C.R.A.S.H. B’s

David Dee went to the B’s!

And here’s what he has to report about it:

I am a single sculler transplanted from California six years ago. I joined BRASS  this year and am happily participating in the winter erging program  expertly conducted by coach Tanya. I had heard about the CRASH B in California. My wife and I had a free weekend in February when it was being held so I paid the $35 sign up fee and we booked a hotel and dinner reservation for a winter getaway in Boston.

I found out that CRASH B stands for Charles River Association of Sculling Has-Beens. It has been held in Boston since the 1980s, sponsored by the erg maker Concept2. Now there are similar events held all over the country. This year the Boston event was held at Boston University’s indoor track. Everyone races 2000  meters on new Concept2 ergs wired to a central computer. There were two rows of 30 ergs each. The first row is generally for women, the second for men. Competitors are grouped by age.

My race was for lightweight 50 year olds and up, there were about 60 of us segmented in 5 year age intervals. Three of us were in the 70 to 75 age segment. The race is started like a racing sprint (“attention set go”)  but monitored by computer. In my race there was a false start detected by the computer before the first stroke was completed. We had to restart. The monitors on each erg not only tell your rate and distance completed but also the distances of the first three in your age segment. I could see myself falling steadily behind the two others rowing beside me. The first of us three finished at 7:15 (1:49 split), but I was pleased with my 8:12. After I finished I got to watch as Dottie, a 95-plus year old lightweight woman, finish her 2000 meters to much applause.

The first race of the day was the Para Rowing event for persons with visual, physical and mental disabilities. For me the  high point of the day was watching these men and women with extreme disabilities give it their all. Their efforts were wildly applauded by all spectators. It was heart warming.

It was a great experience, but I think I’m over it, doubt if I’ll do it again. By the way the overall winner of the men’s category did the 2000 meters in 5:59, that’s an average split of 1:29.