I mean to post this a while ago, but here goes.
At the end of last fall season fall I traded in my Croker S4 Superlights for new Arrow S40s. It was time to replace the collars on my existing oars anyway, and I had talked to Greg Doyle about the anticipated S40 model, which combines a standard-modulus carbon shaft with the Arrow blade. I had used the Arrow S39s (high-modulus) at Red Bull High Stakes, and they were so light that I felt like I was rowing with matchsticks on a windy day, so I wanted to try the heavier model with standard stiffness.
Bottom line: Love ’em!
- Blade grip on the water is outstanding, and much, much better than the S4 Slick blade. The lock on at the catch is so soft and quick that it reminds me of rowing with Dreher macon blades “back in the day,” to the point where I have to double-check to make sure I am not rowing it in. With the Slicks, I would sometimes have the blade start to slip during the middle of the drive in rough conditions or when I was rowing poorly, but the Arrow blades are rock solid. This has made it easier to catch with the speed of the boat, maintain a fully buried blade through the finish, take it out square.
- Blade weight is noticeably heavier, but I like this. In the single, stability out of the water is improved at the cost of 150 grams of weight – which is a tradeoff I’m willing to make. I have a much better sense of a solid platform with squared blades at max extension before the catch. They also create less drama when I clip an object in the water with my blade on the recovery such as a buoy or log.
- Aerodynamics are much better. I row on a long, narrow venue that can sustain pretty high winds before the water starts whitecapping, so I sometimes row in winds that would call for an ergo day on a lake with more fetch. The S4s had a tendency to “lift off” on the recovery when hit by a sufficiently strong quartering head gust. The Arrows are again rock solid – I have not yet had a wind-induced missed catch.
I realize that oar selection is a matter of personal preference. For me, the Arrow S40s are a clear upgrade over the S4 Superlights.
The official descriptions are here: http://www.crokerusa.com/sculling-oars
You can also use this nifty tool from Row2k.com to compare the Arrow and Slick blade shapes: http://www.row2k.com/features/980/row2k-Blade-Comparator/
This is a fascinating study on how the Coriolis effect may impact various sports…I’ve never thought about this before.
In rowing, the study states that it may take up to 7.5% of propulsive force to overcome up to 40m lateral displacement over a 2K race. That is potentially a huge wildcard when you see elite finals being decided by a fraction of a second such as in Rio.
It would be interesting to see if there’s any potential correlation on championship times at high/low latitudes, or for example if rowers who train at relatively high latitudes (NZ? GB?) experience any advantages/disadvantages in steering or compensation when competing at low latitudes or in the opposite hemisphere, and vice versa. It seems like the effect over 2k would be big enough to be able to measure some of these things.
Likely not relevant for CrossFit due to the short distances involved and the rounding of times to the nearest second, but maybe I can blame the Coriolis effect the next time the wallball wobbles and hits me in the face?
Some unsolicited advice on CrossFit Games Open Workout 17.4 from someone with one foot in the rowing community and one foot in the CrossFit community:
The workout (unscaled) is:
- 55 deadlifts
- 55 wallballs
- 55 calorie row
- 55 handstand pushups
I don’t have handstand pushups, so my strategy was to max out on the row for an Rx score.
A lot of people have asked about rowing strategy. Here’s what I’ve been telling them:
- The row is equivalent to about 850 meters, but because you will be doing it with smoked back, smoked lats, and smoked legs, you will not be able to treat it as a straight sprint. It will take you about as long as a standard 1K row.
- In terms of pacing, try to remember the number of calories you did on the last 1 min round of Fight Gone Bad when you were tired – that is about the pace you will be able to maintain. For me, that was in the low 20s, and I finished the 55 cal row this morning in just under 3:00, so that computes.
- For me, I set a light damper (drag factor 105, about 3.5 on the machine I was using) and kept a relatively high stroke rate (32-33 to start, down to ~30 during the middle, and back up at the end). I believe it’s better to keep the wheel spinning for a piece this long, because with tired lats it’s easy to fall into the trap of squishy finishes, which will sap your ability to maintain power at a lower rate. I think once you let the rate drop into the 26 range and are tired, you start going into a death spiral that’s hard to sprint out of.
- Unscientifically, I’d recommend Rx non-rower men shoot for something like 1000-1100 pace, and women 600-700 pace. Again I was a little higher because I knew I was not doing HSPUs – you will have to pace yourself if you expect to do a bunch of HSPUs.
- Goal should probably be to finish the row by 10 minutes if you want to have time for HSPUs.
I see that a previous post on Calories to Pace conversion is getting some hits today – thanks.
This seems like a no-brainer, but they seem to be getting a lot less press than “will the Men’s 8+ qualify for Rio” etc. etc.
U.S. Women’s sweep rowing has built an unprecedented dominance in their sport – arguably the longest world/Olympic championship streak of any sport in history, men or women.
This is an astonishing achievement. Where is the press? Where is the awareness outside of the relatively small rowing community?
While the women’s national teams in other sports fight for equal pay and status, we have the most dominant US national team of any sport, men or women, and it’s hard to find any press coverage of them until this article came along:
As a father of daughters, equal time, equal pay, and equal status are big deals to me. Let’s give them the public awareness and support they deserve as they go to Rio to defend the biggest winning streak of all time.
Saturday June 4 is national learn to row day – many rowing clubs are offering free open houses at which you can try on-water rowing in a safe and supervised environment.
You can look up a club near you that is hosting an event here: Click to see
In North Jersey, I’d recommend the following:
Bergen County Rowing Academy (Overpeck Park North End)
ACRA (Monksville Reservoir)
Maroon Blades (Ridgewood)
Passaic River Rowing Association (North Arlington)
Nereid Boat Club (Rutherford)
Rockland Rowing (Hudson Valley)
CrossFitters – this is your chance to try a new sport that you are used to simulating in the gym. Weather forecast is awesome – try it out!
Today I logged the last workouts for Row’d Royalty 2016 after also doing a 2K race over the weekend. I’m glad the indoor rowing competitions are over for me for 2016 and I can concentrate on core training and CrossFit for the next 45 days or so. Looks like I finished 14th out of 139 entries in the Masters 40-49 “tall” category, which is 4 spots higher than in 2015.
I found the format to be tougher this year in terms of how to fit it into regular programming at CrossFit Ignite, and the competition to be stiffer. I also found the web experience to be significantly worse than last year, to the point where I was unable to upload pictures for some of the workouts while I was traveling – the website interface to submit scores and pictures was really slow and cumbersome. It’s a good competition, but I hope next year they improve the website, and they extend the WOD window so that east coast boxes can program it more easily and generate more participants.
Well it finally happened! A CrossFitter sits atop the world record pyramid for C2 indoor rowing. Congrats to Sam Briggs for breaking the lightweight womens’ record in 1:33.4! I sometimes wonder why we don’t see more CrossFitters duking it out for the short-distance records. I would expect to see a lot more of this as CrossFit athletes are large, strong, fit, and tough, and that counts more than technique for the shorter distances. Any men out there that can flirt with 1:10 for 500m ? This one has stood since 1991 – someone (large 🙂 )should target it.