So many people have told me: Carlos it is not possible to show up at the HOC and win without getting used to the course for some years and I disagree. The 2007 HOC that was my first one ever I raced my 1x on the LM1x and was second starting bow 31. Also I coached a rower 2 years later that rowed for the first time the course on the OPEN W1x starting on bow 19 and won. IT IS POSSIBLE. WHAT IS IMPORTANT?
1) Have somebody who knows the river really well to explain to you well the course and directions
2) Row the course as many times as possible before race day.
3) Have a plan of what you are going to do, pacing and course.
4) Take the race as it comes, adapt and go with the flow.
5) Believe all the time you are doing great and you are being really fast and good. Motivate yourself as you go down the course.
If you are going to be in Boston racing this weekend get on the water and do the course as much as possible. It is really important that you have a clear picture of the course in your head and have a plan of what you are going to do and where you are going to be racing. As we all know that plan will change if you are not starting the first one because you don’t know how you will o in reference to the other boats around you. My best advise is to relax and just go with the flow of the race. You need to understand that the biggest loses of time during this race are your mistakes and your rivals mistakes that affect you. I like to start fast and get a good rhythm and from there perform a good course. I take the other boats as they come and try to be firm on my intentions so they can move away. I turn my head a lot and look what is coming and making clear and fast decisions.
If you get stuck because somebody is not moving you can do 2 things, rest behind until it moves and that might give you some energy for later or open to the other side and pass this boat. I normally like to wait and rest. You need to understand that it is hard for somebody to yield to you if you are not going much faster. The other boat will think that it can hold you or use you as a pacer boat. My advice is to go normal or not too crazy to get on top of the other boats and increase the speed to pass them. That is an important think. If you spend all your energy on getting close to the boats in front of you and don’t have any energy to pass them, this can be a disaster because the boats in front of you will wake you all the way down the course and will use you as a pacer boat.
Do some training pieces at the HOC changing speed and stroke length to simulate passing other boats. change your speed and rhythm and be open to do ANYTHING to keep the boat moving and your speed not getting too affected. You need some luck and some good and bright moves in this race to do well if you are not starting first. It is a fun and hard race! Good luck out there and remember:
Whatever you do or achieve it is good because you are racing and going down the course and taking it as a challenge. You have the guts to race and this is great! Congratulations and if you think you can do better next time then train more and comeback!