My first Ultra distance rowing race, completed! When I was talking to my father about a ’17km race tomorrow’ he said ‘that will be a nice bike ride’. Haha, no – ROWING! Yep, it’s a long way to row when a masters race is 1000m!
We started at Cromwell, a beautiful quiet little town in the mountains / Central Otago. We camped the night before, due to a super early 7am start to rig boats and so on. We had three regular masters rowers plus an experienced girl (Nicole) who usually coxes for the the younger senior men’s teams, but is herself a mighty fine rower at just 16. Our cox was novice to this – roped in by her sister in law Julie, sitting front of me in this photo, recently elected our first ever female club president.
As it turns out Nicole (behind me) ended up sighting an calling directions to our novice cox Aly, and between then they got some good communication going. Aly was a little non plussed though that she didn’t have time to eat a snack or two on the way!
We had no agenda other than to get to the finish line unscathed. Just before the race started an announcement was made that the singles and doubles were banned because of rough water down near the finish. Eek!
The course was down the river towards the Clyde Dam and a road ran alongside it towards where Dunstan Arm rowing club and the finish line was. Cars were stopping all along the way at the side of the road and shouting encouragement- we even heard our club name, and saw out boat trailer stop a few times on route to wave!
It was interesting to see the changing scenery, from such a unique point of view, right down there on the water. Cliffs, hidden houses, raw naked countryside.
As we were having a natter on route having ‘found our rhythm’ a young boys crew came past, chanting and call if as they went, looking very focused. I had to laugh at our contrasting race tactics!
It was also the first time for allowing Oct’s to row. That’s an 8’s boat, (usually sweep oar) but each crew member had two sculls. It looked most odd! No wonder they flew past!
I began to feel encouraged when I recognised the bend in the river where the 5km long distance race at the South Island Masters had started last year (it took place here at Dunstan Arm too). From there we could see the Dam and knew we were on the home straight.
The last 2000m has 500m distance markers (because it’s the ‘usual’ race distance for regattas here, seniors race 2000m, masters, 1000m).
We were all super pleased that we got to the end, as a team – we did good, no major mishaps, and Julie managed to persuade Aly that next time she will row it instead! (She’s never rowed before!) We’re holding her to that!
To be honest, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought, but I was tired afterwards and hungry! You can’t stop for a snack in a rowing race, regardless if it’s Ultra or not, you need both hands at all times!
As usual, we compared blisters afterwards! I’ve not got as many as I thought I would!
Onwards an upwards, a complete contrast – sprint distance race next week!