I got invited to train with the Baycreek team, but then was told that I needed to take some private lessons with their coach first. That was fine with me, because I really need to improve my stoke and hopefully stop hurting my elbows. So last night was the first session. Coach Dan and I worked on getting good torso rotation, keeping my upper hand up at eye level, and getting a good glide on each stroke. During the course of the lesson, we paddled 4 miles.
After the lesson, the team showed up and I paddled with them and Dan’s young son Tom for their warm-up. Of course they’re all in Epic V10 surf-skis, except Tom who was in a KayakPro Jet, another nice racing boat. And the warm up was to paddle up to the same bridge we’d made it to in the lesson. Then Tom and I paddled back together. Towards the end, Tom was getting solicitous – I’m not sure if he was worried that I wasn’t going to make it, but he offered to let me ride in his wake, and assured me that when we got back he’d help me put my boat on my rack.
That part of the canal has a boat-house for rowing shells and sculls. Evidently they’ve got a lot of money for their programs, because there were a lot of boats out, most with an accompanying motor boat with a coach on board. There were a lot of coxed eights, some obvious high school teams but some with a mix of adults obviously from some night class “learn to row” thing. My boss was on one of them, and he seemed very surprised when he waved to me. One thing I thought was interesting is that the coxes now have microphones and loud speakers instead of hand megaphones. One of the kayakers I was with joked that was so they could have longer boats.
After the paddle, Dan cooked up hotdogs and hamburgers and a couple of the team members brought out coolers full of beer. We chatted about lots of stuff, but mostly how the US doesn’t have a good paddling program like Canada does, and how there is obviously a lot of money going into rowing development here and too bad we don’t have that sort of money in paddling. I observed that rich people go to expensive prep schools that have rowing teams, so that’s what they’re likely to sponsor rather than paddling.
Anyway, it was hard work, interesting, and fun. I can’t wait to see if it helps my time at Wednesday’s time trial.