Racing in Boston

Feb 22, 2012

If there were an “I Survived the 2012 CRASH-B Sprints” T-shirt, I would be wearing it right now. As it stands, I won a bag of gummy bears.

The CRASH-B Sprints World Indoor Rowing Championship continues to be a world-class event, thanks to a great Board of Directors, countless volunteers, and athletes who travel from near and far to put their 1k (adaptive) and 2k mettle on the line. Experiencing the weekend both in the Concept2 CTS booth and on the floor (as an athlete) gives great appreciation for the organization and support of this unique event.

And what makes a 2k in the Agganis Arena such a unique event? CRASH-Bs is very public. Coaches often keep their team’s 2k times close, as they are indicators of a crew’s strength. Individuals may rank personal bests in the Concept2 Ranking, but only when they feel their best effort is deserving. At Agganis, the good, bad and ugly is out on the floor. Or worse, it is projected onto a large screen!

I had a good race this year at CRASH-Bs, and not only because I won a bet with a co-worker. In many ways, we both “lost:” Harm, from our Germany office, spent a lot of the winter too sick to train for his first 2k. He improved his overall health and fitness but was not prepared to compete. Our friendly bet to meet our time standards ended with a forfeit. I’m still waiting for my authentic German Haribo candy to arrive! I look forward to cheering on Harm next year.

I describe my 2k as good (not great); I finished 1.7 seconds off my “conservative” goal time. As my mom mentioned in email, “One second off doesn’t sound like much, but not reaching your goal has always been frustrating for you.” Understandably, my mom has a lot of experience as a rowing parent: she knows that even if she tells me my time sounds fast, that I’m still going to continue to work towards my goal, however close (or far) away it might be!

I can be as guilty as anyone else at perpetuating the idea that CRASH-Bs are not fun. It is fun in a grueling, tough, exposed way. It is fun when you win, whether it is a hammer, a personal best, or against your own demons. It is also only one 2k, on one day, in one arena. The fun is in the competition as much as it is in catching up with other rowers, cheering on others, and witnessing truly inspirational rows.

My favorite moments?

  • The patience of the guide dogs as anxious adaptive athletes raced 1k.
  • The surprised co-worker who finished his first 2k in an unexpected fast time.
  • The shared excitement at coxing another athlete to a bronze medal.
  • The support of former teammates who recognize that finishing a 2k is tough stuff.

Hopefully you found some motivation from your own indoor season. The river now beckons!

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