Thursday 23 February 2012

Tank rowing videos

Some videos James T took of me rowing in the Sekret Tank. Coaching by La Smith.

Look for:

* rocking over before arms straight
* taking the catch with the back

Smith wanted us to think of the "fat boy" exercise, so I think the key part is the core strength. [James T's channel] [WW and me, sans blade] [With blade]

Wednesday 22 February 2012

On rowing under the cold moon

Last night we had the regular Tuesday M1 outing, the irregular thing was that it was cold. Or rather, coooooold. But very still. It had snowed on Saturday night, Sunday was all snowy-beautiful, though overcast; Monday was thaw-y, but Tuesday was back to dry and cold, about -5 perhaps in the evening.
As we got ready to put the boat out some thin ice formed; as we put the boat in it crunched, gently. But that was only by Peterhouse; the rest of the way out of town was clear, and so was the Reach. By the time we came back ice had formed by the boathouses and we slooshed our way through the thin unconsolidated ice, but it is noisy. Back, and the blades didn't just have drops of water frozen on, they had nice sheaths of ice like dipped candles.

But that isn't what this post is about; it is about how it felt, out at the end of the Reach. Going down, the moon was so bright, it seemed like the lights of a boat ahead of us. It was full, and the sky was clear. With snow still on the banks either side they showed up clearly. The world felt very bleak, cold, pitiless. Like, but much more weakly, the images from the sci-fi books where the space-suited figures wander around an alien artefact on the other end of a Gate, where the sun is dead and the atmosphere frozen and only the chill stars shine. Or, more realistically, like a few mountaineering trips where I've had to get up in the middle of the night, or have poked my head out of a bivvi bag, on some snowy plateau, and watched the moon slowly track across the stars. Or Alpine, Texas, by the railway tracks, with the train looming over.

I have to add to get the right effect, that it felt cold down in the bones; I was shivering when we stopped. And it felt scary, at least a little; there was the frisson of if-we-tipped-over-then... not that anyone ever tips an VIII. But the water was very black and still. And the way swans started up from our blades a few times adds a shock.