Thursday, January 7, 2010
A Good Day for Rowing
The rain let up today and the temperature was in the mid 50's, so it was time to head for the boat ramp.
The worthy Pete Culler skiff, Paku was the candidate vessel and a very good choice, too. Despite the calm, balmy weather the wind picked up twice (each time in opposing directions and both times, on the bow. How does that happen, exactly?) So the stable, easy going manner of the good little skiff was a relief.
Since Chris Partridge has been talking quite a bit about mirrors for rowers lately, I took with me a mirror that I've used while riding my bicycle. The little mirror fits on the temple of a pair of glasses and presents a very small image, so takes a bit of getting used to. The view is limited, but clear. It's also backward (pun intended). In addition, it blocks a portion of the view forward (which is looking back - you see?). A bit distracting at first. I'm pretty well oriented to interpreting the image, but have only used it a couple times while rowing.
Today was a perfect test. I wore the mirror while rowing for three hours and never turned my head all the way around once, not even while docking. By panning my head back and forth, I could get a good view of both my course and any obstacles.
It's the fear of obstacles that brought up this conversation in the first place. At the least, it's embarrassing to hit something while pulling hard on the oars (you always hear comments like "that's what you get for sitting backwards!").
At the other extreme, I've hit an old barnacle encrusted piling hard enough to crack the shear guard and plank, which woke me up real fast, I'll tell you!
Here's a view of the river I row on. Sometimes those crusty pilings are barely above the surface at high tide and nearly invisible. Not to mention the partially submerged logs that float up after a particularly high tide.
The little mirror worked so well that I was able to shoot under this bridge, without looking forward. Both ways! Maybe you don't think that's such a big deal, but this opening is about 22 feet wide and my oars are 17 feet, grip to grip. The hard part was to trust it was actually working and not turn around, just to be sure.