Palmerston North rower Nicola Goss is ready to test herself against the best at the World Rowing Indoor Championships in Toronto in late February.
The World Rowing Indoor Championships are held annually, with competitors racing on Concept2 rowing machines that are typically found in gyms.
Goss is a health and diabetes lecturer at UCOL Te Pūkenga, where she is working on delivering micro-credential courses on preventing and managing type 2 diabetes.
This will be Goss' fourth world championships. She raced in the 2017 competition in Boston, and in 2021 and 2022, when the competition was held virtually due to COVID-19 restrictions. Goss' best result came in 2021, when she placed fourth in the hour-long endurance race.
This year, Goss will be competing in a new event called the Versa, which will consist of five races over two days. The rowers will not know the race formats until the competition, but they promise to test their endurance, speed, strength, and stamina.
"I'm really excited. We have no idea what we are going to be doing there. I'm training for anything up to a half marathon at the moment. I'm more of an endurance athlete, so I'm hoping for long races," says Goss, who is currently ranked second in the world for half marathons in her age group.
Goss is heading into the World Championships on the back of some impressive results in 2022. Last year she won the 2000m (age 30-39) at the Canadian Championships, placed second in the 2000m (30-39) at the Oceania Championships, and came fourth in the 2000m (27-35) at the United State Championships. Goss raced in all of these events virtually.
"Racing became virtual and I was incredibly lucky to have raced as much as I have over the past few years. It did mean that I had to race at some random times, but I wasn't going to let that stop me. The hardest was probably the 2022 Canadian champs - I woke up at 1.30am to have a pre-race snack to race at 4.30am."
Goss has competed in indoor rowing for almost 20 years. She got into the sport after using an indoor rowing machine while at Palmerston North Girls' High School.
Goss also competes in outdoor rowing, but had to withdraw this season due to a wrist injury. Goss is still able to compete in indoor rowing because it requires a different technique, but will take time off to rehab after the World Championships. She has also had to monitor a leg injury throughout the season.
Goss says she enjoys both indoor and outdoor rowing for different reasons.
"In indoor rowing, I'm not affected by the water or weather conditions, and I have a screen that tells me how fast I'm going."
"I also enjoy the mental challenge of indoor, especially with interval sessions — after doing one, sometimes I wonder how I am going to do it again and again. The numbers on the screen don't lie and that's what I'm constantly looking at. I can't let off at any stage or I'll pay for it."
"In outdoor rowing, I'm never by myself — I will either be in a crew boat or a single and be pacing against someone. I'm super competitive and love challenging myself."
1. Nicola Goss competing at the 2018 New Zealand Indoor Rowing Championships (photo by Steve McArthur).
2. Nicola Goss taking part in a qualifying session for this year's World Rowing Indoor Championships.