About a month ago, I competed in the Donaubund Sprint Regatta on the Old Danube in the single, the double and the quad. Apart from winning all races, I also suffered a minor sunstroke and got really sunburnt. It was quite windy and overcast in the morning, but the sun came through in afternoon and caught me unprepared, without hat and sunscreen. Unfortunately, Herbert was suffering from really strong allergies, so he didn’t come along to take pictures.
The first race of the day was in the double with Tina. Our start was quite good, but our technique wasn’t very clean because the oarlocks were a little bit too low, especially considering the wind and the waves, so it was at times hard to extract the blades from the water. Even though we weren’t happy with our performance, we definitely raced a lot better than last year and only lost the race by less than a second, to a Slovakian Masters B crew. Since we’re still Masters A, we won our age category.
My race in the single was fantastic, if I may say so. Haha. After the start, I was already in the lead by almost a length and won the race with a lead of around 4 seconds, if I remember correctly. I also had the fastest time of all age classes. Overall, I felt very strong and confident. I was able to keep up the stroke rate while still putting a lot of power on the blades. My strokes were mostly clean and dynamic, and I felt very comfortable in my boat. I did notice though how heavy my oars (really old Concept 2 slicks from 2003, I believe) were in comparison to the ones we use in the double (Croker SL4). Therefore, I ordered new oars for the single right after the race and don’t regret the investment at all. Haha.
My last race of the day was in the quad with Tina, Eva, and another Andrea. Haha. To be frank, the race was good, but nothing to brag about. Our strokes were a bit hectic, but then again, it was a really short race. We were able to win by more than a length, but are hoping to focus on a more powerful stroke and slightly less hectic recovery in upcoming races.
Overall, I was able to gain a lot of self-confidence, especially in the single. One lesson I’ve learned is that in future races, I need to be a bit calmer when I am in the lead after the start and keep my stroke rate from becoming too hectic. For the first time in more than 10 years, I feel like I have a realistic chance of winning races, which is really empowering. Now that I have my new oars, I am also, for the first time, considering competing in the single at the World Rowing Masters’ Regatta in Bled next year. We’ll see…