A Remote-Controlled Coxswain

Way back in 2006, I was asked to coach at Craftsbury. Two adaptive scullers would be at the camp for a week and that was when I first met James and Linda Mumford.

They both were born with Usher’s syndrome, a condition characterized by partial or total hearing loss and vision loss that worsens over time. Linda is totally blind and James is partially blind and deaf, but they both have cochlear implants to give them limited hearing.

In 2006 I helped coached James and Linda in a double on Great Hosmer Pond. I would follow them in a launch for each session.

The following year in 2007 I received word that James and Linda would be returning for another week at Craftsbury, but this year they wanted to scull in singles. I worked together with Linda for the week. This year I ended up coaching from my single while wearing a mic and a transmitter so Linda would be able to hear me. At the end of the week Linda raced in her single in the Head of the Hosmer race. I stayed a few lengths ahead to provide steering advice, but Linda covered the course in the single.

This morning I was reading Row2k and came across this article: “Remote Coxswain leads to success for blind rowers in Sarasota“. James and Linda have been experimenting with sculling a double and a single with a remote controlled rudder system designed by Bob Berry. Take a moment to read the article to learn more.

I have the fondest memories of coaching Linda and James at Craftsbury. It comes as no surprise that they continue to be trail blazers in using technology to continue their adventures on the water!

Erging in the New Year!

Concept2 is running a new monthly challenge for January 2020 called January Revolutions Challenge. There are a few different options to choose from, but the goal I am going after is to: “The Big Stretch: Row, ski or ride every day in January”. So I need to row at least 500m a day for it to count!

This goal is great because it will motivate me to use my erg at home when I am not training at the rowing club. Sometimes a simple goal can help spark my interest and I am looking forward to seeing how the month progress. So far, it’s Friday, 1/3 and I have erged each day so far, including a erg session this morning before work which was great.

Looking further ahead, later this month and the beginning of next month there are two local erg races coming up:

The erg races are always a nice challenge and are a way to gauge how the winter is progressing.

In order to better prepare for the erg races, I am going to begin to post my weekly workouts again. Last winter I did this from November through March. It’s helpful for me to be able to follow a written plan and I enjoy figuring out how to structure the workouts for each week.

Week of 12/30/2019:

Monday, 12/30 OFF

Tuesday , 12/31 OFF

Wednesday, 1/1/2020 Happy New Year!

  • Warm-up:
    • 12’ Erg (6’ @ SR18, 6’ @ SR20)
    • 5’ Dynamic Stretching
  • Workout: 2 x 8000m / 2 min easy
    • Row two 8000 meter pieces. Row for two minutes at light pressure between each piece.
    • Do the 8000 meter pieces at Cat VI pace.
    • Cat VI pace is determined by comparing your 20′ average pace per 500-meters and your target pace is then 18-23 seconds slower per 500-meters
    • Pre-set the monitor for time intervals of 8000 meter work time, 2’ rest time.
  • Cooldown/Stretching:
    • 8’ Erg @ SR: 18-20 (First 4’ @ SR20, then 4’@ SR18)
    • 10’ Stretching

Thursday, 1/2

  • Warm-up:
    • 15’ Erg (6’ @ SR18, 5’ @ SR20, 4’ @ SR22)
    • 5’ Dynamic Stretching
  • Workout: 3 x 5’ @ SR26 / 3’ easy
    • Row three 5 minute pieces. Row for three minutes at light pressure between each piece.
    • Do the 5’ pieces at Cat IV pace @ SR26.
    • Cat IV pace is determined by comparing your 20′ average pace per 500-meters and your target pace is then 2 seconds per 500-meters slower.
    • Pre-set the monitor for distance intervals of 5’ work time, 3’ rest time.
  • Cooldown/Stretching:
    • 18’ Erg (6’ @ SR22, 6’ @ SR20, and 6’ @ SR18)
    • 10’ Stretching

Friday, 1/3 OFF

Saturday, 1/4

  • Warm-up:
    • 8’ Erg (4’ @ SR18, 4’ @ SR20)
    • 5’ Dynamic Stretching
  • Workout: 5 x 3000m / 3 min easy
    • Row five 3000 meter pieces. Row for three minutes at light pressure between each piece.
    • Do the 3000 meter pieces at Cat VI pace.
    • Cat VI pace is determined by comparing your 20′ average pace per 500-meters and your target pace is then 18-23 seconds slower per 500-meters
    • Pre-set the monitor for time intervals of 3000 meter work time, 3’ rest time.
  • Cooldown/Stretching:
    • 5’ Erg @ SR18
    • 10’ Stretching

Sunday, 1/5

  • Warm-up:
    • 5’ Erg @ (2’ @ SR18, 2’ @ SR20, and 1’ @ SR22)
    • 5’ Dynamic Stretching
  • Workout: 3 x 24′ with rate changes every 4′: 22-24-22-24-26-24 / 3′ easy
    • Row three 24′ pieces at a sustainable intensity, varying your stroke rate in each piece as follows:
      • 4′ @ SR22 / CatVI pace,
      • 4′ @ SR24 / CatV pace,
      • 4′ @ SR22 / CatVI pace,
      • 4′ @ SR24 / CatV pace,
      • 4′ @ SR26 / CatV pace,
      • and 4′ @ SR24 / CatV pace.
    • Row for three minutes at light pressure between each piece.
    • Do the 24’ pieces at Cat VI-Cat V pace. Increase the pressure as the stroke rate increases.
    • Cat VI pace is determined by comparing your 20′ average pace per 500-meters and your target pace is then 18-23 seconds slower per 500-meters
    • Cat V pace is determined by comparing your 20′ average pace per 500-meters and your target pace is then  8-12 seconds slower per 500-meters.
    • Pre-set the monitor for single distance of 24’ work time, 3’ rest time.
  • Cooldown/Stretching:
    • 4’ Erg @ SR18
    • 5’ Stretching

Proposed Programs for 2020

So I recently took some time and typed up a proposal for 2020 adult programs at Sagamore Rowing in Oyster Bay, NY. Check out the proposal online.

This is how the process of teaching a rowing class can begin, with a proposal. It takes time to consider the dates, the descriptions, and even the budget.

This past year Sagamore Rowing began offering monthly adult classes over the summer months. The classes were held once per week, but overall were well received.

Over the winter the club is offering a coached session for adults on Saturdays which continues to be very popular.

I’ll see if the 2020 proposal is well received also. This is the first step. Next, if the classes are approved, the club will work on recruiting students and promoting the programs.

So, the waiting game becomes not knowing whether I will be hired to teach a program. But in many ways the goal of submitting proposals is to encourage the club to continue to offer programs for adults.

I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to teach an intermediate sculling program this past July and August. We will see what happens over the year ahead!