Rowing is a very traditional sport. Which other sport has funky colored blazers for clubs? This being said, for Olympic racing, there is only one distance, 2000m. The High Stakes Boston race looked to change things up a bit by making a unique, spectator friendly race.I was approached with the concept of the High Stakes Boston race by a former teammate, author and U.S. National Team Coxswain, Jack Carlson. The format was a multi-boat, mixed gender 500m relay race. The catch is that you go 250m and make a turn around a gigantic buoy and race as fast as you can back to the starting line so the next boat on your team can go. There has never been anything like it!I looked through my Rolodex of rowers and put together a team with two Olympians(one gold medalist), five national team member, and other Olympic hopefuls. It was one of the few opportunities to race with my girlfriend, so we decided to row the double scull together (one friend referred to this combination as "The Divorcer"). I am happy to report that she did not break up with me afterwards.My team won our heat in the fastest time of the day. The racing itself was so exciting because it is such a short distance, making the margins smaller than usual. The key is to keep calm,despite wanting to go full out, especially on the stake turns. I think my Tri-Phase Endurance helped me get psyched up, but still in control.Our semi was against a bunch of U-23 National Team all stars. Half of the team had world championship medals from this summer, so we didn't know what to expect. From moment one, we were able to eek out larger and larger margins as the boats went on. With the semi tucked away we had to recover before the final, which would take place in thirty minutes time. I took my Complete Recovery and watched the other semi go down.The final was against a very similar "Rent-a-Mob" crew from SoCal Scullers. It was the closest race of the day, but untimely we were on the wrong side of a half a boat-length margin.It was an amazing weekend full of fast racing and old friends. Next on my plate is logging a whole bunch of Kilometers to get ready for Fall distance racing!(photo credit- Jenifer Forbes Photography)
May was another month for selection regattas for the USA Rowing Team. I decided since it was my first year on the elite rowing circuit, it was very important for me to have some positive results by myself in the Single Scull.The next big race on my schedule National Selection Regatta #2. I knew that my main competition would be from one of my good friends, Willy Cowles, who used to row out of my club, but recently moved to a different program in Vermont.Once again, due to high winds, the Time Trial was pushed to a 7:30 PM start time. It should be noted, that on the average night, I am usually eating my dinner and starting to get to bed at that time! Regardless, I settled into my new pre-race ritual, drinking some Vitalyte Tri-Phase Endurance, pedaling on the indoor bike for 30' and listening to some old Bruce Springsteen. I survived the messy conditions and managed to place 2nd behind Willy.The final was another rough day out, but I rowed through it the best I could. I got to the start line early, took some Chia Surge and got ready to blast off. Again through all the chop I finished 2nd. I was certainly not happy that I lost, but as everyone keeps reminding me, I am "young" on the elite rowing scene and I'll have my day in the sun soon. The only way to get there faster is to keep working hard!
April was an exciting month in the rowing calendar because it marked the beginning of spring selection for the national team. The first of these selection regattas is in the double scull (two people, two oars each).A few weeks ago my double partner and I drove to Princeton for this regatta. We had shown decent speed in practice and were excited to see what we could do against the country's best scullers.The first day was a time trial. We executed our race plan, but truthfully, when it was over, I had no idea how we had done. It was only on the dock when another rower yelled to us "Hey Guys, good job!" that we found out that we got 2nd overall.The next day, even at 6am, the weather was nasty with 15-20mph winds. Regardless, we suited up, got in our boat and started warming up for our semi final. It was only 10 minutes before the race that the officials announced that the racing would be canceled for the day and would resume the following morning.When our semi finally went off the next morning, we had a composed race which we won in the 2nd fastest time of the day. At that point, we were just happy to have gotten to race, n though the wind was still kicking at 11mph.On saturday we had the Grand Final. After the successes of the last few races, we expected to beat crews that we had been beating or posting faster times than all week. We finished fourth in a tight race (2nd to 4th was .8 seconds!), but we realized that although it is not how we wanted to finish, it was still a solid result and a great way to start the season.I have another selection regatta in a few weeks, this time in the Single Scull. If I win this regatta, I will be able to compete at one of the world cups.