CRASH-B-ing, or 6 Minutes of Dog-Slobbering Cardiovascular Pain

[caption id="attachment_176" align="alignright" width="300" caption="CRASH-B Women's Open Finals"]CRASH-B Women's Open Finals[/caption]

As a frequent runner along the Charles River, I've meditated for years on the quiet beauty of the boats gliding beside me.  As a CrossFitter, I've been introduced to the pain of strapping into a rowing machine (aka, the erg or ergometer) and setting off for a series of sprints.

All the pain, none of the beauty.  That's what the CRASH-B's provide.  The Charles River All Star Has-Beens (or CRASH-B's) are now billed as the World Indoor Rowing Championships, attracting over 2,000 entrants.  They began in the early 1980's when a few dozen US Olympic and World Team rowers began competing on Concept2 ergometers at Harvard's Newell Boathouse.

[caption id="attachment_181" align="alignleft" width="299" caption="CRASH-B 2009 at Boston University"]CRASH-B 2009 at Boston University[/caption]

For the uninitiated, sitting down on a rower and strapping your feet in is embarrassingly transparent.  From your first pull on the handle,  the machine provides data on current and average power, pace, time and distance.  There's no resting or faking and performance is easily comparable.

This year's CRASH-B's took place on February 21st at Boston University's Agganis Arena with over 2,150 entrants from more than a dozen different countries. Amongst those taking part were legend Thomas Ebert, double Olympic champion in the Danish men's lightweight four, and Tang Bin and Zhang Yangyang from the Chinese women's quadruple sculls, who won China's first ever Olympic rowing gold at the Beijing Olympics.

For a good sense of the competitors and the action at last year's CRASH-B event check this article from Master's Athlete.