So, it seems my rowing/sculling comeback might “stick” this time as I took part in the 2012 Burton Head race today. My first competitive race in over 3 years! It was nice to see a few old friends and good to be involved again. I only took part in the 2nd division (all that means is that it took part in the afternoon). Since my partner in the IM3 2x (intermediate 3 double scull) was also in the morning session (1st division) that meant we didn’t get to go on the water together until the paddle up to the start line. But, that is quite a long paddle, about 4.5km.
It went surprisingly well, the boat seemed well balanced and when we put in a few bursts it moved pretty quick too.
We had quite a long wait up by the start so decided to pull ourselves into the bank and hold on to some long grass. Well, it saved us joining the group of boats that got tangled together a few times!
Our start was pretty good, we were really motoring along at quite a high stroke rate. We actually managed to hold that rate for most of the course, although towards the end I wasn’t quite getting to full slide.
In a head race the crews are set off at timed intervals, in this case 30 seconds apart. The crew that started after us caught us at around the 2000m marker (the course being 3500m in total). They were a much more experienced crew than us and not our direct competition, so I reckon we did well to hold them off for as long as we did. The next crew also caught us, but we ended up in a regatta style side-by-side battle for the last 1500m or so. We managed to hold them off in sprint for the line, so that was good. They were coming past us at one point, but we picked up the boat speed and pushed away from them.
The lactic acid was a bit painful as we crossed the finish line, but worth it. We thought we’d put in a pretty quick time, but as it turned out we came last in our category. All things considered it was still a good race as we moved the boat well and were nicely balanced. There are plenty of things to work on for next time, but there always are!
I couldn’t stand up properly when getting out of the boat, so commitment wise, I’d given all I could.
Hopefully next year (and in the meantime) I’ll have more and more to give.
It’s now just over 9 hours after we finished the course and my legs are still aching, but it’s a “good” ache.