Saturday – Bled Masters Worlds B1x

For Friday’s fantastic C 1x race, I wasn’t nervous at all. Saturday morning 9:00 was the scheduled time for my B1x race. Between 2am and 6am I didn’t sleep much. I was constantly replaying Friday’s race. I guess it was a consequence of being so close to winning. 

As usual in such situations, I dozed away just before the alarm clock rang. I did a quick breakfast in the hotel, already dressed in race gear, and then cycled to our car. This ride through and around Bled is a perfect warming up. There are a few short climbs, and it has the right duration. Romana rode with me and helped me, so the pre race routine was efficient and calm. I checked my heel straps. I was hydrated. I just felt tired. 

Romana snapped a pre-race picture and I rowed up the very beautiful Bled lake. The usual two loops and I arrived just in time for the start. I wasn’t nervous. At this point, I have enough race experience to be calm and focused. But I was tired. I had the feeling that everybody around me was going to be faster than I. Their practice starts and short pieces at race pace looked all really fast.

The weather was colder, and a bit calmer than on Friday. The cross wind was virtually absent. Ideal conditions. 

Attention/go. When I checked, about 10 strokes later, I was somewhere in the middle of the field, with the Dutch guy sticking his bow out a bit further. I shortened the high power phase and tried to rate down to a sustainable pace. 

Half way, passing the island with the church, was somewhere in the middle of the pack. And that was really the last time I checked. I was in lane 1 and some of the fast guys were over on the far lanes, so I just focused on my rowing and my SpeedCoach. The SpeedCoach was not telling me good news. I was having trouble keeping the power over 300W and Work per Stroke was way under the 600J value that is my target. 

As I neared the 250m to go mark I could hear Romana. She was standing on a little balcony-like pontoon right next to lane 1. As you near the finish, the lake suddenly becomes very narrow, and in lane 1 you almost have the feeling that you are going to hit the bank. The little pontoon there is an ideal point to see the rowers from very close and cheer for them in the final 250 meters. I also heard a woman shout “Hop hop hop” and I assumed that was for a competitor. 

I focused on a point far behind my stern and just tried to squeeze out my remaining energy, pulling good strokes. I finished fourth, or so I thought. Rowing back to the rowing center, Natasha Kral took this great picture:


Natasha Kral, the wife of Andreas Kral, a friend from the rowing scene in Vienna, has many great pictures of Czech and Austrian rowers on her Facebook page. By the way, my club CVK Brno were the first in the Czech Republic to have the club name on our long sleeved race shirts. Now many clubs are doing it.

At the rowing center, I performed the hardest part of the race, carrying the boat back to the rack. When I returned for my blades, I met Romana who told me I was second, which I didn’t believe. Apparently, I had raced a fantastic race catching up and passing two guys in the final stretch. I was completely unaware of that, but that is maybe better. Here are the official results which confirm my wife’s assessment:

Result MB1x

The Dutch guy had rowed a controlled race, but I had beaten the rest of the field. My time was worse than on Friday, but seeing my name on second place immediately made me feel better about the effort.

Here is a comparison between the two races in the single:

It was raining and I was cold. Romana and I rode back to the hotel. There was no more racing for us on Saturday, so we rested, then went to Bled for a coffee and a Kremšnita. Then we spent some time in the boat area getting the single and two pairs ready for transport. I also picked up a Roseman single belonging to a German guy, for taking it to Brno for a repair. 

Got a message from Quiske that they finally had their experimental virtual reality system ready, so I had to try it out. Kristina took a few pics of me trying out the future.

I shall be honest. I don’t see the benefit over streaming the images to a normal big screen or external monitor. We rowers are used to taking quick glances. It is nice to see the metrics in front of you but I feel the Virtual Reality glasses cause eye fatigue, are unpleasant when you are sweaty, and currently need too much pre row fiddling with. Streaming the metrics from your rowing app to a big screen does make a lot of sense, though. 

The weather got slightly better, so we went to the grandstand to watch some racing. 

Zuzka’s water bottle rolled into the lake and her trying to recapture it was an entertaining intermezzo between the races:

She succeeded eventually. No risk of a water bottle causing a racing crew to crab, and the beautiful Bled lake was spared of plastic waste.

Around 4pm, I had finally digested the kremšnita so we headed to Grajska Plaža,  a restaurant with a lake view, for an excellent late lunch.

Wr ended the day on the promenade, but this time Romana and I went to bed really early. With the mixed double race and the drive home, Sunday would be a long and tough day. 

Just because I just discovered them, I am adding two photos by Natasha Kral, taken back in May at the Piestany races. I won the single there.

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