Conditions were pretty nice at Mercer this morning.
After an insistent headwind yesterday, conditions on Thursday morning were nearly perfect, but we talked to the Basin-friendly Riverside duo about how to deal with conditions, prefacing the inquiry that on a day like today, it is a bit of a goof question. Nonetheless, the number of great scullers and small boat rowers who have trained in the Charles River basin, or bobbed around on high school coach wakes on the Schuylkill, or rowed around the clam bed at NYAC, or wound through the low tide beaches in Durham NH, or plowed out into the chop on Karapiro, is legion.
"I would say it is decidedly not a goof question," said Riverside's Chris Lambert-Rogers. "We didn't race yesterday, but when we come out on a day like today when it is absolute glass, we feel like we have an advantage. We spend a lot of time in the Charles River basin where unless it is whitecapping and there are swamping boats, we are doing pieces eight across in singles. The work we've done in that sort of weather really gives you a sense of how to move with the boat in a sensitive way that carries over into flat water, and you feel like you can find some extra speed.
"We definitely have learned how to get connected in, well, shit water," added Brendan Harrington. "Last summer when Gevvie was in the Olympics she said that training in the basin helped her in those conditions, and that has been really inspiring. We got out there and we feel like the water can be terrible, but this will make a difference when we compete. When we were preparing this week, we said that if the conditions were bad, bring it on, because we know how to do it."
"After I got back from Worlds last year where the weather in Rotterdam was absolutely terrible, I would go down to the single in the basin last fall, and whereas I used to turn around and go back upriver, my teammates and I would forge ahead, and even if it was a frustrating practice, we would leave the basin an hour later feeling like we made some real progress in that kind of water, and ultimately as rowers."
"We do try to get off the water by seven am, though," Lambert-Rogers added. "The river gets a little crazy around then."
To paraphrase Sartre (in today's second mention of a philosopher on row2k), bad conditions is other people, it seems.