Coaches can use many techniques to evaluate their rowers– on-water racing, tests on the ergometer, weight-lifting results, max wattage during one-minute sprints, body composition, etc. etc. But this weekend was a first: a sub-max VO2/lactate test, administered by the legendary Dr. Fritz Hagerman, an exercise physiologist who has measured elite rowers since 1965.
This weekend’s test was fairly straightforward: three short pieces on the rowing machine, with the pace predetermined by our 2k personal record. Normally, this would be a comfortably hard effort. The difficulty, however, lay in the measurements.
First, we wore a breathing tube attached to a computerized device to measure our oxygen consumption. And just to ensure we didn’t sneak in any extra air, our nose was also clamped shut. (Lucky for me, I already had a stuffy nose, so breathing through my mouth wasn’t *quite* as annoying as it could’ve been!).
Dr. Hagerman evaluated our O2 consumption during the entire test. He also used a heart rate monitor to keep a minute-by-minute record of our heart rate. And at the end of every piece, he used a blood sample to measure our lactic acid level. It was quite the process!
Between the heart rates, lactic acid, VO2, and rowing speed, Dr. Hagerman should have a fairly comprehensive idea of our fitness. I haven’t seen my results yet (with over fifty rowers and kayakers at the OKC High Performance Center, Dr. Hagerman might be busy for a few days!), but I can’t wait to see what my results show.
In other news, Team USA is still enjoying our stay in Oklahoma City. We ventured out to the National Cowboy Museum, and I really enjoyed the amazing galleries of Western art, cowboy and rodeo exhibits, and the collection of Western film memorabilia. The model village (a model cattle town without model cattle? hmm..) was definitely a team favorite, even if we did end up on the sheriff’s bad side!