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4-3-2-1 [boat babble]

A training plan is beginning to take form. Up until now, I've been sitting in bow. Saturday morning, we tried switching places to see what would happen. Things felt equally good with me sitting in stern, although I suspect I'm slightly more prone to reverting to bad habits if sitting in stroke seat. On the flipside, sitting in stroke means I can concentrate on rowing and power application and not lose speed due to steering. We'll try this arrangement again next Thursday, and will then switch back one more time next Saturday, and after all that we'll make a decision and stick with it.

These last two practices have been good on multiple fronts. M is of the opinion that it's best if we each keep continuing to work on our own in the 1x, and I think she's right. Twice a week in the double should give us enough time rowing together to keep smoothing out the rough edges, but the more days on the water the better. Saturday morning, we did 3 sets of 10-minute pieces - I guess I should call them ladders - and we could tell that we had a mixture of really good strokes where we were moving the boat effectively but also some strokes where our power application wasn't as connected or consistent as we'd like. Room for improvement.

The 10-minute pieces are in my box of "practice classics" for head-racing season. They consist of four segments: 4 minutes rowing at a moderate stroke rate (24 or 26 spm), 3 minutes at 26/28, 2 minutes at 28/30, and 1 minute at 30/32. The goal is to maintain power and stroke length while bringing the stroke rating up to race pace. We rowed pretty comfortably and consistently at 30 spm last Thursday during practice race pieces with the Serious Double, but I haven't done a tremendous amount of work at race pace, so these practice pieces were good for building up to race pace and pressure.

There was one slight caveat: the stroke coach which we rummaged up from a bin in the boathouse never registered with the magnet under my seat. So we don't actually know if those were our stroke ratings. But we at least were able to use M's watch as a timer and brought the rate up at the appropriate intervals. Our final minute at a 32 also felt pretty good.

I'm looking forward to having more tools at my disposal for monitoring stroke rate and speed during practices. The blue Hudson doesn't have anything set up for this at all at the moment. S of the Old Man Double gave me some tips on two potential smartphone apps, one for the iPhone called Ritmo Time and one for Android phones called Boat Coach. However, he cautioned me that the GPS quality in smartphones means they don't provide as accurate of speed information over short distances as the SpeedCoach GPS can. The SpeedCoach GPS might make the most sense in the long term, but it also costs $400, so it's on the list of boat/accoutrements to acquire. But then M mentioned that she has a spare SpeedCoach bracket because she's upgraded to the SpeedCoach GPS, so I might just be able to install the bracket in the blue Hudson and use an older SpeedCoach that dichroic gave to me a while back.

So many fiddly bits.

On the subject of fiddly bits, though, I should make a mental note to do some measurements on the Pocock 2x and various oars. I am thinking of asking the Serious Double if they'll let me test-row a pair of their Dreher lollipop oars and share their rigging numbers with me. They said they time-trialed the lollipops against the current state-of-the-art Concept2 oars and the goofy-looking Drehers were significantly faster. So far I have just been borrowing a set of club oars, which are currently set with a shorter inboard and longer outboard, but of course the appropriate adjustment also depends on the boat's spread.

The wooden Pocock 1x has much wider spread than the blue Hudson, and I'm not sure I've checked the spread on the blue Hudson, nor do I know the spread on the Pocock 2x. In the very least at least the blue Hudson has even spread, unlike the red Hudson. Someone else kept resetting the red Hudson's spread back to something weirdly uneven because they probably didn't realize the whole (replacement) rigger is uneven. Ahh, the joys of club boats.

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