There was rain in the air, tough conditions and plenty of waves in Monte Carlo for the tenth edition of the Challenge Prince Albert II. Just as I like it =).
Over 300 rowers had come to regatta and in the Mens Single there were some strong entries, including Italian Champion Marco Fabbi, French Champion and World #4 Benoit Bride and the 2011 World Champion Giuseppe Alberti to name a few.
I decided to start steadily and advance through the 6km long run. The start was a bit wierd though. One point of the starting line was clearly the better one... and the most popular. To avoid incidents in the start I took the a less popular sport further down the starting line. Aproaching the stating time, I noticed that everyone was ahead of me (in my opinion over the starting line). I did however not want a 2min penelty for a false start. As the start went away, I was dead last and with a longer way to the first turning point. The conditions could have been easier.
From left: Benoit Bride (2nd), Me (first), Giuseppe Alberti (3rd)
As I approached the first turning point I had passed quite a few rowers and caught up with the breakaway trio: Fabbi, Alberti and Bride. On the second leg I made a move and past Alberti and Fabbi and was slowly gaining on Bride. Soon after the second turning point I overtook the lead and increased through the remainder of the race. The winning margin was reassuring 34 seconds down to Bride. Alberti took third place.
Crossing the finish line as number one. Catching up to some of the fours who started a head of the singles
Comments of the race: Good start to the season, but especially a nice acknowledment that the winter training is goning well. Although my body was pretty worn from my hard training period (not taken any time off to be in top shape) it felt like there was at least one extra gear to take, if needed. I think definately the sparring against the two talented Gustavsson brothers from Höganäs has been very favorable .
Now it´s back to the grinde, and work my butt off for the last preperations for this season. The next race is in April.