GB rower Beccy Muzerie looks forward to BRIC Online this weekend
Ready – Attention – GO!!
The whir of flywheels springs into life and is quickly drowned out by cheers from the crowds peering down on the neat rows of rowing machines filling the London 2012 Olympic Velodrome. It’s an individual battle: man vs machine for 2,000m.
And yet this weekend it’s also a side-by-side race, but with virtual cyber boats chugging along a giant screen behind the real-life action.
Welcome to BRIC Online!
This is an event like no other – hundreds of people gathered to take their turn on the big grey machines; 500m, 2,000m, team relay – there is something for everyone. I love the atmosphere of this place, getting to meet so many rowers of all ages from all over the country, and being able to push your body to its limits knowing hundreds of other people are doing the same all around you.
“Knowing your 2km score is like a secret currency, a common exchange between rowers”
It is hard to describe to a non-rower why we care so much about doing a 2km. I find it almost impossible to explain the physical journey that your body goes through in those few minutes, the pain it experiences after, and why we then get up and voluntarily do it again another day.
Knowing your 2km score is like a secret currency, a common exchange between rowers, sometimes seen as a badge of pride even though most of the time the owner is never quite satisfied, always wanting their score to be those few seconds faster. It’s a strange addiction.
But more than the physical, the rowing machine is also a test of mental strength. Being able to see exactly what speed you are going every stroke means constantly fighting thoughts that you need to be faster.
When the split isn’t what you want it to be being able to reassure yourself that it is okay – and you can get back in control. As you go through the middle of the race, you have to trust that it is worth sticking to your race plan when your body is screaming at you. And, finally, being bold to know you are fit enough to empty the tank as the last few metres tick off the screen.
“To end 2020 having shown ourselves how far we can push our mental and physical limits over 2km”
This year, as with every aspect of life, BRIC Online is going to be different. No screaming crowds in an overheated velodrome. But still a virtual competition between hundreds of athletes and the grey machines. It seems to me a very fitting event to end 2020 with.
We have been forced to train alone with our thoughts for far more sessions than we would have liked this year, rowed far more indoor kilometres than water ones, and become very practised at having to adapt to whatever surprises are thrown at us. So, this is our chance to put all that to good use.
To end 2020 having shown ourselves how far we can push our mental and physical limits over 2km. And having connected virtually with the rowing community who are all doing the same thing.
One measuring stick for one big family who love one fantastic sport.
See you on the start line!
Photos: Naomi Baker