America's Oldest Rowing Club
Ever Since 1838

Reflections from the Erg and CRASHB Sprints 2013

By Rob English

CrashBRob CRASHB Sprints are like any race; months of preparation for minutes of effort. The camaraderie that is part and parcel of Narragansett Boat Club is exuded in buckets at the CRASHBs as the brotherhood of competitors that spent so many days training together at the Jewish Community Center.

A dozen or so NBC members began training in earnest for the CRASHB Sprints in early December when we came off the water. Dan Gorriaran runs a very thorough and comprehensive training program that like any training program, if you stick to it - it works great! He uses a combination of long steady volume pieces with alternating interval training, coupled with a heavy dose of cross training, which includes everything from weightlifting to body weight resistance training. It is very effective.  

Finally, the day of the event arrived with a significant snowstorm. It started snowing overnight, grew stronger at daybreak and never let up until the end of the day. The weather appeared to have some impact on competitors who planned to drive-in on the day of the event. Following Dan G.’s program, at least three of us set new personal records at the CRASHB, and for me it was my third consecutive CRASHB and personal record. Many youth rowers were participating, but unfortunately the influenza epidemic impacted many of them and challenged their performances. We all trained together and our brotherhood was resolute as the day wore on, starting with the oldest age groups in the morning and progressing through to youth rowers. We all stuck together and cheered each other on each step.

CrashBEric NBC member, Dan Potter, had coxed me at CRASHBs last year and agreed to do it again this year, but the normally one hour drive from Providence to Boston became the snow equivalent of the Lewis and Clark expedition; taking hours to reach the Agganis Arena due to the snow and horrendous travel conditions. Dan unfortunately missed my race, but John Cotter, a NBC supporter and former stroke at the University of Washington, stepped up and coxed me to another personal record. This is more of the cooperative spirit that is NBC.

CrashBRuth John Ryan, coxed by Dan Gorriaran, set a new personal record by three seconds and was seated in the front row of competitors for the first time in his CRASHB career. Ruth Berenson, also coxed by Dan G., walked away with the prized first place Hammer! We all felt the disappointment that each of the youth competitors beset by the flu felt. We consoled our training partners and reminded them that this is only one day, and their fitness to deliver a PR 2k was still there.

The camaraderie of NBC competitors from ages 16 to 65 is unique, and it is what is so endearing about the sport of rowing and NBC for many of us. In what other sport can you find a grandchild cheering for a grandparent, who later is cheering for the grandchild in the exact same event? 

Speaking for myself, and my fellow NBC competitors, yes, we’ll be there again next year and do it all over again because it’s why we are NBC members and it’s what we do.