In the boat: Time Trial & Why I Row

Keen to share something from the weekend which involved the pair with Josh. It’s what I love about rowing. The feeling of timing and ease. The feeling of getting great boat speed. Now I am not saying it was easy for the time trail but found a few sections particularly early we found some great rhythm.

This was the second time trial and the reason for this is that due to the nature of the 2km course at Carrum we do our TT’s as 3800m with a turn around. It means stopping to spin the boat and getting going again within the 45sec.

As I say this was the second time out as we did the first one in the single scull. As we paddled up to the start point I was feeling somewhat flat as I had no break between the efforts as I was delayed getting on the water for the single due to forgetting my oars. Long story short, it made me late to the start line which then made me late for the start of the pair. Effectively got off the water changed into the other boat went back up again and then back into it with Josh.

Now for the funny part and what this post is about. That feeling, the sensation, the focus and connection. We took off in the pair at the start of the TT and it was not so different than what I expected. After some 500m I found myself thinking, actually we have started pretty well here. The tempo was up and as we discussed before it was about keeping it alive and letting the natural rhythm work for us. Here’s where things became interesting.

The rate was about 32 strokes per minute and I thought this is about right, the length felt pretty long without being heavy and the hips were sliding back off the front and the sensation of hanging during the drive was like a slow motion one. The match up was good and the boat felt like it was bubbling along onto of the water. My hands felt light and the speed off the back was flowing with out being forced and the space under our blades was comfortable. Josh was doing a great job at leading the rhythm and my role of following and making calls was come easily. Just a few words of encouragement came at different stages and the match up was not something I had to think abut greatly. It was coming together and with each stroke was growing in a sense. I love the feeling of ease, flow and drive as an integrated experience. I mean as I reached out to the left side and Josh to the right the weight was well balanced and then the pick up was sweet and fast. Almost as the handles swing back into the mid line it was like being suspended. Between the oars, the riggers, each other and between the boat and water. This moment like nailing the action together is so very cool. As the handles started to swing outwards the feeling of flatness and timing was perfect, not every stroke but many of them. The release is a challenge to get right as it happens so quickly and the timing of it together is or can be tricky. For many strokes I found the harmony a breeze and with a slight tail wind I watched the rate hover around 31-32 and saw the speeds dance from 1.38 – 1.42’s and each time we got even more harmony and ease it would slide back down. No effort required was all that kept coming into my mind. With about 300m before the turn I thought we were travelling pretty well and my mind was settled and ready for the turn around. On the way back we start well again and the rate came even easier but after about 600m we did start to tire. A few mistakes crept in and things become less efficient. All in all it was a good first TT and certain my recall of the early and middle stages of the first lap were very positive.

If asked, why I love rowing I pretty much think of those moments. Difficult to describe and hard to share with out confusing some one but its that feeling of togetherness, harmony, ease and those clear thoughts. Funny things I get to experience this most days and sometimes for long periods of time. This is the gift and one I am grateful for and revel in.

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