Sunday 21 November 2010

Winter Head

A misty late-autumn day. Cold. Boat house at 10:30, misc chatter: I'm a bit late but not the latest; some of the Peterhouse ladies are also boating. This is the second crew, mostly (except me maybe :-)) and William D is rowing twice: M1 were meeting at 7:30 (ugh) and got 9:06 (we discover later; our time turned out to be 10:11). We were: James T (cox); Gary Dadd (stroke); me; William D; Will W; Dave B; Michael S; Andi R; Simon (bow).

Overall not a strong crew and the weaknesses were obvious as we rowed up to the start (since James T was coxing we rowed up faster than most, weaving through gaps that others dared not use, but I don't think he did anything unreasonable and indeed he probably helped the flow): the balance was iffy and we were short; I think those were the main flaws. However by the time of the actual race we'd managed to cohere enough to put in a decent performance.

There was some hope of us winning the novice category, but our true objective was to avoid being run down by the Churchill ladies behind us; this we achieved with ease (they got 10:25). Novice winners were champs in 9:37, so we were a way adrift from them; but M1 could have won it by dropping Southgate.

As we rowed up past Stourbridge common I was surprised to see the number of off-Cam crews boating; but I think I remember this from last year. Not quite sure why this particular event attracts so much off-Cam interest. UEA, Norwich, Merton, a forces crew, Imperial, etc. We were marshalled just above the motorway bridge, and we got the non-towpath side, which made going for a pee tricky. I found that I could just roll enough to wee discretely over the side. We sat around for ages, it was grey overhead and cold. Then they send the first 12 crews up to spin and race; so we had a great vantage point for watching their starts. And a mixed bag they were too. Then our turn; we span, backed down a bit to give ourselves a run-up, and were off. City, ahead of us, managed to clip Grassy and we had the pleasure of overtaking them down the reach. Even better, we didn't fall apart whilst doing so.

Overall I'd rate the row "uneventful", which isn't intended as a compliment. Whilst it was fair enough, and we didn't slow ourselves down, we didn't do quite enough to speed ourselves up. Good points were a decent rating ~30-32 and a fairly consistent pace (starting at 1:50 I think, and dropping to around 2:00, but I lost the GPS track due to the watch being silly, argh) which says something for our fitness I think. And, though the balance wasn't fine, it was easily rowable. Bad points were shortness of strokes and a lack of ooph. However, for a second crew at this time of year it was pretty good.

Afterwards: breakfast in Tischka's, coffee in W'stones; meet MED in ex-Heffers artshop where we buy candlemaking stuff and Fimo (E is inspired by a lady there demonstrating swirly-pattern making on pencils). Then back to W'stones for coffee and more Surface Detail. Lose D's gloves, buy him and me some more.

Soir: to River Bar for Paul's Stag do. Which was good; but the less said the better.

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