Aug 22 2017
The weather had changed from calm to windy. A nasty crosswind.
My first race was the Masters mix 2x with Romana. We weren’t sure what to expect, but we agreed that we would row it as a test race to Bled. Row our own race.
We launched early to get a few practice starts in and to get used to the chop and the crosswind. Then it was time for our start. The locals from Trebon to our right side looked dangerous, and we were also nervous for the trainer from Lodni Sporty, the other club in Brno, who rowed with her son who was over on vacation from Norway. He looks big. Also, I am convinced that the fastest mix Masters combinations are young guys with a “average age compensating” lady. That was it. Just three boats in the C category.
Aligning boats in a strong crosswind is not an easy task. We moved all the way to the stroke side buoys, hoping that the aligning would be fast enough to prevent us from moving over to the other side of the lane and having to row the first race strokes in the buoys. We managed that, but the last boat to be aligned was ours, so Romana was busy paddling, and the boat was not set, when the starter called “GO”.
We were second out of the start. Trebon was in front by a meter. Lodni Sporty were falling behind fast. Bye bye guy from Norway.
But with a 500m race, not leading out of the start, you’ve got a problem.
Tried to solve the problem by just keeping the stroke rate high. No settle, just furious 37/38spm strokes in the chop. “Row our own race” plan went out of the window.
I think we narrowed the gap to 30 cm, but we couldn’t quite close it. Then the gap opened again, as my legs started to hurt. I was definitely not rested after Saturday’s four races. So we were second. And we were disappointed. During the paddle home I had to explain why I needed to do four races on Saturday. The “Row our own race to prepare for Bled” argument was not deemed valid any more.
We all have our ways to deal with disappointment. It was OK.
I spent an hour in our team van to write up the blog post about Saturday’s races, and then I moved over to where my brother in law Tomas had his boat trailer. I explained to him that we would probably finish last in the Men’s Open 2x race, because I was really tired. We agreed to still row the race “to prepare for Bled” and do it in a leisurely 30spm.
So around 2pm we warmed up and rowed to the start.
Six boats. All young guys … and us in lane 3. The wind was very strong in the first 500m of the race course, because at this point the lake is not shielded by the spa park trees any more. The plan was to just row and survive the first 500, then find good rhythm and row the entire 2k at 30spm.
Attention – GO. Off we went. I did the full power start and first 15 strokes thing, but the five other boats were gone by the time we were finished with that. Ok, too bad, but we wanted to row our own race anyway.
The first 500m were a struggle, but not as bad as I expected, and we managed to find a good rhythm sooner than the 500m mark.
Somewhere around the 500m mark the boat on lane 1 was reappearing in my peripheral vision. I just kept going in 30/31 spm and at this slow stroke rates I felt pretty good.
We passed that boat, and to my surprise we were now in closing distance to the boat in lane 6. “Wow, all these guys go out like crazy and then settle to a really slow middle 1k,” I thought.
We passed the double in lane 6, and to let Tomas know that I was fine, I called “catch the next one”.
By now we had 1k to go. The regular Masters distance, and we were going gently enough to not be scared by that at all. And the first three boats were not so far ahead of us.
Unfortunately, these three boats started to row away from us. We just kept going. Lane 6 was passed by lane 1 as well, and started to fall behind.
Crossing the 500m line, the lane 1 boat did a visible shift in stroke rate. In fact, in that final 500m they managed to get back a lot of the distance Tomas and I had put between them and us. In the end it boiled down to a final sprint towards the finish line. I was really tired by then, but we managed and we finished just ahead of them.
What a great race. It’s a pity that the 2k is not the Masters distance.
About 10 seconds after that, I became extremely disappointed, seeing the dreaded word “STOP” in the middle bar of my SpeedCoach. Oh no!
I had reset the SpeedCoach at the end of our warming up row, planning to switch it to “READY” by the time we would start aligning at the start. But of course, with the cross wind and all, I forgot. This was the second time that happened this weekend.
There was a glimpse of hope when I noticed that Tomas had switched on his SpeedCoach GPS. So after the race I took it to the computer and tried to download the data. This is when I found out that Tomas doesn’t have DataPack installed. So then I wanted to use the Recall function and take photos of the screen, but the memory was full with older data. Why can’t the bloody thing just remember the most recent 100 splits, instead of filling up the memory and then just not recording any more!