With the British Rowing Indoor Championships less than two weeks away (Saturday, 9th December) it was the obvious topic for my first blog post.
The 2016 Championships marked my first experience of indoor racing and it was an incredible event – held at the Lee Valley VeloPark, with a record entry of 1,900 competitors and a sell-out crowd. To their credit our sports national governing body, British Rowing, has thrown their weight fully behind indoor rowing in recent years and this event signified the full realisation of that project. That said the 2017 event promises to be even bigger, not least due to the entry of a certain Sir Bradley Wiggins.
For my part I go into the 2017 Championships looking to defend the 40-49 Masters Heavyweight title I won last year. My strategy then had been to go out hard for 500 metres, get in front, and control the race from there. This played well into my hands as it’s the way I’ve always approached the 2km time trial on the ergo. The plan worked and I was delighted to win in a time of 7:14.3.
In 2017 both of the women who stood beside me on the podium twelve months ago (Victoria Starr and Hannah Hawkins) are returning, along with the 2014/15 champion (Sally Pollok-Morris) and the current 1000m world record holder (Georgia Peramatzi). With such a talented field I’m well aware that I could find myself behind entering the closing stages of the race, but will stick to my tried and tested game-plan and will rely on my sprint finish to get back into medal contention. The stage is certainly set for an incredibly exciting race alongside some really fast athletes; athletes whom I have the utmost respect for. I really can’t wait.
I’m not just at BRIC2017 to race. I’ll be vociferously supporting teammates from the two clubs I proudly represent, Auriol Kensington Rowing Club and Sub7 Indoor Rowing Club, and like everyone else very curious to see how Sir Brad stacks up against the elite rowers in the Open category. Naturally I’m also supporting the sport of indoor rowing. Given the amount of time and energy put into the sport by so many people it’s great to see it fully supported and going from strength to strength each year. Long may that continue.
Are you competing at BRIC2017, coming to support or volunteer? I’d love to hear your aspirations and thoughts on the championships, and your views on the growth of indoor rowing as a sport in its own right. Please feel free to comment below.