The weather was amazing, the venue was good and the company was even better. What a novel way to spend a Sunday in Nottingham - surrounded by crazy people putting themselves through huge amounts of pain for the sake of a 2,000 metre erg race.
Chris and I arrived in good time for my weigh in at 10:45am. We registered, weighed in and collected our complimentary bottles of water and BIRC program. We bumped into a number of people we knew from the indoor rowing circuit and had a chat with Chris Wheatley who we met in Boston at the WIRC (still hoping he will join ETT).
At about 11:30 we got a call from Edward so Chris went on a hunt for him in reception. We all had a bit of a catch up before Edward got registered then it was time for me to warm up for my race. There were plenty of warm up machines so it was easy to get a spot for the Eddie Fletcher 20 minute warm up.
Mark and Ric arrived at the start of my race. I spotted two crazy people waving at me in the spectator area then I realised it was Mark and Ric! It was great to have five ETT'ers all together in one venue.
I had a stormer of a race and pulled in my best ever time of 08:36.1. I didn't even realise I had done such a good row until I read the screen at the end of the 2k. Apparently Mark, Ric, Edward and Chris were shouting loads of encouragement but I didn't really hear anything except my own voice saying to me "why are you doing this again?" and the excellent cox I had talking me through my race plan.
Up next was Chris who had been very close to the border for the lightweight weigh-in earlier in the morning. His brilliant strategy of weight loss was to drop-the-kids-off-at-the-pool, strip off to his tight lycra shorts and breath in on the second weigh-in of the morning. His Audi-gut as Chris W called it worked a treat and he successfully passed the weigh-in second time around.
Chris' approach to this race was 'Let's see how I get on'. His 2k training has not really happened since the WIRC due to a rib injury, cycling to work and cycle-training for the Alps this Easter.... as you have already guessed I'm leading you into the fact that Chris' race time was not one of his best performances but considering he had done zero training for the last 6 weeks to get a time of 07:07.6 is pretty impressive stuff.
Edward was next on the floor after a decent warm up he was raring to go. We all settled into our spectator seats ready for the race at 14:30 but the medal ceremony from the previous two races dragged on an extra 10 minutes. This left Edward fidgeting and edgy on his C2 waiting for the officials to start the race proper.
Then they were off! Edward held pole position for about 400 metres with an impossibly fast stroke until he eased into a more sustainable rhythm and pulled in a very impressive time of 07:29.8.
Whilst Mark and Ric were getting ready for their race Edward, Chris and myself got a chance to watch Graham Benton beat the Championship Record with a time of 05:50.1. which was really entertaining and got the crowd cheering.
Mark and Ric were due to race but things were running a little bit late because of a few computer glitches. They both had a decent warm up and came back to see us in the spectator area to drop off their bags before their race.
Ric was a bit nervous and didn't appreciate the fact that his erg was in a prime position on the front row so we could all get a better look at his face of pain!
Mark's erg was in the middle of the arena and mentioned he had left his lucky red shirt at home and was in the black shirt he wore at Cardiff (bad memories).
Ric started first and got up to speed with some excellent first strokes. He was determined and he held his own amongst his fellow ergers. He raced at a pretty even pace and got a time of 06:38.3.
Mark also had a very strong start and pulled in his fastest stroke rate in the second spilt of the race. In the third split Mark was doing a bit of head shaking and it looked like he was mentally struggling with the last 1k. He picked up the pace again for the final stretch and finished the race with a time of 06:32.8.
After the races were over we had a chat and a chill out on the spectator seats and made our way outside to get a team photo. It was at this point we realised what a gloriously sunny and warm day it was due to the fact we had all been stuck inside a sports hall for the past six hours.
Overall we had a great day out and I think I can say on behalf of all the ETT'ers who took part in the competition that we are really looking forward to a well deserved rest over the Easter break (or should I say after the WEC 2012).