Friday, 8 June 2012

Gold Challenge Part IV: Rowing (April-May 2012)

Rowing somewhat relates to swimming as cycling does to running: You don't need to touch the element yourself but multiply your lever on it using technical equipment, and consequently, travel faster over it. However, the human-powered speed record on water has not been achieved by a rowing boat (22.5 km/h over 2000 m for an Eight), but a human-powered hydrofoil, which contacts the water even less (34.3 km/h for a single person -however only over 100m). Anyway, Cambridge is certainly a place linked to rowing, as can be seen by the large number of boat houses from downstream from Jesus Green. It is has also been estimated that one in five Cambridge students gets involved in rowing at some point, and joining a boat club even may offer beginners the opportunity to participate in a race. The next upcoming race would be the "May Bumps", five weeks after deciding to kick off rowing and joining Downing College Boat Club! The river Cam is hardly wide enough even for two boats side-by-side, so the races are generally done in a "Bumps" format. In this rowing race boats are arrayed with equal distance and then start simultaneously. Then, each boat chases the one in front of it in order to touch, or "bump" the boat in front, and tries not to be caught by the boat behind. The training began with rowing machines: Learning the basic moves, and a following a rowing rhythm. Fortunately running helps in finding a rhythm, at least for yourself. The next step was trying the same in a boat on the water: First on moored "tubs", then with sturdy beginner boats, and finally with real Eights. However, the strong rains in late April and May caused a relatively strong current in Cam, which even had burst its banks, all delaying the first rowing in an Eight for the novices. When it cleared away a few days later, and we had put the boat to water, we were moving over the water at impressive speed! Unfortunately not enough men were available to fill a novice boat. Anyway, it was a great experience to get introduced to rowing, and I am looking forward to do some more. Thanks for your help, and good luck at the May Bumps!

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