Lots of wind, bone-chilling cold, and not a whole lot of practice all added up to two interesting regattas these past few weeks. Here's what happened at the Percy Priest Sprints March 26th and at the race at Baylor a few days ago, plus a few interesting practices that led up to them....
Winter training finally came to an end, and it was finally time to trade in ergs and painful land workouts for on-water rowing and boats that actually moved - not just stationary machines! But even though the practices on the water have been far more pleasant, I really do feel that my progress has been backtracked since we have a lot of new rowers on the women's squad that joined in winter but have never truly rowed before, so Coach had to teach them, and those of us that have rowed before, had to wait instead of progress. This made it a lot harder for us when race day came around! â
oars weren't on fully, as we started tilting port-side and fell in. It felt like in went in slow-motion too! I knew what was going on and tried so hard to avoid it, but in the end, we went for a swim in a nasty creek and we were wet all throughout practice! â
Percy Priest Sprints
I like to get to my regattas early when I can so I can help out and don't miss anything, and even with our GPS ditching us in the middle of nowhere, I still managed to get there before most of the team. So when Coach arrived, I helped him out with a few things, like setting up the team tents and the snack tables. Then, when everyone else got there, we unloaded the boats from the trailer! â
We got our boats ready, and just hung out for a while, waiting for the eight to launch. That day I had 3 races on my schedule, with the eight being first, then the quad, with the doubles being my last race of the day! Up until then, I'd only ever rowed one race a day, so this was going to be something new for me! â
But as much as I loved having fun with my teammates, we were there to race, so that's what we were going to do!
After warming up - which I regret doing in crocs! - we carried the eight over to the docks and got ready to suffer! I mean...race :) â
It was my first time racing in a 2K, but having done 5Ks in the past, I thought that I knew what to expect. Spoiler alert: I didn't! â
We rowed over to the starting line and aside from some choppy water and strong wind, it all went well. When we actually got there, that's a different story. While we waited for our event, the wind and currents would push us towards the lanes next to us, onto the racecourse, so Allie and I, being the only two experienced rowers in the boat, would have to get us out of there ASAP! Then we had to deal with finding the other boats in our race to make sure we wouldn't be left behind, and as if that wasn't enough, races were delayed so much that we spent about 2 hours out on the cold, windy water, freezing! Not to mention some of us had to use the bathroom...
Just look at us in that picture below, completely unaware of what's to happen having pushed off the dock only seconds ago, heading off into the horizon where both air and water are set out to get us!
Then came the racing part of our race, where, after reaching the so-called "alignment" - I'm not sure why they call in "alignment". They should just call it "close enough", because that's basically what it is - we sprinted off! We dealt with everything from icy backsplash, winds that wished for our demise, waves that tried to flood our boat, broken equipment, and of course, the fact that rowing itself is exhausting, and, if you do it right and actually push, quite painful. â
We ended in last, which honestly I wasn't surprised about...Allie and I were the only rowers with racing experience in that boat and we haven't been able to actually practice, so it was hard on us too!
Oh! And did I mentioned that we got soaked?! I left my sweater at the bottom of the boat to race, and by the time that we were done, it was completely drenched! But before I could put on something dry, we gathered around Coach to discuss what had happened on the water...
And afterwards, I put on a nice warm sweater and went to rest while I waited for my next race! What do you think of my hair...stylish right?
The weather got worse as the day went on, so the double races were cancled, meaning that all that was left for me was the quad! When the time came, we got warmed up and prepared to set out!
Here we all are, getting in...
...and now setting out!
This time the race started basically as soon as we got up to the starting line, so we didn't have to wait two hours like we had before! But we hadn't all been aligned when we were told to start, so all got out of our lanes and the referee had to call all the boats back...then we started.
Again, we finished in last place, but I don't think that we lost by that much this time...maybe a minute? It's still a lot but our eight was left WAY behind :)
And getting out of the water, while we were on the dock, a huge gust of wind nearly lifted our boat up in the air, so we were definitely glad to not have flipped ourselves :)
On April 9th we had our second race of the season, which was more of a "glorified practice", as Coach said, and not an official race, but aside from cold weather, we had fun!
The trailers were unloaded pretty quickly and before I knew it, everything was set and it was nearing the time for our double races, so we went to warm up. We ran a bit and looked at the river while we waited for some people to use the bathroom, and then ran back when we were told that racing was postponed.
When we'd gotten to the school it was rather chilly, but we thought that it would warm up soon. Eventually it did get a bit warmer, but before it did it got colder and at one point during the morning, snow actually started falling!
So while we waited we hang out a bit, tried to stay warm, and after a while it was announced that, like at the Percy Priest Sprints, the double races were cancelled, but the quad race was ready to launch! Both doubles were in the quad, so it was perfect!
We grabbed our boat and carried it over to the docks...
...down the ramp...
...and got everything set up. Then...
...we waited. Turns out that some of us had the wrong oars, so they had to go back to the trailer to get new ones.
But they came back soon and we were finally ready to set out for our race! And this time, being, as I stated, a practice/race and not an official race, my Mami managed to get a ride on one of the launches and photograph the race!
The ride up to the starting line was pretty leisure, and the area surrounding the river is scenic and green, but unfortunately my hat covered most of the face then, so I couldn't see anything!
And when we got to the starting line, we lined up...
The team in the yellow boat left us behind early in the race, but for a while we were beating the other boat until it was neck-and-neck, but then they passes us and beat us by about 3 strokes :( It was still a good race, especially considering how bad the weather was, and we did a lot better than at Percy Priest!
And after the race, we were exhausted! But it felt nice to see that we'd kept up with the other boats better than last time, even without ANY practice in that quad after the previous race!
Then we had to row back to the docks, through some choppy water - waves rolled over the boat and left our pants soaked! - and through the small opening under the creek's bridge.
After docking we put our boat away...
...and went to Coach for a post-race meeting!
After which we had about 10 minutes before I was told that the eight was going out, so we warmed up, but after carrying the boat to the dock ramp, we were told to turn around and the weather was so bad that the race had to be canceled!
About half an hour later we loaded the trailer back up and all started to head home!