24 Hours of Erging 

Photo of a Model B Erg.

The very first time I saw an erg (an indoor rowing machine) was as a freshman in college. It was in early November and I was walking out of the student center at Hofstra University. The crew program, which is a club sport on campus, had two ergs set up outside and they were doing a 24 hour erg-a-thon with athletes each taking one hour shifts.

The sound of an old Model B erg, with its metal cage around the spinning flywheel, it made such a distinctive sound. I wondered what this was all about so I wandered over to their table to check it out. I soon got the classic recruiting pitch of how I’d be perfect for the sport, standing 6’2” and weighing 180 pounds.

In early January I attended my first practice and got to try the erg for the very first time. It was a memorable experience.

Fast forward some 27 years later and I now find that I look forward to the transition between the fall and winter season each year. Taking time over the winter to exercise on the erg is an excellent way to stay active, but it’s also a great opportunity to make improvements in both fitness and technique.

This winter the adults at Sagamore will be exercising at our indoor facility at Hamilton Avenue four days a week. On Saturdays (11/10-2/16) from 8 to 9:30 a.m. I’ll be leading a group workout for our adult club members.

If you are new to using an indoor rowing machine we will certainly go over all of the basics. And, if you are already familiar with the erg, I certainly hope you will find our group workouts both challenging and fun.

What keeps me motivated each winter nowadays is the more active I am over the winter, then the easier it is to transition back onto the water come springtime. Sculling well is a lifelong pursuit.

As I sit down on the erg each winter reminded of that first day, hearing the erg’s flywheel spinning and how a brief chat with a rower convinced me to try something new.

Time on the erg is time well spent. I look forward to seeing you at Hamilton Avenue this winter. Go Sagamore!

By Mike Wagner

Mike began rowing in 1992 during his freshman year at Hofstra University. He learned to scull the following summer at the Sagamore Rowing Association. Mike worked with the Joy of Sculling as the Program Manager for the Coaching Conferences from 2013-2019. He continues to actively scull and coach both at Sagamore and at the Craftsbury Outdoors Center in Vermont.

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