12th out of 48 1x. 2nd out of 15 in Novice
Thankfully, the gods were smiling on me and we were blessed with perfect conditions. Negligible stream or wind, lots of sunshine and cool temperatures. This was most pleasing as I had had an uncomfortable encounter with a headwind during my previous outing.
The start went OK and after a bit of nervous spacking I found a reasonable rhythm at what I guess was about 28 - 30 spm. My worries about being overtaken by the Vet E bloke behind me proved unfounded as he steadily dropped back. My steering was proving better than normal and I achieved far and away my best line round First Post and Grassy without even having to quiche the inside arm too much. I made a nice push down Plough Reach, taking at least 5 seconds out of the bloke in front of me.
Ditton was a "perhaps sub-optimal" line but as I was now into the longest piece I've ever done at firm pressure, any avoidance of the bank would have been acceptable. I breathed a sigh of relief at the negligible headwind and was able to find a really nice rhythm all the way down the reach to the Railway Bridge where to my amazement I overtook someone, although he turned out to be a J16. I was definitely closing on the chap in front but he made my life much easier by opting to collide with the bank after the railway bridge. I tried to push on here but discovered that my technique is not yet able to hold up to firm pressure after about 10 minutes and I could feel my shoulders starting to tense and the bladework deteriorate.
Thankfully the finish seemed to arrive sooner than it normally does so there wasn't too much spacking. Overall I was delighted with the row, although the excess of muscle pain over aerobic pain indicated that I was perhaps not rating high enough. However, more technical work ahead is needed before I can think about higher ratings.
I was quite surprised by my finishing position and, pleasingly, was not beaten by any birds. We shall see if I can take a few seconds off at the next event. Anyone want to coach me?