The sun is actually shining in a clear blue sky. It is still a chilly 51° according to my Google homepage. Just having a bright day raises my spirits. Hopefully things will warm up a bit this afternoon and I can resume work on getting the fire hydrant fixed up. I’m also cleaning up the latest bricks to haul out to the brick swap this weekend.
This entry is to chronicle the regatta from this past Saturday. I’ll document brick stories later!
Saturday October 17, 2009 broke as a gray, damp drizzily rain kind of day. What conditions to drive to
We did not have to be on site till noon to rig up the sweep. We had enough leeway time to allow us to stop at a Waffle House. Since I already had home fries, bacon and egg for breakfast; I just had a regular Waffle. It was so good, and the coffee was so hot I did not want to leave!
Back on I-65 we drove to exit 328 and took rt 36 to
We easily found the regatta site. The weather was definitely not cooperating. The wind picked up, gray clouds seemed to hover ever lower, and the dampness permeated into my bones. A positive point was the rain had stopped. I was thinking; “What the Hell am I doing here? I should be home where it is nice and warm. Instead I’m going to tempt fate with the
We found where the Alabama Crew boys were set up along the river bank. Some sweeps passed by. Seeing those rowers battling the elements brought everything back into perspective. As a team we have all been in training for this event. I think of how many hours I have spent on the Concept II rowers at the Y for this 5K head race. There is no way I’m going to let the weather deprive me of the chance to make that work and sweat pay off.
The more I learn of my teammates, I realize how unique each member is. It takes a certain type of person to have the dedication and drive to attempt this sport. A tee shirt I once saw pretty well summed it up. “Rowing, if it were easy they would have called it baseball”
Enough people were there to where we were able to get the boat pretty much rigged up by the time Jason and Alison got back from lunch. There are adjustments that need to done by the coaches. The number seven seat was the only rigger that had to be changed. Everything held from the last race.
I went with Alison, Jason, and Robin to view the course and see the updated from the “official’s station”. We were told how the course had been shortened to 4,500K because of the dangerous conditions at the start. For whatever reason I was suddenly hungry. There was a concession tent run by the Huntsville Rowing Club which had warm (I can’t say Hot!) Chic-fill-a sandwiches. That should hit the spot and give me some extra energy. Usually I enjoy anything that has a fried greasy crust to it. My nervous energy was such I could not taste anything. But, that sandwich did fill me up.
We stayed warm in Will's car till race time. I looked like a street person when it came time to strip down for the race. My socks were heavy wool hunting socks, maroon spandex tights topped off by my black spandex rowing shorts. A long sleeved thermal undershirt, a Pendleton wool shirt with the collar turned up and top button fastened, a dark grey tee shirt over that, and to top it all off: a gray do-rag. Since I was in the bow seat, I had the boat number “88” pinned to my back. As a team we obsessed about having a uniform to tie us all together. In these conditions, we just wanted to keep our core temperatures up. How the kids can survive in their sleeveless spandex is beyond me!
My stomach was in knots as we shoved off the dock. When we left the shelter of the docking area and entered onto the
We did rotations and drills to the start of the course. We were rowing against the current so we had to row easy so to save our strength for the race. The starting area was a mess. Now I understand why the course was shortened. This is an open area that under today’s conditions is a mess of currents. The
This is where the adrenaline kicked in. Will was in stroke seat. He rowed collegiate back in the 1990’s and was the only truly “experienced” rower on the crew. The water is so choppy I petrified of “catching a crab”. Robin called out strokes and counts to urge us on.
Rowing a head race is so different from sprints. You need to ration out your energy so you are not dead at the last part of the race. The bulk of the course was in the channel between
We were in the last 500 meters here. We had made the course without catching any crabs, and all went pretty well. I was paranoid at this point of catching a crab: right at the bitter end and spoiling everything for the team. I dug in and gave it all I had. I was never so relieved to hear an air horn as I was to hear that blast which signaled we had made the end of the course.
Almost at the finish line....
Rowing on the feather....Robin (cox) Will, Steve, Laurie, Dana, Ted, Rachel, Trish, and Jamie in bow with the 88 boat number on his back.
Docking and getting the sweep back to the stretchers was all done in a blur. We had competed against three other boats. As long as we were not last was all I was hoping for.
I was getting into dry clothes at my truck when I heard a “Whoop”, and cheering. I ran to the sweep to learn we had taken first place! It was a definite win… even with taking away our handicap.
What a feeling of elation and accomplishment! We are going to have to train even harder now for the next regatta in a few weeks. The other masters teams are going to be out to kick out butts!!
What a team! Thanks to Dana's hubby Henry for the pictures!!!