Hello GRP followers! Earlier this week the men’s side of the rowing team wrapped up their first training trip down in Peachtree City, Georgia after a week of some very productive training. They’re now back up in the snowy north and back onto skis. The guys did some great work remembering how to move a single, figuring out how to match up with different people in team boats, and setting down a solid base of blisters to heal up and hopefully turn into callouses for the main training trip in a couple weeks.
From where we left off in our past blog post, last weekend started out with a variety of team boats work with a nice long doubles steady state workout through the fog which provided for some great photo opportunities, as I’m sure you can imagine. The best part about rowing in the fog (as long as you’re vigilant about keeping an eye out for anything ahead) is the dead calm water that you usually get. Steve made sure to take advantage and have the guys focus on some important technical aspects around the release with bringing the bodies over and keeping them perched as we brought the boat towards us with the hamstrings.
An easy breezy row that Friday afternoon in the quad helped get the guys ready for their first taste of speed for the following morning workout of 2x(5x(1:00 on, 1:00 off)) starting around a 30 and progressing higher and higher. Considering each row in the quad was the first time in each respective lineup, Saturday’s pieces felt surprisingly relaxed and quick. That morning’s lineup consisted of four of the GRPers with Wes in stroke, Lucas sitting in three, Kevin in two seat, and Andy making the calls from up in bow. Things got a bit rushed and forced once the final open rate piece rolled around, but it was nothing to lose sleep over considering it was everyone’s first time above a 38 in a boat since November.
Following a quick snack refuel to hit that catabolic window, the guys spent a couple hours with the juniors of Peachtree City Rowing Club to talk about all things sculling. The guys regaled stories and lessons they had learned from rowing in college followed up by advice from what they’ve learned in about sculling in the years since graduating. The guys split the juniors up into a couple groups and had each group spend half the time focusing on technical aspects in the boat while the other half was spent talking hitting the large themes surrounding erging, training, nutrition, and the psychology of racing. Obviously all of those topics, both in the boat and out of it, can be discussed for months on end, so the guys tried to hit a few of the key lessons each of them had learned over the years.
Saturday afternoon after talking to the Juniors was spent with a quick and purposeful row in the singles in order to sharpen the guys up for the following morning fun. Steve lined up a 4,000m open-rate piece the Sunday morning’s practice with no set course. The guys were simply to set their speed coaches for 4,000m, start in one corner of the lake, and see how quickly they could cover. As some back story, the buoyed race course on Lake McIntosh covers 2,500m. An S turn near the start of the course can add an additional ~900m or so. Which means you needed to add another ~600m to the piece in some fashion or another. The assumption was that we would all probably divert from the course where the lake opens up and do a long loop around the rough circumference of the lake (all in the traffic pattern, of course) in order to add the necessary 600m to hit 4,000m on our speed coaches. Steve gave the group a start time of 8:15am for the piece. Everyone launched somewhere around 7:30 and everyone headed straight up to the course towards the start and added a couple short loops on the course to lengthen the warmup and kill time until the start. Everyone, that is except Lucas. For whatever reason (to be realized later by everyone else), Lucas went straight towards the finish line and down a small finger of the lake before turning around and heading to the start line. Not thinking anything of it, everyone gathered around the start location as you can see in the map below in the upper left corner. The usual pre-race banter ensued and then Steve sent everyone off on 45″ intervals based on seniority of birth. John Graves, being the most well aged (like a bottle of fine wine, one might say) of the group, started things off. Lucas, being the young gun of the group, started last. As everyone hooked a sharp turn towards starboard into a brutal headwind running from West to East that had picked up before the start of the piece, people’s splits suffered accordingly. It wasn’t until everyone was on the West side of the lake did we realize why Lucas had started his warmup by heading down the end finger of the lake. As he speeded straight down the course as the lake opened up, it was then that we realized he had been figuring out just how long he could stretch the lake in as straight of a line as possible. Everyone else took the red line in the map below, and Lucas made up gobs of time on most of the field by not having to deal with the wall of a headwind everyone else rowed into. Granted, the rest of the group had a semblance of a tailwind as they headed back east, but it was mostly blocked by the trees and land along the west side of the lake. Lucas demolished most of the field, only falling to the always silky smooth JGraveyboat and US 2018 Single Sculler, Kevin Meador. The only thing Lucas hadn’t foreseen was having to dodge people as they finished in front of him well short of the finger he barreled into with reckless abandon. He also hadn’t accounted for Steve’s wake as Steve sped to catch the finish of everyone else. Yet, Lucas’ ingenious plan payed off.
After the 4k, the group talked again to the remainder of the Junior program who hadn’t gotten a chance to listen to the GRPers wax poetic about training and the art of sculling. Both groups of high schoolers were great students and seemed to really enjoy hearing the experiences of the Greenies as they look towards the horizon of collegiate rowing.
Sunday afternoon after the 4k, Steve gave the group a quick power lift to… power through, before spending most of the evening relaxing as he made his promised Muddy Buddies (Puppy Chow for us midwesterners) and the guys watched the latest adventures of Newt Scamander and Albus Dumbledoor in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. The rest of the trip unfortunately flew by in a blur of one of the windiest rows that the guys had yet experienced followed immediately by some gorgeous conditions for quad rowing and singles drills. We even got to end everything with some excitement as Lucas flipped Monday evening while doing stationary drills followed by Wes flipping Tuesday morning with the continuation of the same stationary drills.
As the guys headed north Tuesday morning, Steve drove even further south towards Trials I which will be hosted in Sarasota, Florida at the end of April. The full GRP Rowing team will be rejoining the trailer in DeLand, FL on March 19th for their long training trip in preparation for Single Trials. Until then, they’ll be taking full advantage of the pristine skiing conditions at the Center and dreaming about warm sunshine.