Congrats to USA Women, and my “call” for tomorrow’s finals

Congrats to the USA Women’s Eight for their gold and to Canada for a valiant sprint.  Props to CrossFitter Erin Cafaro in the bow seat.  Rumor has it that NBC’s primetime leadoff in the US will be the women’s eight gold medal race!

Congrats to the NZL Men’s double sculls for the most incredible sprint I have ever seen…literally from last place to gold medal in the last 500.  I clocked them at 45 spm with 250 to go, about 9 strokes higher than the Italians.  I stand in awe of the fitness required to do that, and how a small country can find these superhumans consistently year after year.

So here’s my “call” for the upcoming finals:

  • M1x:  Drysdale (NZL), Synek (CZE), Campbell (GBR).  If there’s a big headwind Karonen (SWE) could nip out Campbell.
  • M4-:  Australia, Great Britain, USA.
  • W1X:  Crow (AUS), Knapova (CZE), Karsten (BLR).  Have to root for the 40-year old!
  • M2-:  NZL of course, with everyone else left to sort it out amongst themselves Smile
  • Kim Crow (AUS):  Will she medal in both the single and the double?  That would be amazing!

Anyone have something different in mind?

To take the pressure off, check out this video of the Kiwi House in London from Rowing Related.  Did Eric Murray know in advance that Bradley Wiggins would start a muttonchops trend in London?  Is Storm Uru even a real name?

The Kiwis always know how to have fun with it, even when gold is on the line.

 

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So Crossfitters always ask me where to set the Concept2 damper…

I always get asked this, even by rowers.  I think for many the Concept2 damper setting is a mystery, and they feel like the heavier the better, just like throwing an extra 45# bumper on the bar or doing the Rx weight instead of scaling.  My response is usually “it doesn’t matter – just set it where you feel comfortable, it won’t be easier or harder necessarily, it will just feel different.”  Same advice as for learning to lift:  Focus on technique first, then fitness/mobility, THEN add the weight.  And I’ve only met a handful of people, even long-time rowers, who could tell you how to figure out the drag factor and calibrate between different machines.

At the risk of dating myself, I remember in college when there was no damper per se, but you had to physically change the gears with your hands.  Then there was the Model B with-ring and without-ring (I still have one in my basement and still think it feels more accurate than the C/D/E and has a far more comfortable seat).  I remember when we standardized on a drag factor of 180 (small-gear, closed vents) for heavyweight men, which is much heavier than you can ever get on a Model D or E today.

So I stumbled upon this post by Erin Cafaro on the Crossfit Endurance site while looking for an archived post by Brian MacKenzie.  I think it’s the clearest explanation I’ve ever heard, and relating it to bike gearing is brilliant, something that most people can understand, and ironically is rooted in the earliest C2 which was a bike wheel and speedometer with wind vanes that used to fly off when you really got it cooking.

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My only question is, does this mean that East Coast rowers have more cred because they do their testing in heavy, dirty, dense, humid air at sea level 🙂