The South Island Masters is held in high regard by the rowing community. It’s A big meet, and Clyde plus nearby Alexandra are both booked out by rowers.
Today there was just one set of races, the 5000m race. That’s a long way to row, and 5 times longer than the usual 1000m masters race distance. This photo is taken from outside Dunstan Arm rowing club, near the finish line. lake Dunstan is actually a flooded river valley created by the Clyde Dam, which is just around the corner to the right of that photo.
The race starts up the lake, meaning its a 5000m row up to the start, before you race the 5000m back again. That felt like a mighty long way when we were rowing up there, and very cold out of the sunshine, where the water is shaded by the mountains. There were distance markers every 500m from 2000m to the finish on withe bank of the lake.
After a mellee and hold up at the start (one of the 8’s in the first set of races forgot to tighten the screws on their rigging, oops!)
We were in the women’s race, 9 boats in all I think, four in our age bracket. W were in a lane 5. We planned to make a fast start, then settle into a rhythm. This went well, but it was very quickly apparent that boats 4, just ahead, and 3, just a half boat length behind, would be the ones that would be testing us. Here is where the race was at. Lynn, behind me in no 1 seat was a race taskmaster, very experienced and very competitive. She wasn’t going to allow no 3 to get past us. We lifted the rate, so did they, it was neck and neck. We had to work very hard to keeps half boat length ahead, and they kept trying to push us out of our lane over towards the shore. Very soon we were at the 2000m to go marker, those last 3000m seemed to flash past, while we were fending off the opposition!
We stood our ground and held fast and hard, staying ahead all the way to the 1000m to go mark. At this point we managed to break them, getting over a boat length ahead. Our attention turned to the one just ahead. We were gaining on them too. They were a Riverton crew, and two of our crew are ex Riverton, we had a score to settle.
We were coming up to the 500m marker. Lynn called for an all out push. W gave it everything. W were still gaining, did we have enough water left? It’s really hard to tell from inside the boat. The hooters went, barely a tenth of a second in it between the two boats, but who was in front? We still aren’t sure. We THINK we got it just on the line, but we will have to wait and see tomorrow evening at the results dinner.
Well, one thing we know, we were either first, second or third!
Onwards and upwards, tomorrow is the real day. I think I have 5-6 races or so, including my very first novice singles race.
Eeek! Wish me luck!