Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Day at the Races

So after my slightly morbid post yesterday, I am feeling much better. I had a wonderful regatta today and am now slightly toasty, tired and happy.

Row the Rockies is a HUGE regatta of 3 clubs. (Please note the sarcasm). It is a lot of fun though. The club I'm rowing with this summer, Boulder Community Rowing is a good group of people, fun to be with. The only regattas I've rowed in thus far have been junior regattas. so I was a little oblivious to the whole idea of master rowing and age handicaps. I ended up having 3 races, a double, a women's eight and a women's four.

Chelsea, my doubles partner and I, rowed together the whole of last season after half our (really good) four decided they didn't want to drive 1.5 hours each way to practice (I suppose that's understandable), and so we were down to 2. Since our club doesn't own a pair, double it was. We haven't rowed together since regionals (in a double), and so yesterday we went out again, hoping for the best. I guess it's like riding a bike though, because it went pretty well. We were in the youngest age group, where the average age of our boat was 18, and the other boats in our race were 34,35 and 37. Slight age gap. But we did win the race! Even with the age handicap (basically taking off time based on the difference in ages, I'm not really entirely sure how it works), we were way ahead. One boat in the next age group, women in their 40s, beat us by 7 seconds with the handicap and 2 without, but they gave out medals based on heats, so we walked away with a gold. I feel victorious.

The second race I did, about 3 hours later was a women's eight. According to the lineup I was supposed to be in bow, but seeing how the person who usually rows bow was in 5 seat, and it about 8 inches shorter than I, we logically decided to switch. After some drama at the start (our coxswain doesn't really know how to start a sprint race- get into the block) and evil officials, we ended up in 2nd even though 3 people either had too many or too few oars at the start, and we were still going backwards when they called, I wouldn't say it was too bad. It's been awhile since I've raced a sweep boat, so it was nice to get back in. My last race was a hotseat into a 4, which is always fun. It didn't go quite as well as it could have, I think partly because we were tired, partly because none of us had rowed together before (same in the eight) and partly because the boat was heavily geared towards heavyweight men, so even when we were set, I know my hands were bascially at my chin. And of course there was no way to change it. We came in a pretty close 3rd out of 4 boats, so it wasn't too bad and it was fun.

I love rowing. I just have to say. I love the feeling of lactic acid in my arms, throat and tongue and the desire to cut off my appendages because it hurts so bad. But it feels good. I like the fact that it is an individual and a team sport. If you don't do it well, your boat won't do well, but you're not anything without you're team mates. It's hard for me to fathom that I considered not rowing in college. At most of the schools I looked at, the boathouse was WAY off campus, upwards of 30 minutes one way by car. I wasn't so sure I wanted that. But I don't think I ever truly considered going to a school other than MIT, so I don't know if it really matters. Rowing is a love of mine, I hope a lifelong love. I can't imagine not doing it.

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