long distance racing

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I'm a 57 year old rower who's thinking about taking on the Blackburn Challenge. This is a 22+ mile open water race around Cape Ann, Massachusetts. I've got the enthusiasm. What I don't have is information. How do you train for something like this? What boats would give you the best chance of finishing in a range of conditions? Do you carbo-load like a marathoner? What should I be asking that I haven't even thought of?

I'd love to hear from anybody with experience in these matters.



-- Lynn Hoffman (drfood@gte.net), March 04, 2002


While you won't find answers to all your questions here, I suggest you check out the web page of the Sound Rowers club. It's at www.soundrowers.org, and it will put you in contact with the members of the group that sponsors a series of long, open water races here in Puget Sound. Some of the race results posted show the brand of the racer's boat, and there is an extensive and growing collection of photos posted on the "notepad".

As for your questions, lots of time on the water under varying conditions adds both improvement in your technique and a base of conditioning and mental discipline. As for fueling, a combination of easily accessible water bottles or a camel-back device seems the preferred way to remain hydrated during a longer race. Prior to the race, I support any excuse for a good meal! After all, the tank needs fuel. More seriously, I don't think there's any different science for fueling a long rowing event as compared to any other endurance event.

-- Steve Wells (steve@evergreenrowing.com), March 04, 2002.

Get enough milage in so your hands are calloused and even then take along some bike gloves, your butt is calloused so you can sit for some hours. On a fixed seat boat a 1/4' ensolite pad helps a lot, and I try to have the seat narrow enough so my coccyx doesn't hit on the layback. Work on forearm stretches if your are useing a fixed seat boat without collars on the oars. I remember my first time, some weeks before it I went rowing for a day to make sure I could pull for 4 hours.

-- Ben Fuller (bagfuller@compuserve.com), March 17, 2002.

Hello...Take a look at www.watertribe.com , I just took part in their Everglade Challenge, A race from Tampa Bay to Key Largo. While most of the boat are sea kayaks and one very fast racing canoe, there are 4 classes of boats and class 4 is open to any boat under 24 ft. in lenght, that can be launched from the high water mark by the crew, sails are also permitted. This year I was sponsored by Chesapeake Light Craft www.clcboats.com , in the Cheasapeake 17 w' the sail rig kit, making this kayak into a very stable and seaworthy sailing trimaran. To make a long story short, the wind died noon of the first day and did not blow for the next 26 hours. I was not in the best of shape for extended paddleing, being more of a sailor, and injured my right shoulder paddleing. I have made the decision to switch to a rowing set up for next year's Challenge, w' sails. I have been looking at the Little River Heritage 18, the Harrison T6, The Virus Plus, and several of the different Guideboats that are availible. If you are into a real personal Challenge, a tough course, and a break from the cold next year, then come and join the Tribe for a great experience. Cheers, Neil...sirzap

-- Neil Elam (sirzap@carolina.rr.com), March 27, 2002.

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