May 10 2016
Day 0 (Friday)
After lunch we drove to Piestany, which took us nearly three hours, mainly because I wanted to try a different route, which was shorter and more scenic. It took us through the beautiful White Carpathian mountains, some very remote small towns, and a place where they were repairing the road and we had to wait about 15 minutes for a red traffic light.
Anyway, we couldn’t go training because even though our boats had arrived, our wing riggers where in a different minivan which would only arrive in the evening. We were staying in a hotel, but our son Dominik wanted to stay with his double partner in a tent. We let them build it themselves, and they managed! Also the girls double was relaxing.
Day 1 (Saturday)
We stayed in a hotel about 2.5km from the race course and bikes were included in the package. So after a nice breakfast we cycled to the race track. There I realized that one of our juniors had asked if he could use my boat for his singles races. (We couldn’t fit more boats on the trailer.) So I had to cycle back to the hotel to get the sliding seat. All well, he tried out the boat and I took a few shots of the pre-race atmosphere.
Our girls 13/14 was warming up for their race when one of the girls had an accident and somehow dislocated her knee. Ouch! She managed to put her knee back herself but was in great pain. While her trainer was comforting her, I speeded to the first aid station to get assistance. The medic looked at it and advised us to take her to the hospital, just to be sure. I got up to the restaurant to get some ice, then I hopped on the bike again, rode back to the hotel, got my car, and the girl, her trainer and I went to visit the local hospital. The doctor there did a thorough investigation and concluded that there was no damage, and that no immediate treatment was necessary, except cooling and some pain relief.
I am thinking of getting a beacon light to put on my car for these missions.
Because of the hospital episode I completely missed my son’s race in the single. He came in fourth place and was very disturbed that he didn’t come third and get a medal, like a year ago. His friend Stepan rowed in a slower heat and fetched a bronze medal with a time of 2:23.
Then our first Masters team got ready to race. In a big fight they managed to get first place in the coxless four. They didn’t know the result until I went to ask at the finish tower and then went to tell them. This is how they looked when I broke the news:
Then we rigged this boat for a quad and in the mean time I saw my daughter finish first in her heat in the girls 15/16 double. It looked really easy. The girls were leading by several lengths and rowing really well. That looked good for the final on Sunday, even though there were at least two equivalent (or perhaps slightly better) boats in the other heat. Also in the mean time, Dominik and Stepan in the double got swamped by a launch wake when they waited for the start. Their boat basically disappeared under a big wave, then reappeared, and then two 10/11 year old boys frantically tried to remove water from their boat. They rowed to a disappointing fourth place which put them in the B final for Sunday.
Time for the Masters quad, which I stroked. Our biggest opponent, a composite with 2 fast rowers from Vienna, had withdrawn. The Vienna guys couldn’t be on the races on Saturday and would only participate in the Sunday events. Our only opponent left was a local quad from Piestany. We did our best not to underestimate them but it was hard.
The weather had changed from windstill to a pretty stiff tailwind.
We didn’t have a good start but by the second full stroke we were leading by a length. After 5 strokes we were leading by two lengths. After that I rated down and we finished the race in 60-70% effort.
Hurray! First medal of the weekend.
This was a tougher one. Our quad was complemented by 2 other guys from our club who had trained less, and two rowers from other clubs. I was rowing bow seat. Still, for a change, I felt quite comfortable in this eight. Technique wise there was nothing to be said. The boat was stable and I was able to pull long strokes.
A year ago we had won this by a bow ball. This year’s race was a repetition of last year’s. Our opponents were the local masters eight from Piestany and a boat from Bratislava.
Our race plan was featured a faster second half, so we weren’t too worried when we were a bit behind Bratislava out of the starting blocks. I was becoming worried when, after 250m, their lead had increased to a length, and by 500m to a length and a half. Piestany was far behind.
Indeed, in the second half of the race we started to decrease the gap but it was not enough. We rated up, and then we rated up some more, but that also made the length disappear from the stroke.
Only an hour after that it was time for the “family double”. I competed in the “Father and offspring” category, rowing with my daughter Lenka. In contrast to what the official results say, this was a 500m sprint. I really wanted to win this, but we would have strong competition from Mr Brazda and his daughter.
Lenka made me wear a pink sun shield and she wore a matching one, so we looked really cool. 🙂
Out of the start, the Brazdas were leading but we battled our way back by stroking high rate, very determined first 10 strokes. The reports from the bank say that we were rowing very well technically, that Lenka and I looked very much in sync. And yes, we managed to increase our gap to a length. By half way everything was really hurting. I was rowing these races “unplugged”. No stroke coach, no crewnerd, no Heart rate belt. I think we were rating 35 or 36 spm but we had to.
I was counting strokes now, hoping Lenka and I could manage another 30 of these … From her breathing I could hear she was in trouble too.
In the final 100m, the Brazda double fell a bit further behind so that made it a little easier. First place, hurray!
Two medals out of three races. One a very easy win, not really a race, but the other a very intense 500m sprint.
Happy but tired, we cycled back to our hotel.