Up before dawn and down at the lake just as the first signs of sunrise were obvious made for a very picturesque if not cold start to the day.
My first race was the novice single. To be honest I was bricking it. I had all sorts of fears but I knew I had to do it, it would be my last chance to be allowed to enter as a novice.
I rowed off to the start – in a boat I haven’t rowed before, getting used to things and quietly minding my own business. When we got to the start there was all sorts of problems, try and get 9 novices to negotiate themselves into the right starting order!?! I very quickly learned how to reverse a single! It’s not easy!
I was in lane 4. Today’s races were all back to the normal masters length – 1000m. Just one or two strokes after we started the race, the course boat marshall told me to stop. Lanes 2 and 3 had crashed, and so had lanes 5 and 6. I was so cross! I know I am still learning and all but that doesn’t halt my competitive streak!
By the time I got going I had no idea where everyone else was or what was happening positions wise. I just focused on me, long and strong, I was flying by the 500m to go mark! Why wasn’t this race 2000m?!!
As far as I was concerned I finished last due to having to avoid all the crashes but the other rowers thought later that I had won. Who knows. I did hear though, that the race commentator remarked on how I had a good long stroke – unusual for a novice, he said.
Oh well, first singles race over at least.
Next up was the novice double. I am the only novice at our club so I rowed a Dunstan Arm boat with one of their novice women. We only spoke briefly before the race. She didn’t want to sit in the stroke seat (at the back, you set the stroke rate) and wasn’t sure if from the bow seat (front) she could turn round and give me navigation calls like she was supposed to. This could be fun! Still, it’s all experience, too.
As we rowed off to the start we noticed a double being towed back to the finish, it’s rowers in the back of the speed boat. How on earth, did they manage to tip a double?! I later discovered they should have been in our race!
More floating around on the start line and reverse paddling (I’m getting quite good at it now!) and eventually the course boat was back and we could start.
I was just focused on us, I think we were at the back in 3rd place but I didn’t care. A new boat and a new team mate – getting to the end was the bonus!
She followed my stroke really well actually, and was able to give some directional calls but I had to help her out and navigate too in the second half of the race.
We got through it, it’s all good fun.
Then as we were rowing back to shore I heard yells and saw Robert running towards me. They wanted me for the next race in our club women’s double. Oh my gosh! I sprinted round to the beach and climbed into the seat that was left for me. But no will in the world was going to get is up there in time. The race was already started way before we got there, we saw them rowing past. So we were told to go out into lane 10 way out in the middle and weren’t even allowed to start with the next heat. We just rowed it home. How angry was I?!
So two (novice) races completed so far and that was all.
They had a planned break for lunch at this stage to allow crews to re-rig 4’s to quads, but in this time the wind that was already whipping up was way too high, and racing was suspended. For half an hour. Then half an hour. Then half an hour.
Eventually they made the call at 2:30pm to call the regatta off and cancel all the other races. Dammit! I still had a mixed double, women’s quad and mixed quad to go, and the quads are my favourite races!
Working smart we had the boats de-rigged and the trailer all stacked and tied inside the hour and away we went.
The weekend still had to finish with the dinner and awards though.
It’s a nice way to end a season for sure and the meal was beautiful, but to my utter disgust – they had ‘lost’ the results off their memory stick, so couldn’t award the medals!
They say they will ‘find them’ and post out medals. Superb!! Grrrr!!
I THINK I’m owed a gold (if we were right about our long distance race) a silver (novice single) and a bronze (novice double) but I’m not too sure.
Guess I will have to wait some more!!
Oh, and the exciting news? We are hosting it next year!