Peake performance matches UK record
By North Devon Journal | Thursday, December 15, 2011, 08:00
PEAK condition brought a peak performance for a Bideford Reds rower at the Welsh Indoor Championships.
MAN AND THE MACHINE: Alastair Peake puts in the practice at Bideford Reds Rowing Club. He rowed 2,000 metres in 6mins 33.7secs on the ergo machine at the Welsh Indoor Championships. Pictures: Mike Southon. To order this photograph call 0844 4060 269 and quote Ref: BNMS20111213B-005_C
PRIZE: Alastair Peake with his Welsh Indoor Championships medal. Ref: BNMS20111213B-008_C
Alastair Peake, of Appledore, equalled a British age-group rowing machine record in Cardiff.
After dropping down from heavyweight to lightweight this year, his dedication to diet and training have paid off.
Covering 2,000 metres in 6mins 33.7secs, he equalled the UK best for the lightweight 45 to 49 category.
Peake said: "I have always been the lightest of the heavyweights and I'm never going to win anything like that.
"I can beat some of the bigger heavyweights on the water but they are monsters on the machines.
"I thought if I drop down half a stone I can do this."
Indoor rowing is divided into two divisions, one for those 75kg and under, and one for those over 75kg.
Slimming down to 11st 11lb, he weighed in at the lower division for the first time.
"Making the weight was harder than the rowing," he said.
"You realise what those jockeys like AP McCoy do.
"Normally I eat like a horse and don't have to worry about it.
"My other half always says I'm too skinny and I look like a bag of bones."
For indoor races, the competitors set off at the same time and can see who is winning on a big screen at the front of the room.
Suffering from a heavy cold, Peake, 45, was hoping to clock about 6-40 and was surprised to go much faster.
His time was only a second outside of his personal best of 6-32.1, set as a heavyweight several years ago.
Despite rowing himself into the record books, he had to settle for silver in the 40 to 49 race – missing out on gold by 1.2 seconds.
As a postman in Bideford, Peake trains almost every afternoon when he has finished work.
He first took up rowing in 1980 and competes regularly for the Reds indoors and on the river.
The ergo machines are a useful way to train when the weather does not allow him to get out on the Torridge.
"Indoors is a lot easier because the only thing you've got to worry about is your time," said Peake.
"Single sculling, you have got to contend with the elements.
"The rowing machine just gets monotonous, the miles you have got to put in, looking at the clock.
"It's a labour of love more than anything."
Peake is now targeting the English Championships in Manchester in February and British Championships in Nottingham in March.