Doing it all the hard way...

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Ergomania Maybe I should learn how to row....

Cellphone pic of the spectacle
My Cyclocross team races for the three months of the Cyclocross season. For the other nine months we meet for a social ride on Sunday mornings. That isn’t to say the ride doesn’t often get competitive, but the thing I love about the Sunday rides is the social aspect. By the end of the cross season I find myself looking forward to the Sunday morning rides.

I asked Hank, one of my teammates, what he was doing in the off season. He replied that he had been doing a lot of indoor rowing. I was somewhat surprised that his emphasis was on rowing. I confided that my weight work twice a week contained four minutes of rowing. I told him how far I rowed in those four minutes and he said I should plan on competing in Ergomania. I asked what in the heck Ergomania was. It is an indoor rowing competition. Who would have thought?

Over the next three weeks I increased my rowing a minute a week. Hank continued to encourage (coerce) me to enter, and after sitting on the fence so long it was starting to get comfortable, I decided to try it.

I showed up at the appointed time and this was indeed a total Dorkfest. I spotted Hottie’s cousin Rick, who is an OCD bike rider and rower. Seeing him there confirmed my suspicion that this was a weird event. He was a rower who narrowly missed making an Olympic team once upon a time, and I’m sure it wouldn’t take much to hear that story one more time….

They had twenty rowing machines hooked up to computers and four projectors to show the “race” in real time. There were thirty plus rowing machines for warming up and cooling down on the opposite side of the room. There were five rows of chairs set up for family and “fans” to watch. You could buy T-shirts, food, and what not.

When my “heat” came up, we started and I quickly settled into a pace I thought was smart. Hank had told me that if I could finish in under seven minutes I would be in the mix for a podium position. The metric that you key off of is your pace for 500 meters. If I could row at 1:45 pace, that would give me a time of seven minutes.

Early on I checked my position in relation to those in my heat and I was disappointed to see I was near the back of the pack. I scanned over to the times (the paces for 500 meters) and I was on track, but a lot of guys were faster than my pace.

I watched my pace and kept to my plan. As the “race” progressed my place improved and I thought that more rowers would fade. I hit 1,000 meters in 3:26 which was right where I wanted to be. I was moving up. With 250 meters to go, I was a close fourth and I was gaining on the leaders. I pushed it and moved into, and finished, third. A Podium for Evo!

Hank, Clint (who won my division), and Davo
After the race I went to cool down on the “other” machines. Rick came over and congratulated me and gave me a sincere compliment. “Good job, if you learned how to row you could easily take ten seconds off your time.” He offered some pointers on technique. I listened and tried it while I was cooling down. It probably would make me faster. I'll try it this next week at the YMCA.

I picked up my ribbon and looked around at the spectacle that was Ergomania. I don’t know if I will ever do this, or anything like this again. But I did it.

I'm looking for a frame..

1 comment:

bikelovejones said...

Indoor rowing sounds even more surreal than roller races.
Perhaps you're onto something: combine the two -- indoor rowing and roller races -- and you've got some weird kind of indoor ironman thing.