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1st Sprint Race in a long time

Posted: March 24th, 2019, 10:55 pm
by Cyclist2
I rowed in the Burton Beach Invitational race today. It is an early sprint race, mostly for juniors, but a few masters show up too. It is a race for 1x, 2x, 4x, a few 4-. Mostly coxless boats. It is held on Vashon Island in Puget Sound. It is only accessible by ferry, which is an interesting side story to this for another time. I did some sprints years ago on Occoquan Reservoir, so this was just to get the feel of it back, surely not to win. I had been out during the week refreshing my memory on racing starts and higher stroke rates. Felt fairly good about it all.

My wonderful wife and helper, and I loaded up my Aero (I know; like a Huffy at the Tour de France) on my pickup. We arrived way early so got a good feel for what was going on, plus got a little warm up hike in the neighboring park. I am now rowing in a club so we located the others that were participating, chatted, and went over how we were going to beach launch my boat without getting my wife's feet wet.

When it was time, we did manage to get waterborne with her feet dry, and I was out to the warm up area, paddling around in a big circle, practicing a few start strokes and getting used to the light chop and the dang boat wakes churned up by all the referee and safety boats running back and forth along the course.

The three of us in the masters 1x race got lined up at the 1000 meter line for the 1K race to the finish. We got pretty much in a line, the starter raised his flag, said "it's going to be a quick start", then dropped the flag with "go". That quick. I was also dropped pretty quickly. The 28 year old guy was gone in a flash, and the 56 year old guy was close behind him. I was bringing up the rear (as expected, no disappointment there). The course was not fully buoyed but the follow boat kept us in line. I wasn't pulling quite as hard as I could have in flat conditions, but my strokes were strong. There was no air horn or other indication that we had finished so I rowed well past the two small buoys marking the finish line. I almost rammed one of the guys. One of the others tangled with a floating tree branch just past the finish line. Pretty low key event.

Back on the beach, we extracted the boat (again with her feet staying dry), washed the boat, and got all organized to depart. I checked the results table and was pleasantly surprised that my "old guy" handicap had moved me up to second place. I had 42 seconds, and was beat by 32. The middle guy had 21 and was beat by only 4, so he got first. The first finisher got third, love those handicaps! Then it was another interesting ferry ride back to the mainland. A successful day. Next race is a 13 mile open water deal - finally my Aero might actually be the right boat!