Primatorky 2017 – Masters Eight race report

 


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Saturday, June 3. 7pm.

Four boats at the start of the first race of the Masters 8+ program of this most prestigious of Czech eights races.

Watch this video to get the atmosphere:

104. Primátorky – pátek 2. června

A jaký byl první den 104. Primátorek? Podívejte se na video ze včerejšího úvodního závodního dne, který byl ve znamení závodů handicapovaných veslařů, žákovských kategorií a Univerzitních osem. Program pokračuje dnes rozjížďkami a finálové klání vypukne už zítra, v neděli 4. června! Přijďte zafandit na náplavku Rašínova nábřeží, nebo sledujte ČT sport či si nalaďte Český rozhlas – Radiožurnál !

Posted by Primátorky on Saturday, June 3, 2017

And two random pictures to show where we race, in the middle of Prague:

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But first, let me go back a year. In this post, I describe how we missed the start call of the race because we couldn’t hear it through the loud engine noise of a big boat next to us, how we came in second place, immediately filed a protest and got a re-row, which we didn’t row in the end.

Regular readers of this blog will know that this year’s preparation wasn’t ideal. Only in this week did we manage to get in two trainings in an almost complete crew. So we considered ourselves outsiders. This was even the spirit of our pre-race briefing. We gathered around the boat and talked about rowing clean and not going out of the start like madmen. The race lasts for three minutes and in the final 400m, past the railway bridge, there will be ugly water, and you need to have some energy left to row clean and not lose too much speed in the waves. Don’t wake up the carps sleeping on the bottom of the river! That wasn’t our motto for the race

This year, we would just enjoy the races. Romana and I left Brno at 12:30, arrived in Prague a bit over two hours later, and it was so hot that the smartest thing to do was get a big glass of lemonade and retire to the couch in the back of the CVK Praha club house. I also downloaded this race’s official App and filled out my race predictions. I liked that, a cool new innovation. You basically predict the winner of each and every race, and you get 4 points if “your” crew wins, and one point if they become second. I had no chance of winning of course, because I had missed predicting all of Friday’s racing and half of Saturday’s. But it is still fun, and the scores are updated live. Betting with virtual money.

After that, I slept for an hour and a half, on that couch in the back of the CVK Praha club house. Then I got up, and we did the warming up with the rest of the crew.

So, at 7pm, we lined up at the start. To the left of us, Blesk. To the right of us a Blesk/CVK Praha combination in lane 3 and Pardubice in lane 4. Blesk were looking very confident.

Our start wasn’t as clean as some practice starts had been, and I think I was off a fraction of a second in the first three strokes, but then we caught on and got going.

After the start, the plan was to do 15 strokes at high rate, after which we would lengthen and settle for race pace. I listened to the cox counting the fifteen strokes and I focused on the stroke’s blade and the back of the guy in front of me.

After the fifteen strokes, I dared a quick look out of the boat, and I immediately saw all boats more than a length behind us. Wow!

So now we all focused on lengthening and we succeeded to do so. In fact, we found a lovely rhythm and we kept rowing away from all the others. By the time we arrived at the railway bridge, we had a length of light between the boats. There were two instances where we raced through motorboat wakes but we managed to do that pretty well.

Under the railway bridge, Ludek shouts: “One minute to go!”. He always shouts something there.

Even in the very choppy water we kept our distance to the other crews. Blesk started a final sprint. I slammed my blade into a wave twice, but we managed to stay together.

Crossed the line.

First. I think the carps were still sleeping.

Waited for the others to cross the line. Shouted three cheers for our opponents.

Rowed to the medals dock.

Got our medals.

Rowed back to the Rower’s Island.

Took a group picture.

Shower.

A beer. Some food.

Two hour drive home. Which we filled talking about this 3 minute long race.

bokeh plot (84)

And the results:

primatorky1

 

I also include the results of the other race. The boat that was trying to draft me came in second place:

primatorky2

 

So we were by far the fastest crew of all Masters 8+, 14 boats if I also count the G and H race, who were of course a bit slower than the younger crews.

All in all a very nice race!

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