2021 Masters Nationals-Day 3

Another day with one race on the books, this time scheduled for 1:50pm. After another fog delay, race time was pushed to 3:10.

I had the expectation this boat would medal. It’s a finals only event and has a second GCRA boat, a composite. We had two new rowers joining us but I still anticipated speed. I also had a strong feeling Genesee would be very fast and possibility New Orleans.

We cycled over around 9:30 or so, with races resuming at 9:45. I anticipated being an oar Sherpa, but we didn’t have many boats launching. It turned into a very chill morning watching boats go by. Felt super tired around lunch, but again couldn’t really regatta nap.

Around regatta lunch break a grumble of thunder. Stroke did the Irish rain dance, and the pop up shower stayed away.

You don’t realize how much impact all the ref launches and rowing shells have on the water until it’s lunch break and all boats are off the water.

Lunch break glass

Mixed A 8+

Expect speed.

We borrowed a newer Vespoli from Atomic Rowing. A gorgeous white boat named “Fat Man.” They also have a “Little Boy.” Get it?

While waiting in the shade of the boat bay, a gentlemen from Atomic tells us about how the deer can be radioactive. Whenever you hit a deer, apparently someone comes to inspect the deer and the car. If you ran over it with your tires, they’ll confiscate them. If you drive off the road in certain places, apparently they also confiscate them. Not sure how true it is, but interesting.

Launching is a bit crazy. Just as we carry the boat out of the boathouse, our coxswain is pulled away for something. We self-cox down to the launch dock, but then we have to wait. Can’t launch without a coxswain. Turns out they gave her lightweight bands instead of the proper coxswain bands and the system as the coxes all mixed up between the two GCRA boats.

Another 8+ is holding up the launching and blocking the whole area. It’s a cluster. We move around them but have to stop for the referee to verify all our names on our bracelets. Instead of a 45-minute launch-to-start window, we’re down to 25 minutes.

Row up. Splash some cold water on my arms and neck to fight the heat. Turn right in time. We’re lane 6, the other boat is lane 2. 

Our plan is a starting 5, high 15, and then a shift. 

A polling of the crews. We are last. Square the blades.

The start isn’t efficient. Fast, but inefficient. Not moving us anywhere. I can see straight away we are down, even as we do the high 15. I can only see the stern deck of Lane 5, Nashville. Yellow and blue.

It’s not good.

We shift. It doesn’t feel settled. I still can only partially see and sense Nashville. We are last.

The coxswain says something about getting their deck. Forget their deck, we need a whole boat!

We are down in the 8+. Photo: US Rowing

I know we are in the weeds. I know this is my only race. I have 600 or 700 to go, but I am hauling on my oar with 110%. Screw a Power 10, this is about to be a Power 60. Everything I got. Totally zeroed in, trying to make this boat move forward through sheer force of will.

It doesn’t feel connected. 

500 meters. We’re gained a few seats on Nashville, but it’s not significant. No other boat in my line of sight. We are screwed, screwed, screwed, and I am still full power. 

Finally something clicks. Maybe it’s our coxswain calling about gaining seats and trying to catch a boat. Maybe it’s knowing the end is coming. Thee is subtle change in the boat and I don’t feel like I’m the only one in panic mode trying to make the medal platform. We are slowly sliding away on Nashville.

A red buoy passes. Now our coxswain says up 2, but that’s too late! Still, we go. Every single stroke, really hammering down on that footplate, feeling all the connection, hauling. I’m not losing without a shot.

You hear the timbre of the voice change—we’re making ground. I peek and see a yellow seat deck, but I already know we don’t have enough time or runaway. Doesn’t matter, miracles happen. Still 110, 120%.

But we do run out of time. The 1st and 2nd beeps come well ahead, with us still several red buoys down. Then beep, and beep. 1.1 seconds off away. A sprint too late, a start too slow.

I am not a happy camper about this one. I expected more. I know you can’t win them all, but I still am disappointed.

It’s the orange lipstick. I forgot to wear it again.

After the race

I spent some time stewing. I looked through the stroke coach to see the 100-meter splits. Grabbed some real food from a vendor, not the peanut butter and bananas and protein balls from all day. 

One of the vendors is a sport massage company. I walked over and grabbed a 30-minute sports massage. Best 30 minutes of my day. The woman was a genius. She knew from one touch of my left knee that I have a problem there, and that it’s connected with my hip. Super tight.

Deep tissue massage is so painful. Several times I had to bite my lip and bear it, because as much as it hurts it’s going to feel that much better after. It did, too. My hips and low back kept popping as I walked. My knee was so much looser; I had no idea it was that tight just in general. I want to bottle her up and take her home. I think she gave me a little extra time.

We were supposed to have a practice for my Mixed C 8+ this evening, but as we got sorted a thunderstorm rolled in. The venue shut down for practice.

Back at the hotel, I took my kid’s advice. Ice cream makes everything better.

At dinner, a friend sent pictures by US Rowing of the 8+. They’re actually very good!

Great photo from US Rowing

Tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to be faster than the day before. Three events tomorrow, four potential races.

About camckenna

I write; I row.
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