First Race of the Year
Our unofficial first race of the season was this past weekend and it was great to reacquaint ourselves with the lactic acid and lung burn that go with racing. No matter how much you prepare for the intensity, that first race always hits you harder than you expect. The Elk Lake Spring Regatta holds a special significance for Dave and I as it was our first race together 8 years ago, and also the day that his daughter was born. We had a point to prove that day in 2004 and we went out and won (thus proving said point…) before he rushed off to the hospital. As an aside… 8 years ago? Seriously!? I’m getting old.
This year we raced the pair and then threw an 8+ together with guys trialing for the 4-. The conditions were terrible on Saturday causing lots of delays, but we managed to fit in the time trial for the pair in the worst conditions I’ve ever raced in. It wasn’t pleasant, but it was good practice as the Olympic course in London typically has a strong crosswind. Unfortunately the delays pushed our pair final to Sunday morning, only a few hours before the 8+ final. The pair final went well; Dave and I had a decent start and eased away from the rest of the field. Wanting to save some energy for the race in the 8+ dulled our middle 1000m a bit and probably made it feel harder than it needed to. Its weird how that happens in racing – as soon as you allow yourself to come off of that razor’s edge of all-out racing and settle into something more ‘comfortable’ it usually becomes a lot harder. Shying away from that full effort and allowing your body to go into conservation mode makes any effort feel undesirable and reluctant.
We won the pair and had 3 hours to try to recover and reset for the 8+. Racing multiple times in a day is common in high school but fairly rare on the international scene… so this was something that I hadn’t done in a while. We rode the bike for a while to clear the legs and then tried to get some food in while resting. It felt like we blinked and we were back on the water warming up in the 8+. The race went well – the guys trialing for the Canadian 8+ shot out and established a solid lead in the first 750m but then we started to inch back at them and got to about a length down as we came into the final 500m where they dropped the hammer a bit and sprinted away to cross the line about 4 seconds ahead of us. Everything considered, I think it was a good result for us, and hopefully a useful race for them.