beat McClean (Emmanuel) by 2s
I knew I had to attack this one straight away as McClean had beaten me 4 weeks earlier in STCS by 10s. Due to some epic communication failure, I didn't have a bankparty for the race, which isn't exactly helpful when starting from bottom station.
Consequently, my race plan was pretty simple: Keep it controlled for the first 3 strokes, then wind as high as possible and go flat out for 2k while trying not to crash and take some not totally appaling lines around the corners. You might have noticed that this plan actually lacks a point to settle into a rhythm... which is very likely why I forgot about that during the race as well. After a good corner around First Post (focussing on not letting the rate drop), a substantial push down the gut, and a clearly suboptimal line around Grassy I realised midway down Plough Reach that I had never settled into a sustainable rate and that the second half of the race would be all but pleasant. On the positive side, when looking to the side I could see McClean's stern from the corner of my eye, so I knew I had a comfortable lead by then. So I gritted my teeth and pushed on, finally thinking a bit more about ratio and technique, but making up for that by taking another rather bad corner around Ditton. Coming past the kink I lined up for what I thought where the finish should be and wound it up to unsustainable again, unfortunately without really looking round to confirm my line. As a consequence, I gradually approached the bank and finally managed to crash about 10m before the finish line. After swearing in a clearly not-ladylike manner, stopping, pushing out and restarting it took about 3-4 strokes to actually cross the finish, which I confirmed by asking the marshall at least 3 times if this really was the finish.
I was utterly convinced that the crash had cost me the victory but apparently there was still the minimum necessary margin left to win it :-D!
Beat Gale (Newnham) easily
I was pretty knackered after the semi final so wasn't too annoyed by the fact that all races were running incredibly late, and we had to wait around at baitsbite for ages until we finally got started. My only worry was that I might actually fall asleep while lying down in the boat and might let go of my blades then...
I knew from the way up that my paddling was substantially faster than Gale's so I decided to focus on proper technique (and actually settle) in this race rather than going flat out again. I also had bank party for this one as Tom was so nice to phone Fordy, and started from top station, so all advantages finally on my side!
Very pleased with the result indeed, and looking forward to the regatta season now!!