This week marks the final week of my sweep rowing. We have a race this coming weekend, The Head of the Occoquan, that marks the official end of our season. I will still continue to scull, weather permitting, but no more sweep rowing and no more racing. I'm scheduled to race three times this weekend - once on Saturday and twice on Sunday. My race on Saturday is in a single (1X) and it's the first time I'll be trying that. I've entered myself in the recreational category because frankly the Masters 50+ category is just crazily competitive around here. So I'll try Rec this year and see how I do before making a decision on what category to race next year. I'm a bit worried about the weather for Saturday's race and in particular, the wind. Right now they're calling for winds to be 10 to 15 mph with gusts to 25 mph. I'm not particularly fond of rowing a single in those kind of conditions. I row mostly because I enjoy it. Granted its great exercise and a great way to enjoy the water and the outdoors in general, but mostly I do it because its fun. Rowing in choppy water is not fun and if I find the water to choppy come Saturday, I plan to scratch. So right now I'm hoping the forecast will change (as it has twice already) and the winds won't be too bad. I did a practice run of the HOTO course on Wednesday and it felt pretty good. I definitely need to hug the buoy line a lot closer then I did, but now that I know where the buoys are, that should be easier. When sculling I've always looked over my left shoulder to see where I'm going, but the buoys are all located to my right. Just feels weird looking over that shoulder.
As far as the races on Sunday, I'll be stroking a 4+ in the Masters 50+ category and rowing 2 seat in an 8+ in the 40+ category. The 4+ uses the same line up we used for the Challenge and the Chase. Each time we go out we're a bit better so hopefully we're peaking at the right time. For our practice last Saturday, our first 1/3 of the race was probably the best our 4+ has felt all year. Now if we can hold that for the whole race we'll do ok. The 8+ that I'm in is a bit of a composite boat. It's made of primarily of guys who row in our recreational/fitness program or are novice rowers. Our rec/fitness program are for those that want to row, but really aren't interested in competing in most races or can't devote the time to be in the Men's Competitive boats. They'll dabble in some of the races on our home water, however. The novice rowers are our first year rowers. This gives them a taste of what racing is like and will help them decide whether they want to enter the Competitive or rec/fitness program next year. I'm in their boat because I didn't make the Competitive 8+ and they had an open seat. I look at it as a fun race and I'm happy to help out, but my real focus will be in the 4+.
Send good thoughts this way for good weather and low winds this coming weekend.