It was another short hop to concept2.co.uk which had a forum of people from around the world discussing indoor rowing, as well as OTW (on the water rowing), cycling and a host of other topics. My interest in the sport was further aroused by the Rowing Ireland Indoor Championships 2010. At the time I was fairly proud of my 3:10.6 1k and 1:25.0 500m… how things have changed. I was introduced to a few of the PaddyPower Indoor Rowing Club members (no affiliation to the bookmakers) whom over time helped me out immensely. Members of PaddyPower IRC are supposed to have some form of association with Ireland, but half of us cannot identify Ireland on a map and “once had a pint of Guinness” seems to be a sufficient connection. I became a member, it being my first indoor rowing club, and I proudly remain a member today.
So after a little work and a bit of encouragement I found myself entering the 2010 RIIC and managed a personal best over 2,000m with 6:20.1 and winning the bronze in the 30-39 heavyweight category. After returning home I realised I was hooked and found myself checking out the records on the C2 UK website I found that the Irish 30-39H record for a 2k was 6:07.1… it seems that I had my new target and set myself the goal of going back to the RIIC in 2011 and taking both the gold and the Irish 2k record. Ambitious? Perhaps. Achievable? Well, it was going to be fun finding out.
I also discovered that the English Indoor Rowing Championships were being held in January 2011 so I entered. At this point I was lucky enough to find my now mentor and coach who has become known simply as "Q" within the Concept 2 UK community (real name James Bailey). He put together a training plan for the run up to the event and mapped out a strategy for my race.
At this point I was still a relatively unknown on the indoor rowing circuit and certainly not fancied for a medal in the 2k so I was pretty much left to myself. After utilising the warm up Q had given me for the first time in a race context, I settled myself on the race erg and racked the drag factor up as high as I could get it (DF192; I used to train at DF220 until Q found out, went berserk, and brought me down to DF145). After the initial panic of the start I settled in and plugged along at just over 1:35.5 pace for the first 1500m, but as I came within sight of the finish Beowulf made his first appearance and within the last few 100 meters I overtook 4th place and then 3rd place to cross the line in 2nd to the sound of a shocked commentator bellowing "Oh look at the finish from Buchanan". The time was a new personal best of 6:16.7, the last 500m split coming in at 1:29.5. Watch the race
I also managed to jointly win the 500m (30-39H) in a dead heat with 1:19.1, and to pick up another gold in the mixed relay team.