Adam Kreek on pre-race nerves


Adam Kreek, in the Canadian mens 8
, had his race postponed from Sunday to yesterday.  He writes about the event and the aftermath.

Race drama


Today is a very special day. It is race day. Shortly after waking up this morning, I could feel the mini-nuclear reactor in my stomach starting to fire up, getting ready to turn the turbines. I run into my teammates in the hotel room hallway and I can sense that they are feeling the same thing. Again.

Yesterday, when we were halfway through our warmup, an official drove up to us in his wakeless umpire launch.“Eights go dock,” he shouted in a broken, eastern-European accent over his megaphone. The command was very confusing at first, because our minds were set firmly in the paradigm of race preparation. It took about a minute, but we realized that a lightning storm was causing the regatta delay.

One of the strengths of my crew is our commitment to race-day rehearsal. We talk endlessly about our race and race calls, and have visualization sessions on and off the water, on top of the obvious real-time training pieces. Our warmup is another component of race preparation that has been practised and talked over countless times.

The storm delay did not fit exactly into our rehearsed plan. I believe a key to success is the ability to consistently turn apparent setbacks into positive gains. A simple example could be learning how to short-sell when the stock market is crashing.

Try as we may, it’s hard to get that race-day fire pumping through the veins when we practise our pre-race routine. However, yesterday gave us a perfect chance to try a real time run-through, analyze our preparation and make it just a bit better for today.  Today was a continuation of the same unpredictable story, fitting into what seems to be a theme of this regatta. Our warmup went off as planned, but we had a bit of a hiccup on the starting block.


Plastic “boots” lift up to hold the bow of the boat at the start of the race, and when Kevin and Ben moved us into position onto the boot, the bow ball popped off! The bow ball is there as a safety measure to prevent damage and injury in case of a collision. Brian and I waved at the official and he became aware of the problem. We were allowed to race because dangerous collisions never occur while racing.

Little did we know we would be driving away from a potential collision! The Aussies’ rudder broke 500 m into the race, giving them a slight veer to starboard – right into our lane. At 750 m in, their bow was pointed directly at Kyle, who was breathlessly shouting at Brian, “Get us out of here!”

Luckily, we had attacked hard and had a length on the field when the lane change happened. The rest of the race seemed to cruise by after we pushed past the confusion and we ended up well on the field.

Australia did not impede our progress when they changed lanes, so they will get a second shot in the repechage. Great Britain won the other heat and had two seconds on us in raw time, but they were pushed hard by the U.S.A. and China. It is going to be a tight race on Sunday! I’m glad our crew has a couple days to train on our own regroup!
 

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