After a less than auspicious start, in that, communications had failed and the people who were meant to be helping me boat, mistimed things and I missed the division I was meant to be racing in. Thankfully they let me go in the next division, which worked better for me in the long run as it meant I was with a few other adaptive rowers.

There was a bit of chaos just before I was due to race, as the competitor who was meant to go down after me, was ready ahead of me, and so it made more sense for her to go first. After rushing to get various grips and splints on, I was ready (These included the hand grip I’d only tried the day before on land, which turned out to be great).

I think my theme of the day was ‘being difficult’, I’d not only missed my own division, disordered the other division, and then I was informed I’d have to do a standing start, rather than a rolling one as the others had done. The main difference being that you’re at full power as you cross the line in the latter, as opposed to building speed from stationary, which isn’t so fast.

My race was okay, not fantastically paced, but I think the conditions were responsible for that as it felt like rowing through treacle at various points. I made the best of it though, and managed to overtake the competitor in front of me, yay, survived going under the bridge, and not into it, as had been my biggest worry!! I had lots of support, which was lovely, and as we were rowing a shorter distance the finish was just by where the rest of my squad were, so I got an extra kick to finish. Although that did mean I had to be lifted out of my boat again!! To be fair my legs are pretty duff at the best of times, so adding a body full of lactic acid into the mix never bodes well.

There was one more competitor in my category, but she was in the next division, so I didn’t know the result straight away. My parents and I nipped across the bridge for a tea and refuel, by the time we got back, all the racing had finished so mum popped upstairs to see the results, while dad helped me with my car. Adding to the category of ‘being difficult’ we discovered the stair lift up to the bathroom was dead, so I now have some pretty bruises from crawling up the stairs!!

Mum came to rejoin my dad and I and told me I hadn’t won, I was gutted, but then she read out of the times and presented me with my winners tankard!! Lucky I love her!!

So yes, my first head race win, a confidence booster as I was only 3 seconds beind the winner of the more functional category above me, and showed that the hours I’ve been putting in are paying off, which is the main thing in terms of progress and the road to Rio!!

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