Here’s a couple of videos of Alumni Cup racing at Overpeck on April 5, 2014. These were the earlier races before the wind kicked in and racing was canceled due to crosswind/whitecaps. Too bad as before the rain yesterday the water was great all week.
Dartmouth vs. Columbia Varsity Eights:
Dartmouth vs. Columbia JV Eights:
Holy Cross vs. MIT JV Eights:
Here’s a coxswain’s-eye view of the Overpeck 2K race course for rowing. It is filmed from my single but speeded up to cover the course in about 3 minutes. I tried to steer in the middle of the three lanes. You can see that there are stake boats, buoys every 500m, and a new pair of white stakes on the western shore every 500m as well. The course markings are much improved this year (thanks to Columbia!). The headwind sucks me off course twice (rowing boats get pulled around into the wind due to rotation around their center of mass), and I have to avoid a seagull and some debris, but I try to stay aimed at the middle target. If you are in the westernmost lane (nearest to the buildings), there is a kind of optical illusion that makes you want to steer too close to shore and then have to curve around after the narrow point at the 500m mark, but in reality it is a straight shot to the finish, so don’t get fooled!
Note: If you go above the Route 46 bridge on your warmup, always go through the center arch, and you have to stay far to the eastern shore, well outside the white State of NJ buoys that protect a bald eagle’s nest.
For any readers in the NY/NJ area who want to come see what live rowing is like, there is a collegiate regatta (2,000 meters) on Saturday April 5 at Overpeck County Park, which is just over the George Washington Bridge from NYC. Dartmouth, Columbia, MIT, Holy Cross, and Navy will be racing in eights throughout the day from 9AM to 2PM. Overpeck is a great venue for a run or BBQ and has a great playground for the kids. The publicly-accessible viewing area is along the last 1,000 meters of the racecourse, culminating at the finish line at the north end of the lake. If you are an alum, come out and support your school. If you are a CrossFitter and want to see what the sport looks like on the water, this is the best chance to see it all year.
Directions to Overpeck are here.
I’ve gotten some questions on how to approach the rowing portion of CrossFit Games Open workout 14.4:
14 minute AMRAP:
- Row 60 calories
- 50 Toes to Bar
- 40 Wallballs
- 30 Cleans
- 20 Muscle Ups
Here’s some key points:
This is a long workout. You don’t want to absolutely kill yourself on the row as you will have another 100+ reps to go after that.
60 calories is a weird measurement – you should view it as about 90 strokes / 850 meters.
In order to finish in the 3:00-3:30 range, men should strive to keep a >1200 calorie-per-minute pace and women should strive for >1000. This is of course a generalization – the reality is the rowing piece could take anywhere between 2:15 and 4:00 depending on fitness and technique.
Keep the cadence high – shoot for 30+ strokes per minute. For a workout of this length you do not want to crank the damper up and row strong and slow, despite the temptation. The flywheel will slow down too much in between strokes, and this rowing piece is long enough where you will be firmly in the aerobic energy system. Muscling it will simply shred you for the rest of the workout. I recommend damper between 4 and 6 for most people, keeping consistent pace at a cadence of 30 strokes per minute. Close your eyes, count out 80 strokes, then open them and see what you have left to sprint. That will give you a decent time on the row and will leave you with energy for the rest of the WOD.
As a benchmark, as a masters male I completed the row in 2:16 and logged 180 Rx reps for the WOD (i.e. I made it through the cleans).
I was optimistic today – trying to make spring come by sheer force of will. After all it was 67 degrees!
I went to Overpeck and rigged my boat. I am ready as soon as the ice breaks. Ice? At Overpeck? Has that ever happened? Nobody can remember it ever having frozen over before.
Well, it’s still socked in, but I bet it will break tomorrow with the rain as the water level rises. Then it will freeze again on Thursday night after the wind dies down, and then break for good this weekend. That’s my bet.
Come on Mother Nature, give us a break!
In the meantime, check out this video that was posted by CrossFit Rowing – looks like fun in a an extremely perverse way! Anybody from Canada – what is this type of rowing called? Surely not surfboat, although it’s similar? Iceboat? Polar rescue? Polar suicide? There’s a good idea here though – can coxswains use a paddle in the Head of the Charles?
Desperate Canadians who are sick of the erg!
Today I published an article to the Tabata Times Contributor Network on how to prepare for a 2K indoor rowing race from a CrossFitter’s perspective. Comment here for feedback! Thanks to James Bailey of Q-Power, Mike Stanitski of Ever Green Boat Club, Olympian and Coach Xeno Muller, and Steve Macioci of CrossFit Ignite for contributing, and good luck to all the athletes competing at CRASH-Bs this weekend!
As we get into the heart of indoor rowing season, I wanted to highlight three easy ways to check your own technique on the C2.
1. Pump up the volume! You can’t groove in good technique by doing 500m or 1000m as part of your warmup routine. You need to commit to a couple of days in which your goal is to row 10-15K at a decent pressure that makes you breathe as hard as you would in a long chipper like Murph or the Tough Mudder. You have to get tired enough to learn to relax, and you have to row for long enough for your body to find a natural “groove” and work out some of the inefficiencies in your stroke. I guarantee that if you do this a couple of times, it will benefit your sprint performance significantly through technical improvements alone.
2. Row feet out! Undo the straps, put your feet on top of them, and spend some time rowing that way at about half pressure. If you lose your musculoskeletal connection during the stroke, your feet will pop up. This is the #1 way to work out the major faults in your technique. Feedback is immediate, and you might even end up on the ground! You can do feet-out as a drill during your warmup to check yourself before getting into the meat of the WOD.
3. Buy a cheap full-length mirror! You know – the $5 “expendable” kind that you can stick to your kids’ closet door. Lean it against a wall slightly off center in front of the C2 so you can see your entire stroke. I know CrossFit boxes are anti-mirror, but this is not for posing and flexing – it lets you self-coach your technique as if you had a live video feed, and it is the single best coaching tool there is for indoor rowing. Watch the online videos of the world’s best, then watch yourself in the mirror and make corrections.
Good luck to all CrossFitters, indoor rowers, and on-water rowers who are competing in indoor races this month!
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