Unexpected outing in the Masters 8+

I was supposed to go on a business trip, but less than an hour before take-off it was canceled. Luckily I was scheduled to fly from Brno on the Brno-Munich connection, so I wasn’t even heading for the airport when the cancellation went through.

We are racing the eight on Saturday so I had delegated this evening’s session in the eight to a reserve. Now I cancelled the reserve and could row it personally.

Always better than delegating. Especially in that final week before a race when things are supposed to come together.

The training was:

Warming up. Row 1500m at 24pm, pushing hard. Then a series of starts plus 20 strokes.

I had CrewNerd running during the session, but the phone was tacked away behind my footstretcher. There is no place to fix the phone in the eight. That’s OK. I just wanted to record the session. On top of that was my water bottle.

During the first start, my water bottle started wandering towards the rower in front of me in the second stroke. So before the second partice start I tried to press it tightly into the small gap between the footstretcher and the nr 3 position. I must have stopped CrewNerd during that, because I have no stroke data after the first practice start.

Luckily, I had the Garmin Forerunner as a backup, so I could merge the two TCX files and still see the workout data:


The stroke rate and the pace/heart rate plots are misaligned by about 2 minutes. I guess you can get the point.

After the row, our stroke claimed that he stuck to 24spm during the 1500m. Looks more like 27/28 spm to me in the plot. We also struggled quite a lot during this 1500m, so we had some discussions while turning the boat. We have to put more emphasis on finishing strong and clean.

After the 1500m we did the practice “start+20”. The starts were fine and the first 10 strokes were pure bliss. The timing was great. The strokes were hard and the finishes strong. Then after 10 strokes we were supposed to take a bit more length and that’s where things started to fall apart. It seems in the process of taking more length we forget to finish strong.

In the locker room we discussed the 1k tactics. My point being that a 1k race in an eight is a matter of 3 minutes and a few seconds. We should stay rowing in the rhythm of those first strokes after the start. We will row away from our competition. If we try to take length we will just slow down, keep them next to us and then we will have to rely on our final push.

Saturday’s races will be funny. For the fourth time in a row the Masters B eight will be a fight between Piestany (from Slovakia), Neratovice, and us. We have already won three times, always beating Neratovice in the final 200m. I met some of the Piestany rowers at the races last weekend, and they commented that it doesn’t make sense to go to Prague to get beaten by us again. 🙂

I am not so sure.

Another interesting factor is that there are many thunderstorms and heavy rain in South Bohemia. If this continues, we will row on Prague on high water.

Here is a link to the races website: http://www.primatorky.cz/en/about

On the occasion of the jubilee 60th edition of the Prague Mayors Eights, development of Masters rowing in the world inspired Spartak Praha 4 – ČVK officials in 1973 to extend the programme to include a race for those rowers who did not contest in the main competition any more. The founders donated a challenge trophy for the winners: a wooden shield. The race is run over the typical Masters distance of one kilometre. There had been just one category for a number of years, and it takes place on Saturday because the entrants include numerous officials who carry out their duties during the Sunday programme of the Prague Mayors Eights. During the 1990s, the number of categories increased, sometimes up to five. A very remarkable race occurred in 1990 when the Vyšehrad-based Blesk and Smíchov-based Tatra crews introduced several emigrants who had not visited their native country for years with some of them having been banned from returning. The line-up Provazník, Líbal, Pulkrábek, Mrvík, Schmidt, Pojezný, Toček, Čermák – Koníček included Pavel Schmidt, the 1960 Rome Olympic Games double scull winner. Unfortunately, two of these famous rowers, Pavel Schmidt and Jula Toček, are no longer among the living. In 1992, the Masters event was run as an international race for the first time. A year later, the Mayor of the City of Prague donated a perpetual challenge trophy to the Masters Eights.

It’s quite a big event.

This picture shows the main event, the Open 8+, with our club’s crew in the foreground, battling and coming in second place, on typical waves in the final 200m, between concrete banks on the river Vltava: