Crash B’s 2011
Posted by thepeteplan on February 21, 2011
The World Indoor Rowing Championships are over for another year as I sit in the airport waiting for my flight home. I will just write a fairly brief summary of the weekend in no particular order of events.
As I blogged before, my plan for the race was a 1:36 steady pace and a fast finish to hopefully bring me as close to 6:20 as possible. Larry Tait, one of the B2B rowers who had raced in the morning, took up the coxing position, and I had his club mate on my left, and one of the Royal Navy Team GB guys on my right. I told him my plan of 1:36’s steady and not to let the average ever get slower than 1:36.3, then to try to speed up in the later stages wanting to be 1:36.0 at 500m to go, and as close to 1:35.0 by the end as possible. I didn’t want to be rigid in wanting 1:36.0 all the way through the first 1500m because allowing a few 1:37’s meant that I wouldn’t be discouraged if the average did slip a little over the desired pace.
I got a good start, and the average was down close to 1:35.0 after 150m. I knew what my training predicted though, so wanted to stick to my plan and not go too fast, so slowed off to 1:36 / 1:37 to let the average drift back where I wanted it. Through 500m it was right on target at 1:36.0. My rate was still a little low, mainly 31spm, but it felt fine so I wasn’t worried. Through half way and it was pretty close between the three of us rowing next to each other, and my average pace was still on track at 1:36.2 (splits for the first half were 1:36.0, 1:36.3). It felt right at half way – tough but sustainable. I think the average peaked at 1:36.3 at about 750m to go, and I stuck with the plan of making the last 750m faster than the first 1250. 500m to go and the average was either 1:36.3 or 1:36.2 and I was watching the relative distances on the monitor to take my mind off my own effort level and try to encourage a fast finish. I was working hard by this point, but I was able to start to put in some 1:35s, and push the last 200m really quite hard to get the average pace right down to 1:35.5. I finished strongly, so maybe had I pushed a bit harder from 750m I could have found those extra 2 seconds, but I felt pretty wrecked at the end so I paced it pretty much right on. Splits for the second half were 1:36.4 and 1:33.2. Final time of 6:22.0, which I am happy enough with. Faster than BIRC, and all other things considered a pretty solid time.
I was the last one to race out of the B2B group at 2.45pm, so had a day of racing to watch and build up to get through. I headed to the arena with Larry, Catherine and Anne (all B2B rowers) at 8am. I was coxing Larry’s race at 9.40 for him to return the favour later. A very well paced race, solid throughout and what became the trademark B2B strong finish with a much faster last 500m than the rest of the race, pulling past a lot of people in the process. 6:36 was two seconds slower than last year, but he is about 16lbs lighter and a year older. Anne and Carol were up soon after 10, so we positioned ourselves to watch them. Unfortunately they were on different sides of the arena though racing at the same time, so we could only watch Anne, and see Carol on the screen. Great races from both of them, and two hammers (world champions) for the B2B group! Anne looked comfortable throughout and finished very fast to be only 0.5 outside her pb with a 7:12, and 8 seconds faster than the qualifier 2 weeks ago. Carol rowed a great race to win and again only 2 seconds outside the massive pb she had set in Manchester, which with the travel over here is a great performance. Lots of other great performances through the morning and afternoon including a new pb for Catherine.
I had to prioritise my time on race day to concentrate more on how the B2B athletes were doing than the Team GB people. They had a good support crew with all the Royal Navy people, and Kimberley doing a great job of motivating the team, and the B2B athletes had paid for my coaching. We had a good team meeting on the Saturday though prior to the international competitors lunch and were able to pass on a good amount of info and answer questions from some of the new competitors. It was great that Kimberley arranged this meeting, the kit with Jake’s (from C2 UK) help, and even name badges, because it really made it feel like much more of a team atmosphere than recent years. I had a chance then to chat to some of the team members that I’d not met before over the day – some very talented athletes in there. The lunch was good too, and a good chance to see who some of the top people were and feel both very small next to all the giants, and very slow next to people like Henrik S, the Danish lwt world record holder.
For anyone who hasn’t been to the Crash B’s before I really do recommend it if you get the chance as a unique experience within the annual race calendar. The overall event is just in a different league even to the British Championships, despite possibly having slightly lower competitor numbers. I hope to be able to attend again in 12 momths time.