East Bay Rowing Club took a full trailer to Lake Natoma to compete in seven races at this year’s Head of the American. Continue reading…
East Bay Rowing Club kicked off its 2014 fall racing season with a strong showing at the Wine Country Rowing Classic in Petaluma, California, on Sunday, October 5. EBRC fielded a variety of masters men’s, women’s, and mixed boats and rowed to victory in the men’s 8+, women’s novice 8+, and men’s pair. Continue reading…
The fall regatta schedule is set and the coaches are working on lineups. Come cheer us on! Continue reading…
Well, I’ve had some time to digest (Both figuratively and literally. Immediately after the race I had a 5 cheese penne pasta, blackened grouper, 3 beers and ice cream. Today, I don’t have to be lightweight!) my race experience. I learned a lot and, thankfully, met all my goals and expectations of myself.
The morning started off quite pleasant. I saw Tara off the dock for her race, weighed in, checked my shell over and stayed out of the sun as much as I could. It wasn’t until 40 minutes before I was to launch that I started to get really nervous. After launching, I realized that the races were behind schedule and I ended up in the marshaling area a while longer than I intended. I still managed my nerves pretty well as I was distracted chatting with one of my competitors and a lively ladies’ 8+ from Texas. I acclimated to the heat and humidity pretty well as I kept covered up in my hat, was well hydrated, skies were slightly overcast and I was probably too nervous to notice otherwise.
Observing the other racers in my group, I knew I would have to be very aggressive in my high 20 right off the racing start. Their practice starts were clearly superior to mine (Racing starts are the weakest part of my race plan.) and could get their boats to jump. Still, I remained calm knowing that the boat I had borrowed was stiff, light and well under my control. I was low in the water, well balanced and the gunwales were directly beneath my hips. Our Wintechs feel like bathtubs compared to this lightweight shell. The five of us competitors, me being in lane five, were called onto the racecourse and we locked on efficiently, subtly maintaining our points in the crosswind. After a fairly rapid roll call, we were called to attention, which was fine by me. There’s nothing more I hate than sitting at the catch, blades squared.
Attention, ROW! I immediately went into a tunnel vision, focused on the stern of my boat as I moved away from the pontoon. 1/2, 3/4, 3/4, FULL, FULL. Jumped into my high 20 and peeked over at my stroke coach, a 46. What!? A 46! Adrenaline’s a helluva drug!!!! After my high 20, I struggled to force myself into a hard settle. Almost 300m in and I’m still at a 44. I begin to yell at myself aloud, “Settle, Gilbert! Settle! DAMMIT!” Apparently, lane 4 had been encroaching on me as the officials were warning him off, I heard him apologize. I guess he mistook my muttering as yelling at him.
Somewhere around 350m, my starboard blade took a digger. A mini-crab which, within 2 strokes, pulled me down to a manageable 34. I was actually thankful for that. However, at the 34 I was still unable to make an emphatic & decisive move on the shell to my right. I made a conscious decision, 7 more strokes at this 34 and if nothing happened, I’d force myself to a 30. Dropped to a 30-32 and almost immediately I felt the boat lift. I became efficient, creating some space between the adjacent Empacher. This is where I live! Found me some swing. I decided I was going to slug it out, all power at a lower rate, hammering out the remainder. Gone was my notion of higher rate and anything graceful! Plus, at this stroke rate, I’d have room to sprint at the end. I hit the 750m red buoys, and am instantly pulled out of my tunnel vision, keenly aware of the spectator stands and the chatter! Oh, Shit! People are watching! Sit up a little taller. Up two for 10! Up two more for 10! Okay, BLOW IT OUT! In reality, blow it out was more like a plea. PLEASE HOLD ON!?!?
I cross the bubble curtain finish line (The course is built to FISA standards. My first bubble curtain finish. I felt so chic. LOL). My head is throbbing. I’m dizzy and slightly disoriented. I turn my boat and start paddling for the dock. In a small Shawshank moment, the skies finally released rain where I promptly stopped, removed my hat and raised my face to the sky, enjoying the brief moment and relief.
From the experience I can definitely say I met my personal goals and expectations. At the onset of this I set out to:
1) Execute a training plan 100%. For 6 weeks, although I may have modified a few things, I stayed true to the plan and never missed a workout. Thank you Axel & Adrienne.
2) Make the final. After reviewing the previous years’ heats, my goal was to post a time fast enough for the finals. This was an easy one, as the race itself was a final. CHECK!
3) Run a clean race [and not finish last :-)]. From my perspective, as described above, that was accomplished.
4) Row a sub 4:00 1K. I posted a 3:56.589. DONE. My only other 1x race was at Gold Rush in 2011 and it was . . . an experience. Although water conditions, wind, course setup make every race situation different, I rowed a 4:28 there. 32 sec is a great improvement.
What did I learn?
