Rowing is a very traditional sport. Which other sport has funky colored blazers for clubs? This being said, for Olympic racing, there is only one distance, 2000m. The High Stakes Boston race looked to change things up a bit by making a unique, spectator friendly race.
I was approached with the concept of the High Stakes Boston race by a former teammate, author and U.S. National Team Coxswain, Jack Carlson. The format was a multi-boat, mixed gender 500m relay race. The catch is that you go 250m and make a turn around a gigantic buoy and race as fast as you can back to the starting line so the next boat on your team can go. There has never been anything like it!
I looked through my Rolodex of rowers and put together a team with two Olympians(one gold medalist), five national team member, and other Olympic hopefuls. It was one of the few opportunities to race with my girlfriend, so we decided to row the double scull together (one friend referred to this combination as "The Divorcer"). I am happy to report that she did not break up with me afterwards.
My team won our heat in the fastest time of the day. The racing itself was so exciting because it is such a short distance, making the margins smaller than usual. The key is to keep calm,despite wanting to go full out, especially on the stake turns. I think my Tri-Phase Endurance helped me get psyched up, but still in control.
Our semi was against a bunch of U-23 National Team all stars. Half of the team had world championship medals from this summer, so we didn't know what to expect. From moment one, we were able to eek out larger and larger margins as the boats went on. With the semi tucked away we had to recover before the final, which would take place in thirty minutes time. I took my Complete Recovery and watched the other semi go down.
The final was against a very similar "Rent-a-Mob" crew from SoCal Scullers. It was the closest race of the day, but untimely we were on the wrong side of a half a boat-length margin.
It was an amazing weekend full of fast racing and old friends. Next on my plate is logging a whole bunch of Kilometers to get ready for Fall distance racing!
(photo credit- Jenifer Forbes Photography)