Hi guys thanks for showing an interest. I normally write the day up, to refer back to next year as a ‘blog’ entry. I’ve copied below and tells my day for anyone interested.
With a 9:15 race the day started at 06:00. Didn’t get much sleep (normal on a race night
) as I tossed and turned most of the night going through the pace plan(s) options and checking the clock.
I got the 06:41 train from Purley, after a cereal breakfast and coffee. No issues until I arrived at Stratford underground station. Boy how the development going on there changes things, walked around in circles looking for a landmark to get my bearings on where to go, finally seeing the Olympic stadium in the distance, so turn right and walk. Arrived at the Velodrome around 08:00 and in good time.
Through the security bag check, check in, got changed and dropped my bag off. Knew the drill from previous that I wouldn’t get near the warm up machines yet, so headed off for a walk around the Spectator level to see what C2’s were up there. Scoped 3 out, bumped into various people and exchange some small talk but most people pre-race are sorting themselves out so not too interested in ‘chat’. Went back to the ‘cancer’ stand, made a donation and borrowed their erg for 10 mins to start my warmup. That done, went off and found a quiet place for some stretching. Felt pretty good at this point, not rushed just moving through my pre-race bits in a nice orderly fashion. Headed off to the warm up machines, arrived a bit early before my allotted time but no issues and soon headed off to the machines, to finish up my warm up.
Just as I finished my 2nd 10 minutes, heard race 3 competitors being called and caught a glimpse of Graham Benton checking his little book, for his last minute confidence builder
. Then race 4 (my race) was called for so changed into my racing top. Out into the arena and off to erg 7 in the ‘red’ area (my erg).
So, race time. I’m starting to get use to the nerves now but this time had a bit more apprehension than previously, mainly as I had not been able to find out much about 11 of the ‘opposition’, usually when this happens I can rely on the erg seeding’s to help me out but this year I couldn’t find any so subsequently felt a bit ‘exposed’. Fortunately when I got to my erg I knew who was on ergs 8 and 9 and erg 5 was empty (think that would probably have been Stan Nwaka, as I’d heard he had an injury) so just erg 6 who I didn’t know from adam. I never known how much this pre-race research helps until this year, just something I do and my did’nt it pay dividends later to know Martin Shadler (came 2nd last year) was on erg 8.
Set the erg up and changed the units to Watts
(very important!) and went through my various race plans. I’d twigged a while back that I had options on the day, dependant on how I was feeling/going. The 1st 1k was a given for all plans, out for the 1st 500 at 415 watts then settle on 370-375 watts to 1k. At 1k I’d be around 395 watts av and have a choice. Stay at 370ish and look for 6:27 or I could push on at 400 watts until close to the end and look for a 6:23 finish (around the 60-64 WR) or look for 405 watts for 400 then 420 watts for the next 400 then 430+ to threaten the British Record. Played down the BR this year as realistically this close to 60 (3+months away) I couldn’t see me going 2.5 sec quicker than the 60-64 WR although some of my training session suggested I could! Those were the plans, engraved in my brain, what a waste of brain power, as it turned out!
Heard race 3 in the blue zone get away and waited ‘our’ turn, and waited and waited. It soon became apparent that there was a problem with the red zone race software and we were stood down. I got up and stretched trying to keep loose, looked around saw Navhaz and gave a wave but really trying to keep focus. Watched a bit of race 3 unfold but also started to worry about ‘losing’ my warm up and/or what effect this delay would have on my race plan. If it dragged on should I start a bit slower or not? After numerous tech boffins had skipped around the ergs the system was reset and it looked like we were going to get away. Race 3 had finished and Benton et al were now walking past before we were called under starter’s orders, so I guess our delay had been 10+ minutes.
Back on the erg, ready, attention, ROW and we were away and my brain suddenly screamed, I HAD’NT CHANGED THE UNITS FROM TIME/500 TO WATTS!!!!
So subsequently, I didn’t have a clue what pace I was going at as I hadn’t rowed in time/500 pace for about 2 years. Quickly figured that the reset had set the monitor back to default values, did think about changing the units on the fly but wasn’t sure I was allowed so ditched that idea. I remember finishing my 10 strokes max start and saw a 1:31 somewhere in amongst them, knew my multiple pace plans had gone to rat $hit so slowed to around 1:38 pace to take stock of the situation. Glanced across at erg 6 and saw he had 1:44 on his pm so discounted him, looked across at Martin Schadler on erg 8 and saw he was on 1:38, saw that Martin was leading with myself 2nd 2m behind and a rudimentary plan came into my head.
With my pre-race investigation I knew Martin had done around 6:35 this year so knew he’d be there or thereabouts at the finish so to keep some idea of pace I’d just row with him, which is what I did. So for the next kilometre or so I just kept close to Martin and the lead just flip flopped between us. During this period we were rowing 1:38- 1:39s with the occasional 1:40, I knew I was rowing within myself but with all pace plans out the window I was just looking for the ‘win’ now. At about 1200m I started to sense Martin dropping off so stuck a few 1:36-1:37s together and pulled away from the 1-2m separation we’d been sharing for the race and opened up a 5m or so lead. Kept that there until 300 from home where I put in a ‘token’ sprint and the ‘win’.
Great to get the win and defend the title again, also feels pretty neat to be undefeated at the British Championships through the whole 55-59 Hwt age group. Can’t be disappointed with the time as there were reasons for that, just a tadge annoying that I didn’t get any validation of this year’s training. Maybe do another 2k this week?
After the race, managed to grab hold of Martin this year, as he went AWOL last year and I spent an hour or so waiting for him to turn up for the medal presentations. Really pleased to see Andy Townsend medal this year in third.
So, last race in this age group as I turn 60 in March and become a ‘youngster’. Only regret is not beating Andy Ripley’s British Record for 2k. I like to think I could have had it sometime as I felt there were periods during the last 5 years where I was fit/quick enough and had the form but getting it all together at the same time as a race seemed to escape me. A bugger but if this was easy everyone would be doing it.
Good to catch up with some of the Sub 7 guys and gals, Navhaz, Mrs NavHaz and Graham Benton also good to see Danny Graham back as well. Probably going to have a few bimbles this week and take stock of training, might try something different in training, don’t know what yet but I’ve been doing the same for quite a while without getting the performance I think I can do at 2k so time for a rethink methinks
Scores on the doors
500 1:38.0 (32) 1:37.6
1000 1:38.9 (32] 1:39.4
1500 1:39.0 (32) 1:40.7
2000 1:36.5 (32) 1:40.4