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Fleamageddon II + River City Rebellion

I got to sleep in on Saturday morning, in part because I am a terrible human being who forgot that I was on-call to help derig and load up my boat for a regatta on Sunday.

I am pretty sure Saturday was the first time in over a month that I actually got to sleep in. I NEEDED that sleep.

Then I NEEDED to work on Fleamageddon II, because I have been so busy that I haven't been attending to my poor cat or the house. The floors were hitting Extreme Crumb Crisis. I bought some unscented dish detergent, which we used to bathe the cat, and then we vacuumed everything, including underneath P's bed, which (in scrottie's words) involved jacking up the bed and putting it on blocks.

I'm really, really looking forward to being reunited with my vacuum cleaner, which we had to stash in Princess TinyHouse at the last minute in Nebraska, when the moving truck got too full. L has an upright-style vacuum with a cloggable, hard-to-clean filter and one of those roller brushes that inevitably gets filled up and jammed by long hair. We've also been using a shop vac.

Then the usual: off to the lab for the feeding experiment, home again and over to M&M's for pizza. I left early to go to bed because there was a small-boat regatta in Sacramento Sunday morning.

The River City Rebellion was fun, although draining. The regatta is set up to pit all of the small boat classes against each other: pairs, singles, and doubles, men, women, and mixed entries. All boats are given an age/boat class reverse-handicap. In practice, this means that you get to the start, get locked into your stakeboat, and then the official (same guy who does Gold Rush) says, "Attention, Go! ...thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three..." and you start the race when you hear your time.

The race course was at the Port of Sacramento, which is also where UC Davis practices. In contrast to the usual seasonal wind out of the south, winds decided to blow out of the north. This meant that the typically favored lane, lane 1, was not so great. Instead of being the most sheltered from the wind, it was the lane that all of the boats headed towards because the course wasn't buoyed.

For my first race, I started out in lane 2 and was one of the first boats out of the starting blocks. Lane 1 was a guy whose racing outfit is 100% zebra stripes, and Lane 3 was a double containing a rower I raced against at Gold Rush (T; I lost to her by 10 seconds because she's a powerful beast who probably actually trains).

By around 400 meters, the single and double were both catching up with me. I did my darndest to hold my course and not get in anybody's way, but the double wound up blowing in behind me, so I yelled, "Look ahead!" and they managed to steer around me instead. A couple hundred meters further, I clashed oars with the single. He had a tough race, between that, hitting some geese, and then running into the reeds a bit later, but he still managed to win that event.

My second race went more smoothly, aside from the fact that the wind picked up to the degree where the middle part of the race was just about getting the oars in the water and trying to stay upright. I was able to beat out two other boats to come in second.

The wind had died down slightly before the third race, where, to my surprise, I faced T and her doubles partner again. This time I was relieved to note that while I was in lane 2 again, they were in lane 4, so I was less likely to wind up in their way. That was also the first race where I was finally in a good position to do things like think about taking a power 10 at the 500m mark, and to think about ratcheting up my stroke rating for a sprint at the end. I came in fourth again, 11 seconds behind T's double, but close behind another double and single. That put me at 31st out of 51 boats. I can't complain, given how little training I've managed to get in. Happy Double enjoyed their first races as a double and came in 36th overall.

My other teammates, in particular the Serious Double and Old Man Double, did spectacularly well. Both boats won their races in Round 1 and Round 2, so they landed spots in the Grand Final during Round 3. Some of the limitations to the handicapping system became apparent in the Grand Final. A pair rowed by an older set of master's women won, followed by a single sculler who is on her way to the Olympics to represent Trinidad/Tobago, followed by the Hopkins sisters in a pair, the the Old Man Double, then the Serious Double.

So you could say I got to race against an Olympian.

Good things about the regatta: everyone gets in 3 races, and by Round 2, you're racing against people where you're going to be in a pack, whether it's a super-fast pack or a slower pack. There also isn't much sitting around between races, and everything wrapped up with a barbecue and awards ceremony by 2 pm. Also, it gave Serious Double and Old Man Double a chance to race each other, and now Old Man Double can lord it over Serious Double because they beat Serious Double by 3 seconds (raw time).

Less fun: regatta timing put us on the road back to town at a time when traffic starts to pick up. I didn't bring enough sunscreen so I couldn't reapply and wound up with strange sunburned patches. By the time we rerigged and put the boats away at BPRC, I had a bad sinus headache, which persisted through the daily feeding experiment duties (because yes, I went straight from regatta things to the lab). And I have mixed feelings about not getting in adequate training or preparation and then showing up to a regatta.

I need to do the following:
-Get replacement tracks for the blue Hudson
-Get a Speedcoach mounting bracket for the blue Hudson (this one, I believe). Or save up spending money for a SpeedCoach GPS, or investigate smart-o-phone programs.
-Think about oar optimization (suck it up and get my own? Readjust inboard/outboard?)
-Map out a training program and regattas for the fall

I have this sense that things are going to be a scramble up until I leave for Iowa for RAGBRAI. I boxed up and shipped off the Jolly Roger this morning, for that expedition. S will pick it up in Lincoln because the Iowa train station doesn't have luggage service.



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Jul. 11th, 2016 08:46 pm (UTC)
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