream