It’s taken me two days since the Farnborough Indoor Rowing Championships weekend has finished to write a blog entry about the weekend. It’s been a long and tiring weekend, but a successful weekend all around.
The 5k venue race:
The Farnborough weekend started at 6pm on Friday evening when Ian and Jen arrived from their long journey south (via Nottingham) with the ergs. After carrying 12 ergs about 75m from the van then up 2 flights of stairs to the gym we decided we were tired and hungry and would leave the set up to Saturday morning.
Saturday we were in the gym at 8.30am to get the ergs put together, the screen and projector set up, and all the other bits ready. With the first race due to be off at 10.30am we weren’t panicking at all when there was no sign of the technical team at 10am, honest… Ant and Ian downloaded the race software just in case, but Dougie and Konrad arrived to save the day, and the first race got off right on time at 10.30am. Sorting the results out during the day was made a little more difficult with having mixed racing categories and the odd person not making weight. I think we got the right prizes to the right people in the end. In the end we had 60 entries, 59 starters, and 57 finishers.
Some of the others involved in the 100k’s on Sunday were going to take it slightly easier in their 5k’s. I was hoping to be able to save a little bit and perhaps still win my heat, but I knew the competition would be strong. I got off to a good start and by pulling 1:41’s and 1:42’s got out to an 11m lead at one point during the middle of the race. I perhaps got a bit complacent here thinking that the competition weren’t going to be as strong as I thought and eased off a little in the 3rd and 4th ks. Coming towards the final k I was sitting somewhere around 6m behind the leaders, with the lead changing stroke by stroke on my monitor between Richard Cheeseman and Dave Blanksby. I thought at this point I could take them in the sprint at the end, and would keep the distance about the same then blast the end. They pushed off each other a bit, and before I was ready to start a sprint for the line Dave was off pulling 1:32’s from 300m out and there would have been no way to overcome the deficit. I increased speed at the end to pull in with a 16:58 with a 1:40.5 last km, finishing in 3rd behind Dave in 16:53 and Richard in 16:56. Far closer to maximal effort than I ideally wanted the day before the 100k, that’s for sure.
The race splits:
1:40.9 / 30, 1:41.9 / 29, 1:42.8 / 28, 1:43.2 / 28, 1:40.5 / 29
16:58.9 / 1:41.9 / 29spm
The full results for all races are available here:
Sunday – the 100km tandem relay:
Sunday was the big day. 3 teams going head to head for 100km pairs World Records. Rather than describe the day and the long row in too many words I will illustrate it mainly with photos. I will of course concentrate my commentary on the row I was doing, but I will include the results of the other two pairs at the end.
I was in a pair with Jen Howse, and our aim was to beat the overall mixed tandem World Record time of 6 hours 33minutes (and a few seconds). Our tactics were to split the row into 40 x 2500m sections, and in each section for Jen to row 1200m then me to row 1300m. The rules of the 100k tandem World Record is that each team member must complete at least 40% of the distance, and this tactic would put us at 48k for Jen and 52k for me. This gave us a lot of leeway if anyone had any issues during the row and needed a longer rest period.
The three pairs set up in the gym with enough space around for changing on and off the machine, and nutritional supplies for the long day ahead. Nutrition was always going to be the key thing as we would be rowing for around 6 hours 30mins, and doing it roughly as 5mins on / 5mins off. This would leave very little time to eat or drink anything much, but equally no time to get cold. Of course little did we know a few weeks ago that it would be 30degrees C on Sunday, and getting cold would never be an issue!
The pacing plan was roughly 2:00 for Jen and 1:50 for me, so with changeovers taken into account this should put our average split something in the 1:55 – 1:56 region. With a target of 1:58.0 for the World Record this was going to give us a good margin for any tough periods later in the row.
All of the teams just prior to the start – from left to right Joe Keating and Georgina Price targetting the 50+ world record, Steve Smith and Jo Andrews (seated on the erg) targetting the 40+ world record, and Jen Howse and Pete Marston targetting the overall world record.
And we were off. It took the first 20km to get into a rhythm, and it was around this point I felt most comfortable. I seemed to acclimatise to the heat at this time, close to 90mins into the row. Approaching half way the enormity of the challenge started to hit me. We’d been rowing for over 3 hours, and we have over 3 hours to go. It was at 45km to go that it started to get physically tough though.
The full set up of the three teams is shown well by the photo above, set up in the Velocity gym within the Village hotel in Farnborough.
A sequence of photos showing how tough it was getting for me in the final stages:
Inside the final 5k I was getting bad cramping in my quads throughout the row, and during the rest periods:
For 4 minutes of the final 5min rest period that was as straight as I could get my legs due to the cramp. It went just in time to get back on for the final 1300m to the line:
And finally the relief at crossing the line and not having to pull the handle any more!
A finishing photo – yes I know Jen looks a lot fresher than I do!
And the final time on the logcard – as the PM4 won’t set 100,000m as a single distance you have to set it as a variable interval:
Of course no blog post would be complete without a list of split times. Due to having to set the distance as an interval the monitor doesn’t give you splits, so these are the average split recorded with pen and paper at every 2500m point during the row:
100,000m = Start
97,500m = 1:55.8
95,000m = 1:55.5
92,500m = 1:55.3
90,000m = 1:55.2
87,500m = 1:55.2
85,000m = 1:55.2
82,500m = 1:55.2
80,000m = 1:55.2
77,500m = 1:55.2
75,000m = 1:55.2
72,500m = 1:55.2
70,000m = 1:55.2
67,500m = 1:55.2
65,000m = 1:55.2
62,500m = 1:55.2
60,000m = 1:55.2
57,500m = 1:55.2
55,000m = 1:55.2
52,500m = 1:55.2
50,000m = 1:55.2
47,500m = 1:55.2
45,000m = 1:55.2
42,500m = 1:55.3
40,000m = 1:55.3
37,500m = 1:55.3
35,000m = 1:55.3
32,500m = 1:55.3
30,000m = 1:55.3
27,500m = 1:55.3
25,000m = 1:55.3
22,500m = 1:55.4
20,000m = 1:55.4
17,500m = 1:55.4
15,000m = 1:55.4
12,500m = 1:55.4
10,000m = 1:55.4
7,500m = 1:55.4
5,000m = 1:55.4
2,500m = 1:55.4
0m = 1:55.3, 6hr 24min 38.3secs
The final time of 6hours 24minutes 38.3seconds beats the old World Record by around 9minutes.
Both of the other teams were also successful in setting new world record times and beating there pre-row targets:
Joe and Georgina set a new 50+ mixed World Record with a time of 6hrs 57mins 52.1secs (2:05.4 average pace).
Steve and Jo set a new 40+ mixed World Record with a time of 6hrs 40mins 26.8secs (2:00.1 average pace).
Well done to all six of us, same time next year?