Black Ops

This is a story with three parts.  The first part is Thursday last week when I met up with Lincoln after the men’s team finished practice and left the boathouse.  We were joined by four recent alums.  We took down the Veniant, our men’s varsity boat, de-rigged, and loaded it on the trailer.  Then Lincoln and I drove four hours north to Everett, said goodbye to the Veniant, loaded up the trailer with a new hull, and drove back to Portland.

The second part is Friday afternoon.  The men’s team had no idea we’d bought them a new boat, something we’d managed to keep under wraps entirely.  It’s a great day in a coaches life to watch the guys react to the call- “Gentleman, go get your new boat off the trailer”.  The men promptly rigged the boat up and took it out to meet the Rose City Rowing Club varsity men’s 8+ for some race pieces.

Third part was today, Wednesday.  The women have the morning off and I took advantage to go watch the men take their second row in the new hull.  Appropriately we were again scheduled to scrimmage the Rose City Rowing men’s varsity crew; the guys did 16 one minute pieces against a pretty dang quick junior men’s 8+ that’s getting ready to race in San Diego in two weeks time.

These race pieces have become something of an institution for us.  Some years they’re faster, some years we’re faster.  This year the two boats are fantastically well matched.  They’re a little bigger, a little more polished.  Our guys are smaller, wiry, and very aggressive.  It makes for fantastic racing and even in the early morning darkness is great fun to watch.

So far the hull has been in the Willamette twice, and all it’s done is line up and throw down with a fast crew one lane over.  A very fitting introduction to the Pioneer Men’s Crew.  The guys are really excited with the new hull and I’m looking forward to see where they take it this year.


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