As I train for this expedition, I'm employing several methods to make sure I’m up for the task of six days of solid rowing with some of the best rowers in the world. Taking lots of passenger cruises help, and I like to incorporate some running and light weight-training. Setting out for a day of rowing at a moderate pace helps with the endurance, but one of my favorite training rituals is the “wind fight”. The wind fight involves rowing against a strong wind in a situation where you can’t really slow down or take a break. It’s a hard workout combined with the inability to quit. On top of this, you have the balancing act of rowing into the wind without getting blown too far to one side or the other. Add the right music (I like Metallica) and you’ve got a great workout. Some reading this may think my wind fight approach is unorthodox, or just downright nuts…but it works.
In my twenties, I was a cycling fanatic. My favorite workout was a long, steep hill climb. My friend Steve Ruby and I would clip in, gear down, and climb one of the more ridiculous hills in Palos Verdes, California. We were in amazing shape back then. The fact is, I didn’t see the similarity between the wind fight and the hill climb until I started writing this post.
Tonight I had a good two-hour wind fight against the strong west-northwest winds that are typical in Newport Harbor this time of year. Rowing aggressively against the wind on the back of an 11 meter gondola with Metallica blasting tends to turn some heads. Fishermen on the docks and folks cruising around in their Duffys had some interesting expressions on their faces, but the wind was strong and the music was inspiring. It was a great workout.I wonder if the Venetians like Metallica.