1) Self Mental Discipline. In 2x’s, 2-‘s on up through the 8+’s, I’m highly responsive to the accountability and reliance my teammates have in me to hit the landmarks and hold the stroke rates when necessary. I need to be able to do that for myself in race situations and not fly out of those crazy starts and settle hard. If I’m able to find that efficiency earlier, how much more competitive can I be?
2) Set New Personal Elevated Expectations. What do I need to do maintain this learning curve? Although, this has been a great experience, I am still 10-15 seconds away from reaching the podium. How are my peers managing to be my height and weight yet still carry so much dense mass while I’m thin and lanky? The Argentine (the Romanesque guy to my left rowing the Cucchietti ) was crazy fit and the guy from Columbus that won was muscle packed and still a pound under me. All they have are more racing experiences under their belt, that’s all. I’ve proven I am in this peer group and know I can catch and surpass.
3) I am not as afraid of my racing peers, of the 1x and the big venues. A little apprehension keeps me on my toes, but I won’t be overwhelmed.
I really enjoyed the experience and learned a lot. Going out on a limb, feeling crunchy out of your comfort zone forces those evolutionary leaps in personal development. I’m left still feeling hungry. I can’t wait to do it again, soon. Maybe not tomorrow or next week, but soon.
Great publicity this week about the opening of the channel by Lake Merritt (thanks, Measure DD!). As a former LMRC member, I can attest firsthand about what grand tradition they have, seeped in 100 years of history. One of the oldest clubs on the West Coast, the LMRC has been cordoned off in their landmass-surrounded lake for their entire existence, the dam having been implemented 150 years ago (thanks, Sam Merritt!).
LMRC has been a great sister club to the EBRC. We relied on them physically and mentally to get through the times when our location and club status was still uncertain. With Lake Merritt, still home of the SW Regionals, there was only the possibility for about 100-125 strokes before you had to spin your boat and go back the other way. Now, with the gradual opening of the channel over the next few years, the possibility for a unique sprint course presents itself.
A boathouse-to-boathouse journey back into the history of Oakland, the community and the bay. What will start at the boathouse of Lake Merritt will end at the boathouse of the boathouse of the EBRC. I present to you now, rowing community, the first draft of the Lake-to-Estuary Race.[youtube height=”305″ width=”520″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8S5vZMUqpw&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]
- Starting at the Southeast end of the lake, the timed heats begin. Southwest finger will be for warm-ups and staging.
- Dodging the flock of ever-present Canadian Geese that hang out by the fountain, the boats first wind their way to the around the Fairyland area.
- Once in the center of the lake, the boats begin to position for a wide right turn to go under the 12th Street bridge, to the sound of hundreds of screaming, cheering fans.
- The boats continue down the channel, past Merritt college, the track stadium, baseball field and Knickerbocker’s Bend.
- Rowers will be able to see the bay as they hit Stelter’s Strait, continuing on under 880 until the furious reach the Jack London Aquatic Center (EBRC boathouse) where they will weave their way out to the estuary.
- A final right turn awaits them, setting themselves up for the sprint the flagpole in Jack London square, where more legions of screaming fans await to grant them their deserved glory. Google Earth tells me this is just over about 3500 meters, a perfect ‘short head’ or ‘long sprint’.
As the changes from Measure DD continue to take effect, bridges will be raised and the waters of the lake will creep closer to those of the estuary. We’re looking forward to many more celebration days together as these barriers between are brought down.
East Bay Rowing Club made a very strong showing its first year at the Head of the Charles Regatta! Demonstrating the power and the potential of the club, two of the three boats entered through HOCR’s lottery system will be automatically entered into next year’s regatta based on their 2012 performance.
The women raced Saturday morning in the Women’s Senior Masters 4+ event, led by Pauline Velez in stroke seat. Passing a boat in the second mile of the course between the Weeks and Anderson bridges, the four finished 10th of 28 in an extremely competitive row. Congratulations to Pauline (4), Annie Mudge (3), Lisa Warhuus (2), Frederika Horton (1), and Elizabeth “Biz” Bernal (c) for such a fine showing!
Next up on the water for EBRC was the Men’s Masters 4+ in the early afternoon. Despite erratic winds, a mostly novice crew, and a broken collar on Luke Olona’s oar in stroke seat (which only became worse as the race wore on), the guys passed three boats through the course, finishing 11th out of 22 entries. Gina Gozinsky, coxing Head of the Charles for the first time, has definitely earned her merit badge. No one was as prepared for this course as she was, and it showed. Luke (4), Chris Groves (3), Devin Kelley (2), Charlie Noyes (1) and Gina (c) are thrilled with their results, and are already missing the balmy Cambridge weather.
