Portland Fall Classic

Sunday was the 2nd annual Portland Fall Classic. Last year was the first for this race, and this year the organizers took it up a notch and got a lot more attendance. There were about 175 boats racing in three flights, and as a bonus we got a strong east wind– a direct headwind for most of the course. The challenge for Lewis & Clark at this regatta is that while our boathouse is only a short row from the start (1.5k), the return trip from the finish line is more then 8k in plenty of chop and wakes.

Our women’s 8 for this race is best defined by potential– four freshman, three sophomores, and a junior. This boat has developed a ton throughout the fall and I think most importantly learned a lot about the level of work required to compete in college varsity crews. Props go especially to a novice athlete who was tapped to fill in after one of our athletes had to miss the weekend for a family event; she did a great job.

Our women’s four had a very solid row and took first in their event; I think the headwind was actually a good thing for this crew as it let them focus on the lower rate, long and connected rowing we’ve been doing through the fall.

The men’s four pounded down the course and just missed out on a win. As it was, the challenge for them was then the spin and row back since. . .

Two of the guys had to jump into the Novice 8. We had oringially planned to double just our varsity freshman who was new to sweep this year. As it turned out, one of our novice men fell ill saturday night with a high fever and we had to put in a 2nd-year rower. As such, the novice men’s 8 rowed exhabition but still powered through and put down the fastest time of the day. Big props go to the two chaps who doubled up; that’s roughly 32k of rowing on a Sunday.

The two novice women’s 8’s were boated up as roughly even boats for the long row and both represented well, finishing 2nd and 4th out of six boats. This even boating goes a long way to helping them work together as a team and bringing all the athletes along for the spring.

All told it was a great race and one which bodes well for the future of high quality head races in Portland. The course itself showed off the city to great advantage, starting behind Ross Island and then racing down through downtown under the bridges. There are excellent spectator vantage points throughout. We’re hoping the regatta holds onto this date because it makes for a very good complement to the Charlie Brown.

The fall season for us this year was a ‘tour of the Wilammette’. . . first in Salem, then Corvallis, and finally on our stomping grounds both upstream and downstream from our dock.

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