Erg racing is NOT like a normal rowing race. Besides the “inside” aspect, there’s the main difference of a “shared-machine.”
You race, then I race, and then someone else, and so on…all on the same machine.
With that “shared-machine” perspective facing you on indoor-rowing race-day, there are a few simple actions you should take to limit possible equipment issues.
How To Improve Your Erg Racing On Race Day
- Be a spy: If machines are assigned by the race organizers, determine which machine you’ll be racing on and watch someone race on it. You’re looking and listening for any issues. If it doesn’t look or sound like an erg in top-notch-shape, asked (nicely) to be moved to another machine. (Time – 5 minutes)
- Get the wiggle out: Before you get on the erg, make sure it’s level. It doesn’t happen often, BUT an erg can get off balance. Stand to the side of the cage, and wiggle the machine gently from side to side. A noticeable wiggle can be annoying, and impact your racing. If the machine is off balance, try to level it with a shim of folded paper under one of the legs. If that doesn’t work, ask to row on a different machine. (Time – 30 seconds)
- Clean the handle: Indoor erg racing usually happens about the same time flu/cold season peaks. Bring disinfectant wipes with you and give the handle a good cleaning, then wipe dry. Cuts down on transmission of illness, and can also reduce the gross-out-factor if you follow THAT sweaty person (Time – 1 minute)
- Set Your Drag Factor: Don’t assume that the damper numbers will give you the drag factor you want/need. Set the drag before you start, and if you are warming up on different machine than you are racing on, set the drag factor on the warm up machine also. (Time – 2 minutes) [If you need a refresher, here’s how to set the drag factor.]
- Clean the monorail: Give the monorail a quick wipe with a clean cloth. If dirty, use a squirt of Windex and a few swipes with a green scrub. Then wipe clean. (Time – 1 minute)
- Adjust foot stretcher: Put the feet in the proper place for you. (Time – 30 seconds)
Those very simple actions should take you 10 minutes or less.
You’ve trained hard, don’t race on a machine that is not up for the challenge.
Keep Getting Erg Smarter:
- Viewing Drag Factor – from Concept2
- Indoor rower maintenance – from MaxRigging
- When Good Ergometers Do Bizarre Things – from MaxRigging
- Ergometer Testing for Rowers – Walter Martindale