The countdown began at 900. That’s how many strokes were left to complete the row. In the midst of a workout that leaves you sitting on an ergometer for almost 90 minutes your mind wanders. You focus on the monitor in front you, or the rowing software avatar calmly rowing on a virtual river in perfect conditions on the computer screen close by. You hum along to a tune on the radio or come up with brilliant ideas and obsess over them. But when your brain starts to count strokes, it’s going to be a long haul. Stroke counting is my mechanism for surviving a workout and it kicks in when I start to hurt. Those strokes are incremental goals; only 890 left, 880, and so forth for the next 9 km.

Island Watch 2014


As spring limps its way into town, as if suffering injuries from a street fight with winter, the FRC is preparing for its on-water rowing programs. Last year in early April, the river was open and we were preparing to get on the water. This year the river is frozen, the little island just across from the club concealed by snow.  Staring out from the banks of the St John River, mentally exhausted from rowing on an ergometer in my basement, my mind starts a new countdown—days until the river is ice-free and the rowing season can begin. 30 days, 29 days…



Join us on May 3rd for our spring registration at 1pm at the Small Craft Aquatic Centre when the river will, hopefully, be ice free and ready to row! Experienced programs start on May 5th.