beat LMBC (9s)
At the beginning of term we decided that winning Uni IVs would be quite nice, and planned to have lots of outings and train hard in order to achieve this goal. All was going well until about two weeks ago when the entire crew succumbed one by one (from cox to bow - I blame Magnus) to freshers' flu. And then Catherine injured her wrist and wasn't allowed to row for a few weeks. And then Erica tore her quad. And then I managed to get glass in my foot which required minor surgery. And two days later I jetted off over the pond, only arriving back on the morning of our first race. Race preparation was certainly not ideal, with no outings for over two weeks. Arse. To top it all off, we drew LMBC in the first round.
Still optimistic, we merrily rowed down to the start, intimidating the red scum by repeatedly catching them up during paddling. Our firm pressure was somewhat less effective, but we took ground off the start and opened up a length of clear water before the bridge and finished around two lengths clear. Definitely not one of our better rows, but enough to seal a comfortable victory. Hopefully tomorrow we'll get our act together a bit better; I can certainly work on my pre-race preparation of Hersheys, Liquorice Allsorts, Crunchie mini bites and no sleep. :)
Rhythm was pretty good, power was there, but we just weren't very well sat for more than 5 strokes anywhere (which is something of an achievement at race rating!). Nevertheless, the start was well together and we took water on LMBC from the stride and continued to push past them until the Railway Bridge, where they were a length clear water down and moved across into our wake, cutting the corner and effectively admitting defeat. They hung on from there to remain a length off our stern for most of the rest of the race. The boat felt very heavy in the second half and we didn't make the victory as convincing as it should have been. However, a clear win and a row we look forward to improving on tomorrow.
To these very valid reports I can only add that the next race should be better given I have not overdosed on proplus and slept more than an hour.
I felt that our paddling was probably faster than our racing but even the paddling turned sour at times. Whether we manage to reschedule the race against SSBC (they two rowers down) today or go straight through to the semis, we are facing what my DoS calls a 'steep learning curve'...
mashed bananas (7s)
Wicked! A very pleasing row and an even better result. My crew pasta victory-inspired pudding of banana split with marshmallows and chocolate sauce tasted extra sweet.
A fantastic, solid race. We took a quarter length off Clare right from the start and then steadily pushed away. They fought bravely, and coming around the last corner they put in a heroic final effort. As it turned out, though, this bunch of bananas had passed their sell-by date. Their pushes were matched consistently and with each counter-push we sent them further down. By the finish line we were still a good two lengths clear, and showed no sign of flagging. All in all a good crew effort which bodes well for tomorrow's racing.
What improvement on Monday! This race was quite fun, actually, although still not what one would call tidy. Given Clare's solid performance in their previous races our pre race chat and row up were not characterised by our usual obnoxious yet endearing confidence. After our suboptimal racing and paddling on Monday we were prepared for a very tough race. Consequently, I was a bit surprised that we so thoroughly dominated. At no point after the wind did I feel like we were not going to win this race. We seemed to cope much better in the raging head/cross wind so they only ever came close to pushing back once we were in the wind shadow of the railway bridge.
Considering we were consistently ahead off the start, we were much impressed by Clare's tenacity to really go for it but once they got too close we obviously had to put a stop to that.
Our worthy Magnus did some adventurous coxing and shouted himself horse. Hopefully tonight's crew pasta and banana split should soothe his voice back into action for our showdown with Newnham tomorrow.
Clare have been talking themselves up (or perhaps have been talked up by over-confident supporters) all term, and put in an excellent showing at Autumn Head, so we were prepared for a good hard row today.
We went off hard (took half a length).
We pushed hard to the Railway Bridge (took another half).
We pushed hard out of the Railway Bridge (took another quarter).
