Piešt’any Open Slovak Rowing Championships – Day 2 Long Read

So I had two beers on Saturday afternoon, but that was followed by a 15 minute leisurely bike ride, so I allowed myself to have one glass of white wine during the summer dinner in the hotel garden.

The wine was quite good so it would have been a shame to not have another glass. My single race was scheduled for 9:30 on Sunday morning and if I would go to bed early everything would be fine.

The waiter brought a third glass by accident (or perhaps on instructions from my local competitors) and I finished it as well.

End result: I didn’t sleep very well. Too much wine, too much good food and too warm in the hotel room.

Between 2am and 6am I was awake, trying to sleep, going over race scenarios over and over. I knew my Czech opponents and I knew I should be able to beat them. It would be a combined Masters B and C race, and I would only have to beat one C guy who I knew was easy to beat, but I really wanted to win the entire race.

I had just two cups of coffee and one slice of bread with ham for breakfast. Then we were off on our bikes to the race course. Did I say it is a quite nice ride along the lake shore? The frogs croaked, the cuckoo tried to lay its egg in someone else’s nest. Then we arrived at the race course.

During the warming up run I inspected the race course. Of course the organizers had put me in lane 1. At the start all lanes had a light tail wind ripple, except lane 1 which was shielded had mirror flat water. Combined with the slower river flow I had a real disadvantage.

First to boat was Lenka, who was to row her Junior B girls final in the single. She was so nervous, she was completely white.

She passed me with 300m to go when I was rowing to the start of my race. She was fighting for 5th place and seemed to win. In the end I heard she came in last. I think she had a great result anyway, qualifying for the finals and losing a real fight. She rowed 25 seconds faster than on Saturday and showed much better form. Also, the first three Junior B girls (15/16 year old) rowed faster than the Junior A girls (17/18).

My singles final followed one of the scenarios rehearsed at night. There were 5 of us at the start. I came out of the start in second position. Three rowers fell behind immediately and I was half a length behind Andrej, one of the two local Masters scullers. I kept the stroke rate at 34 and managed to pass Andrej at the point where my mirror flat water ended and I started to feel the tailwind as well.

At that point there was wake from one of the referee launches, and I managed to pass the wake better than Andrej, which gave me another 10 meters.

I rated down slightly and managed to slowly but steadily pull away.

The three other rowers and the referee launch were somewhere behind us in the distance.

Another set of waves send Andrej struggling and I gained even more.

Rated down to 29.

Now I was in front of the public, the final 250m. Listening to the speaker calling my lane I rowed towards the finish line.

Nice to win with a big margin, for a change. 🙂

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Here’s the Stroke Rate and Pace graph of the “race”. Says it all:
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Not long after I finished, Romana rowed the Women’s 2x race. Three boats at the start and Masters rower Romana, together with a 19 year old girl from our club, won with a boat length. They had to rate 33spm the entire race in order to win:

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Now Lenka was the only rower in our family who didn’t have a medal. Her last chance was the Junior B girls double race in the afternoon.

But first a quick lunch and a winner’s beer:
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Some pictures from Lenka and Laura in the double:

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Romana was waiting for them at the 250m line and I was 50m before the finish. The girls had a good start but after 250m, two boats were clearly in the lead. With 250m to go they were fighting for third place. With 250m to go they managed to pass their opponents and row to third place. However, with 50m to go, they started to show bad form and quickly started to lose ground. In the end, they managed to hold their third place by a bow ball:

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Laura is not smiling as much as she normally does. She threw up after the race and was still having difficulty standing up …

So we drove home with 6 medals … good weekend.

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