EBRC’s final entry, the Men’s Master’s 8, followed after the Men’s 4+ in the afternoon as the sun came out and temperatures rose into the mid-70’s. Although they were passed early on by the 1st and 3rd place boats, the men held off all other boats with a clean row to the finish line in 18 minutes 30 seconds. Led by stellar coxswain Cait Hart from Austin, TX, the stroke pair of Paul Norberg (8) and Gil Gazda (7) set the pace at a 30-31 SPM over the 5K course, with rowers Ken Lutz (6), Luke Hunter (5), Steve Clark (4), Paul White (3), Nick Cawthon (2) and Jim Gotch (1) driving strong across the finish line and leaving it all out on the water.
HOCR, 2013, here we come!
EBRC men’s and women’s crews are headed to the 48th Head of the Charles
Regatta in Boston the weekend of October 20th & 21st! EBRC will join an
international field of competitors for the first time at this legendary event, and the
excitement in the boathouse is palpable.
Needless to say, competition for seats in the Men’s 4+, Men’s 8, and Women’s
4+ was fierce, and all of the EBRC athletes put forth their best efforts as the
coaches put them through their paces for weeks worth of erg testing and seat
Congratulations to: Pauline Velez, Annie Mudge, Lisa Warhuus and Fredrika
Horton – Women’s Senior Master 4+ (50+), and to Luke Ohlona, Chris Groves,
Devin Kelly, Charlie Noyes – Men’s Masters 4 (40+), Paul Norberg Gil Gazda,
Luke Hunter, Nick Cawthon, Steve Clark, Paul White, Ken Lutz, and Jim Gotch
– Men’s Masters 8 (40+), for driving hard and making the cut. The entire EBRC
team is incredibly proud of you!
Since its origin in 1965, the Head Of The Charles Regatta has welcomed the
world’s best crews to the banks of the Charles River for the ultimate two-day
rowing competition. The race, named the “Head” of the Charles because of its
distance of 5k/3.2 miles, is the largest 2-day regatta in the world, with nearly
9,000 athletes rowing in over 1,900 boats in 61 events, and attracting roughly
300,000 spectators during regatta weekend. This year the 2012 HOCR will
welcome crews from 28 nations, 37 states, 383 cities, and 705 clubs – a new
The 3.2 mile long course stretches from the start at Boston University’s DeWolfe
Boathouse near the Charles River Basin to the finish just after the Eliot Bridge,
and is renowned for the river’s challenging bends and bridges. Coxswains must
safely steer their crews under 6 bridges with the Weeks and Eliot Bridges falling
at sharp turns in the course, often resulting in collisions and near misses. Good
luck to all the rowers and to women’s team member, Gina Gozinsky, who will
participate in her first Head of the Charles Regatta as coxswain of the men’s 4+.
Watch out for those bridges, Gina!
The remaining Oakland-based members of the EBRC team will gather in the
JLAC boathouse on the 20th to support the racers with an erg test and will stay
to watch the webcast of the race on the big screen! Come down and join us to
show your support as East Bay Rowing Club (and the city of Oakland) makes its
Despite our Cal and WaSU laden teams here at the EBRC, it’s great to see these Oregon Ducks crushing it on the Willamette. They admit that just because they’re not the biggest boat in the race, they’re not going to give up on their teammates and let the boat down. As my own University of Oregon experience was 15 years ago, hopping on a city bus at 5:00am, to go up to a frigid reservoir for practice is still hard core.[youtube height=”305″ width=”520″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c1dgyY4RL2A&feature=youtu.be[/youtube]
This video is a great introduction to how the boat breaks down from stern to bow, where the power, technique and pace come from within the boat. It’s interesting watching the team warm-up, prepare and race at the 2012 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships. The cox-eye view of the race itself pumps me up, really is a great testament to the intensity needed to race, both as a cox and a rower.
Even at our practice, our cox had recorded their instructions to the boat for some small boat races one morning. It was such a testament to their craft, that they’d go back and review a recording of their own barking to see what made sense as instructional advice in the middle of a workout. It reminded me a bit of this documentary, a crew of constant improvement, trying to get better.
As a former duck crewbie, I can be proud of this documentary… but what’s with all the bird chirping?
Great replay of the 158th annual Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race from earlier this year. Each turn in this long, 6.8k race is worth more than a length of a boat. One boat pushes the other to the bank, trying to edge them off the line and open a gap for a push. This looks like a nightmare race to cox. The headwinds are brutal, the whitecaps are present, and the course looks as loopy as a soccer hooligan.
The character of the two boats was really prevelant – Cambridge were expected to be the sprinters out of the block, with Oxford being the longer marathoners trying to hold off as long as possible. And oh, what the drama on the Chiswick Eyot with oars littering the Thames after a controversial interruption.
I love the commentary from the BBC crew, quoting approach of the Surrey Bend, Hammersmith Bridge and Harrod’s Depository. A majority of this race is within a single length of each other, until the incidents begin to occur. The deepest water is the fastest stream. Yes, sensi, for there I will steer.