I decided after BIRC not to race again until September / October so that I could spend the spring and summer getting fit and losing some weight. But the Basingstoke IRC is local to me, and an event I really should be supporting. Plus there is the choice of doing a unique event there, the rowing bleep test. This event is like a good training session anyway, and mentally there is no thinking about what pace to go at.
The event is effectively a 1min on / 1min off interval session, but what makes it similar to the traditional running bleep test is that the target for each 1min rep gets faster. It’s always a tough decision for the race organiser where to start in terms of pace, and how far to go down each time. You want to have enough levels so that even the slowest people in a race get a good few levels to row, end fast enough that the top people in the race can’t complete every level without making it last for over an hour(!), and have small enough increments of pace towards the end that hopefully you discriminate between the fastest people.
The decision was made to start at 2:00 pace, and do 2sec increments down to 1:30 pace, then 1sec after that (for our fastest heat). So down to 1:30 pace the reps went:
2:00, 1:58, 1:56, 1:54, 1:52, 1:50, 1:48, 1:46, 1:44, 1:42, 1:40, 1:38, 1:36, 1:34, 1:32, 1:30
So by this point we have all rowed 16 reps of 1min, and keeping in mind that on current form my 2k pace is somewhere between 1:36 and 1:37 pace, I’m operating a good way under 2k pace by now. It seems too slow to start, but I like it to gradually warm up and not have to think about warming up before the race starts. When the level target is 1:30 this means that you can row anywhere down to 1:30.9 and you’re still in, but 1:31.0 or slower and you’re out, no second chances.
I was glad of the 1sec pace increments from this point on, but know I didn’t have that many left in me with the increasing pace. I made the 1:29 level ok, but was working hard by now. Most people had dropped out by here, and there were just 4 left in. I got through the 1:28 level ok, but was being as accurate as I could with the pacing by this point, so up around 1:28.7 or so to conserve anything I had left. I knew I didn’t have it in me to complete the 1:27 level, but didn’t know of the 4 of us who else might drop out on the next level. If two people stop on the same level then the fastest average pace on the final level decides positions. So I still rowed the 1:27 level, albeit at 1:38 pace. This was enough for 3rd overall. Two guys went on to complete the 1:27 level, one of which didn’t get up again for the 1:26. Warren Matthews bravely still made the 1:26 target even though he’d already got the win, great work.
An enjoyable day, but now back to the training.