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June 17th, 2019

Get up, move forward [rowing; bicycling]

We had our next regatta of the season this past Saturday, down in Connecticut. I'm not going to do a blow-by-blow but overall it was a good regatta, with one exception: I'm finding myself surprisingly steamed about my first race. For that race I wound up racing in the mixed 2x again with Power Man (there's a fun new nickname, heh). Here's how it unfolded:

Prior to this regatta, our team sent a junior women's pair (sweep rowing; one oar each) and junior women's double (sculling; 4 oars total) down to Sarasota, FL for the Junior Nationals race. The pair rented a boat, and so did the double, but as backup insurance, our coach also arranged to send down one of our team's boats on another team's trailer - boat called the Blue Heron. That other team is from Connecticut, so he also arranged for us to pick up our boat plus all our oars from the other team at the regatta.

So Saturday morning, we arrive at the regatta and I go over with PM to get our equipment back. They have the Blue Heron plus the sweep oars...but no sculling oars, and none of the actual hardware from inside the boat (seats and footstretchers). Um. The coach who was there with the team at the regatta wasn't the same person who drove that trailer, so he had no idea about what might have happened. It quickly became apparent that we were going to have to use our other equipment and wouldn't be able to use the Blue Heron, which meant we would be back to rowing in a creaky old boat called the Heavy Double instead.

On top of that, I'd been banking on those extra sets of sculling oars. We brought along an adequate number of other club oars, but the ones we brought all had an older grip type (green handles) and I definitely prefer the newer grips (orange handles). One of the problems with the green handles is they come in different sizes and none of ours are labeled in a way where a person can tell what handle size is on an oar without carefully checking. Handle size and grip type have a huge impact on oar control.

So between this, that, and the other thing, we biffed the start in the mixed double and then did too much scrambling through the rest of the race. Argh. I don't like to blame the equipment but I do think it factored in, based on previous experiences I've had while testing out various different oars and boats. I made some adjustments to my oar handling for my other two races, so the other two races went better, but still. And in the back of my mind I'm thinking I may not get another chance to try racing again with PM. But really, that decision's completely out of my hands; the best I can do now is keep working on my own rowing to help myself get faster in every other race I'm in.

I have also been having an internal debate over whether to allocate my personal discretionary funds towards my own personal equipment or towards team needs. This is not an easy topic; the club has gone through a period of forced equipment neglect due to things that happened in recent club history (prior to my arrival). From the looks of things that has meant that a lot of people who might have contributed more to club efforts have instead pulled back and bought their own private equipment instead. Rowing politics at its finest.

So probably the best I can do is set up my own financial structure so that I am both saving up for my own oars and also making a substantive regular contribution towards team equipment. And in the meantime, bide my time. Really, this year isn't all that different from when it was time to save up for Froinlavin. The Jolly Roger was still a bicycle that would still take me places.

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In other Athletic Activities I have Feelings About: I have signed up to ride the Seattle-to-Portland again with [personal profile] sytharin, [personal profile] scrottie, and now also [personal profile] annikusrex. Out of all of us, Syth will be the best-prepared. She declared her intentions very early in the year like a logical person and decided to fundraise for World Refugee Relief, which is the organization our father fundraised for last year. So she's been getting out on training rides already.

The rest of us will just be suffering through as best we can. But by now, all of us have ridden centuries before, so we know what that feels like, and we know it's possible to keep going well past the point where you might think it's no longer possible to keep going. Just keep eating and drinking and turning the pedals over. We've all got slightly less than a month to get ready.

I sort of have this feeling that this STP is going to make me just as much of an emotional wreck as I was at the end of the Paris-Brest-Paris four years ago. I have to pedal through the grief. Four years ago was the summer after Dad's first chemotherapy treatment, when I did the STP as a training ride for PBP, pushing my Dad along on the Odious IV for the first time, wearing a pirate outfit. But on the other hand, it is important to go out and do the ride again, and so I will.

This entry was originally posted at https://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org/1301278.html. Please comment there using OpenID.

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