Wake riding and race tactics

Most of the team is going to the “‘Round The Mountain” race this weekend, so it was a pretty light work-out.

5 of us set out from Dan’s dock and headed upstream. There were a *lot* of rowing boats and sculls out on the water at the boat house – a couple of coxed eights, and maybe three fours. We were paddling in a fairly tight bunch, and some of the girls in the boats called out. Maybe we should try to recruit some of the rowers over to the two bladed side – I certainly think we were making wash riding and pushing other boats rear ends out look like more fun that staying in your lane.

We paddled up a mile or so, and then decided to do a half mile interval while we waited for Dan, Steve and Doug. I was right beside Ken when somebody yelled “go”, and I managed to stay beside him for a tenth of a mile or so, and then stay right on his tail for another tenth. By then, Mike was moving up and he got into Ken’s wash, and I got into his, and rode it all the way for the rest of the half mile. I think he was pretty amazed that I managed to keep up with the group the whole way – he hasn’t been to many work outs and doesn’t realize I’m not the charity case I was last year. We headed back while Ken was giving us pointers on wash riding and race tactics, and the three stragglers caught up to us.

We broke into two groups of four, one lead by Ken and one lead by Dan, and did a whole bunch more on wash riding and race tactics. Ken and Dan switched groups so we got both perspectives. As we were finishing up, we paddled in our two tight groups of four riding each other’s washes right through the rowing groups, which didn’t appear to have moved much since our first appearance. But just before we got back to Dan’s dock, I interrupted him talking to somebody to point out that a gigantic boat was approaching fast. Last year, or even earlier this year, I would have been scared – as a matter of fact, last year when the same thing happened, I raced to the dock and got out of the boat as fast as I could so I wouldn’t have to deal with the wake. Call it confidence, call it bravado, but when the group turned around so we could try to ride the Colonial Belle’s wake, I turned with them as well.

The wake threw me around pretty good, but instead of fear, all I was feeling was exhilaration. I whooped and laughed a few times. I didn’t manage to ride it as far as the experts, but it was a fun ride while it lasted.

Afterwards, over beer and brats, Dan was talking about how far we’d come as a team. One of the things he mentioned was how they didn’t have to leave anybody behind – I took that as a direct compliment because last fall, during a lot of the workouts they’d left me to practice something on my own while they went ahead because I was too slow for them. Hurray for me – I don’t suck as much as I used to.