Sunday: Masters Racing in Piestany

Three races for me this Sunday. First, a mixed quad sprint (500m) at 9:35. Followed by what I considered to be the main event, the Masters C single, over 1000m, at 10:50. And finally the Masters C double at 13:50.

Masters Mix 4x-

I didn’t know about my start in the mixed quad until Saturday morning. It turns out the local team had been training this discipline, and had written up names of participants from other clubs to create some opponents. So on Saturday morning I discovered my name in the regatta program and my quad partners. Luckily we had a quad on our trailer. I rowed with Michal (the trainer of the boys), my wife Romana, and Michaela from the rowing club in Uherske Hradiste. We were up against the local team from Piestany and a mixed quad from Uherske Hradiste.

I am afraid we messed up the start a bit. We had done some pretty good practice starts during the warming up for the race, but we were not aligned when the referee announced (in Slovak) that he would start the race from the launch and that he would start immediately. As the stroke rower, I still had my blades flat on the water when the starter said “Attention”, and we definitely missed half a stroke.

Half a stroke is quite a lot on a 500m sprint on a fast flowing river. As was proven about 1 minute and 20 seconds later, when we crossed the finish line half a stroke behind the winning Piestany.

I had tried hard. The stroke rate had been in the high 30s for the entire minute and a bit, and my legs were exploding, but it wasn’t enough.

Masters C/D 1x

On to the main event. The Masters singles races were divided in two finals, one with the younger “A” and “B” rowers, and one with three “C” rowers and one “D” rower. In principle, I should win this race.

A few minutes before I wanted to launch, I was fiddling with my SpeedCoach and the single, when it started to rain. I turned around the single in the slings and reached our tent just in time before it started to rain really hard. I saw some of my competitors rowing to the start in the heavy rain. I checked the sky and decided to wait until the rain had completely stopped. It shortened the time before the start a bit, but there was still some reserve, and I figured it was better to arrive at the start line dry and not with a boat filled with water.

For me, the race was an experiment. With the power meter in the boat, I was torn between just rowing my usual race and trying to adhere to a certain power number and trying to flat pace. I guess the end result was a hybrid, but it was interesting.

The “ideal” pace was to row somewhere between 320W and 340W average on the SpeedCoach, 32spm, and try to ignore the other rowers.

I was second out of the start, with the guy from Bratislava a length ahead.

It is very hard for rowers to ignore other rowers in such a race situation. There is nothing better than being the first out of the start and to look at the competitors.

Still, I decided to go to slightly above sustainable pace (350W) but not much higher. So I ended up rowing about 400m behind this Bratislava guy, and then I finally started to move. Looking at the pace values in hindsight, I didn’t really speed up, but he was slowing down. During the race, I could also see that from the Power value, and I must say it was quite a nice feeling to hold 320W and see that I gained on him with every stroke. The passing took about 15 to 20 strokes. Then I was ahead of him and I decided to continue at 32-33spm and trying to hold 320W.

bokeh plot (62)


myimage (32)


You can see from the power plot that I actually reduced the Power a bit after I had passed the competitor. I think it proves that going out too fast is a bad tactic.



That was a fast 1000m! Actually, it equals my erg PB. With a big help from the river Vah of course. Third win in a row for me in this race. I will do some detailed analysis in another blog post.

Masters C 2x

I spent the time between the singles race and the start of the doubles organizing a doubles partner. Originally, I was scheduled to row with the Boys trainer Michal, but his boys had a lot of starts around the 2x event, so he preferred to not row it. Finally, I found a guy from the Breclav rowing club wanting to row with me. I went around telling the main competitors so they wouldn’t be surprised and all was fine.

We took one of our club 2x boats, and I was surprised how low it was rigged.

Our main competitors were the double of Marko Milodanovic and Andreas Kral. Marko had won his singles race in a time 8 seconds faster than I. Kral and my partner Antonin were equally fast with 3:31. But of course Marko and Andreas train together regularly.

We rowed next to them for the first 500m. Then we got hit by a big wake, and the Austrians did a better job of rowing through it. In the final 200m we were trying to fight off Bratislava who were taking over. In the end they got us by 0.5 seconds.

After that it was time to help the coaches with their teams and to start preparing the trailer for the trip home. Around 3pm the “packing panic” started, which was worse than normal, because we were traveling with a lot of newby kids who didn’t know the drill, so boats arrived at the trailer in the wrong order, which created a traffic chaos, because the trailer parking was also the main through road from the race venue to the town.

I was glad when I could wave the trailer goodbye and get to my bike. We cycled back to our hotel. Romana and I took an hour of sauna and steam bath, and then we had a nice dinner. Monday would be a holiday, so we didn’t have to travel home immediately after the races.

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