So, this week was a light week in terms of rowing – lots of technical stuff/short pieces so everyone was rested for the Christmas Regatta at Lake Karapiro.
It’s a BIG regatta, the biggest we’d been to and will probably get to go to (even Nationals isn’t as big as there’s no school teams there)
True to recent form, I have no idea what happened in the week, but on Friday through various means we traveled up to Karapiro, a small town/village by Cambridge, which is near Hamilton, or to be v general on the North Island!
Cambridge is famous in NZ for horses/horse racing/harness racing – we stayed at the Raceway – most minimal place yet, we were in a function room, a bar (no alcohol), a toilet, a long walk to the shower block (1 shower) where we did find a hot water boiler and a microwave…….. but it was only $10/night.
This is all a good 6/7 hour drive from Wellington. I had my Software Testing exam on the Friday, so made the good decision to catch a flight up to Hamilton and by happy coincidence so was another rower so we had a fun trip together – drinking coffee and eating Russian fudge and boiled sweets.
As there are no cooking facilities at the Raceway and no where else within walking distance we went to the onsite bar/restaurant – there was a Friday special of steak for $16 and turned out to be pretty good. Pretty much everyone had arrived by 10pm when our coach came in for a chat/what to do in the morning etc. Once he realised how late it was we were sent to bed – had to be up at 5:30am!!
Saturday – heats
It was a bit overwhelming arriving and seeing a sea of boats along the side of the lake. There were nearly 3000 rowers and it felt like as many boats. People from all over the North Island, some from Australia and a team from China.
There are heats on day one and finals on day 2. This is the fancy regatta – they have people who lie on pontoons and hold the boats at the start (like you see on the TV).
I did not have a good day.
The first race I was in was the Quad sculls (it’s at this point in life where I’ve realised it’s sculling, not skulling – now have quite gruesome images in my head) anyway, it’s not my strongest point and for 3 out of 4 of us, I think it’s fair to say it’s not our strongest skill. We were also hampered by having (what turned out to be) an inexperienced cox. It was a horrible row, we came 6th or last depending on how you want to look at it.
Next up was the Novice 8 – I was in with the same crew as last week and still on stroke side – my favourite. We were in a battle for 1st/2nd from the start, it was great, we rowed so hard, but with about 250m to go I caught a crab, my oar twisted and got stuck and there was nothing I could do. 250m is a good minute or so of rowing, losing a rower on one side means it’s v difficult to steer as the other side is always pulling you around. There was nothing to do but 1. desperately try and free my oar, 2. cry when I realised that wasn’t going to happen and 3. watch our potential chance 1st place go, and the 2nd and the 3rd……. 4th place – I was gutted for everyone – 1st or 2nd and we’d have been in the final……. Everyone one was so nice about it, I got hugs and lasagna, wise words, stories of other crucial times people had messed up, but still, a chance in a final gone…..
Finally there was the 4, I was in bow side for this – my less favorite side and already feeling bad after the 8 race I didn’t feel great, we had the same bad cox as the quad earlier in the day, I think it’s fair to say we were tired and the wind was blowing. It was a bumping row to the start, a lot of fingers/thumbs getting bashed on the riggers and tempers were frayed by the time we were at the start…… The row itself was ok, we came 4th, so not last, but not great either.
I meant I had no final races the next day – the only Novice not to 😦
The girls in the 8, top 4 and quad and double had all got into the finals – they’d had great races and that was oar-some news!
We ate at the Raceway again – this time a yummy burger. Also spotted an amazing mullet – v blurry as we were quite far away, but I think you can get the idea.
Sunday – finals day and rain
Lots of rain! And even better, lots of wins. Everyone rowed so well, for the Novices, every win was a great one – especially the Novice 8 – was so exciting to watch – so proud of the girls. The races we didn’t win there were good reasons for, so a great leaning opportunity.
For me it was a hard day, the further realisation that I wasn’t up with the best rowers, so much technique still to work on…. What I did learn though was what I’d be reassured of the previous day – people do catch crabs – one of our boats caught 2 in quick succession – makes mine nothing special – just another thing to learn from.
Boat loading took FOREVER – probably not helped with the knowledge that we all had a massive drive ahead of us. We didn’t leave until around 6pm, took a quick drive to Taupo for Burger Fuel – yum – and then the long drive to Wellington. Events occurred that we will never speak of, although someone has spoken, I’m hopping it never gets out of the Novice girls circle of trust……