Braas fastest again at Ergohead
The Amsterdam World Ergohead in the Netherlands is in its 17th year and continues to attract large numbers for the 20 minute race on the indoor rowing machine.
The aim was to set a new record and the prize for doing so was 1000 euro in the open categories and Roel Braas, for a second year in a row did just that. Braas is an Olympian and is currently the top Dutch single sculler. Completing 6468m in the 20 minute period and averaging 500m split of 1:32.8 gave Braas the new record. Last year Braas set the record by going 6443m (averaging 1:33.1).
Braas's race strategy was to keep a steady pace with the aim of beating the record by 25m, thus Braas knew exactly what pace he had to maintain. At the finish Braas was happy but visibly tired although he recovered quickly and was able to lift up daughter Lizz for the medal ceremony.
The 20 minute standard for the Ergohead, rather than the usual 2000m race, was decided on to match roughly the distance of a head race as most athletes will complete 5 - 6000m in the 20 minute allotted time. This distance also fits into the winter training schedule and preparation for spring head races. The event used to be a 6000m race but the large differences in finishing times did not work so well for the competitors or the spectators.
Along with Braas records were broken in 13 other categories. (There were 43 categories in total this year).
Denmark's Steffen Bonde, who broke the lightweight men's record last year, came through 20m short of breaking his own record of 6196m, recording 6176m for 2014. Dutch national team lightweight rower and Olympian Tycho Muda finished right behind Bonde, clocking 6163m.
The largest number of participants were in the junior - 14 to 18 year old - categories with this event used as an assessment for potential Dutch junior national team members. In the under 18 junior women's category Laila Youssifou of the Dutch rowing club, Laga, won her category and set a record by scoring 5464m. This was an average split of 1:49.7 with Youssifou breaking the previous record from 2005 by 100m.
Ergohead representative Stefan Kools said the competition brought the usual upshot of an erg race day. "Some rowers could not walk afterwards. They gave so much and so we sometimes had a hard time clearing the ergs for the next race. There was also the usual vomiting and fainting."
Over 350 competitors raced this year with athletes coming from Denmark, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Great Britain and the Netherlands. The race categories included Para-rowing races with participants helping to fundraise for Para-rowing in the Netherlands. The winners of the Para-rowing races won tickets to the World Rowing Cup. Agmaja Kolman won the trunk and arms category for women and Tim de Vries won the men's trunk and arms.
Ergohead website: www.ergohead.nl