At this point they realised they were in danger of losing and gave it everything in their death throes. We wavered slightly, but as their push fizzled out they dropped back again and our rhythm returned, taking us through Top Finish about two lengths up. Yes!!
winners! - beat Newnham (6s)
From a distance it looked like our ladies had something of a tough start, but they seemed to make up ground rather quickly (and on the outside of the bend). By the time they passed me near the railway bridge, they seemed to be in control of the race, with a better rhythm and the bend about to turn to their advantage. They kept pulling ahead with every stroke, to a maximum distance of perhaps half a length's clear water. Magnus then had to steer around a barge that had cleverly parked itself to take away the best racing line, and Newnham began inching back. The girls were too nails to let it slip away, though, and held their lead at around a length (or perhaps a bit more, I stopped jogging about 50 yards short of the finish). Awesome job!! But Catherine, you seriously need to work on your high-five technique :-)
This was our toughest match of the week. Newnham had a good start and we didn't, so they were three quarters up on us before we knew what was happening. They stayed there, though, and over a gruelling long reach we started to inch back up. A ten stroke push round the reach "corner" had us back were we belong, and as we passed the pink house it was time to unleash our secret weapon - the Two Man Push. As soon as their two rower got level with me, the girls gave it everything they had and we got clear of them. As their cox started to panic, we cruised under the railway bridge and then into our big lift. After that they didn't stand a chance. Like Clare they fought bravely and were starting to make up distance again when we wound for the finish, but it just wasn't good enough to match us. Congratulations girls on a really impressive performance - ultimately this race was won on sheer killer instinct.
We knew Newnham would be tough, and were prepared for them to go hard off the start; this had been their very effective tactic in earlier rounds. However, I hadn't quite expected them to take a whole half length off the start, and increase this to three quarters of a length by about a third of the way down the reach, as we spacked, spannered and shipwrecked in the gusting wind. Fortunately we remembered how to row, and also remembered that we quite wanted to win this race, and digging deep, began to come back at them. By the end of the push we were back on terms, perhaps even slightly up, and this gave us the incentive to start rowing properly again. Magnus' brilliantly timed Two (wo)Man Push asserted our dominance as we settled into a powerful rhythm and continued to pull away, such that we were three-quarters of a length up at the Railway Bridge. Our 'Locomotive' push out of the bridge sealed their fate as Runners Up, and after this point, despite their valiant attempts to come back at us, we maintained our lead and stormed to Top Finish with a six second margin of victory. Looking back at the website results archives, we haven't won this event since 1994 (when most of the crew were still at junior school - scary)! This was also the last time we had a girl as overall captain. :)
A very satisfying row and pleasing result; even better to see the Light IV dominate in their final shortly afterwards. Rah rah First and Third!
The first few strokes of this race were a little disheartening. Newnham went very hard off the start and took an early lead of almost a length as we spacked around trying to cope with large gusts of wind and find a rhythm. However, their early burn strategy - perhaps ideal for most rounds of the university fours, in which typically one crew dominates from the start while the other is left demoralised in their wake - didn't pay off when faced with a crew who don't give up under pressure. We found the rhythm coming round the small bend in the Reach, and pushed through them steadily as they flagged after their efforts in the first few strokes. Magnus called the killer push as he passed their two-girl, and from there we didn't look back except to see their bow-loaded cox growing gradually more frantic. We lengthened out to show them some clear water after the Railway Bridge and responded well to their final push, which made little indent in our lead. A very satisfying, properly side-by-side row.
This was a massively satisfying race. I don't remember the last time a 1300m race left me quite that paralysed and coughing.
Where the huge headwind had been in our *comparative* advantage against Clare on Thursday the unpredictable gusts of wind clearly did us no good. Lilie says that from the Railway Bridge it looked like Newnham, starting on the towpath side, were benefiting from wind shelter but, honestly speaking, this is still no excuse for our start. The Newnham crew went off gracefully in their bow-loader while we took until well into our stride to find something even close to racing form. I must say that at this point - we were as mentioned still 3/4 length down - there were a couple of strokes when I was doubting who would be carrying home the Uni Medals. But no matter how the race was going to end, we would not make it easy for them, especially considering how much we had winged about never having had much of an opposition in our races in May Term. So I stopped thinking about medals and started thinking about what it felt like to push yourself and to row with these girls. We started to cope better with the gusts as Newnham were coming to the end of their sprinting start...
We pushed our rhythm relentlessly underrating Newnham by quite a bit and slowly inched back on them. As we were level with their 2-girl, Magnus did his mother (myself) and former CUBC coach Mark Hall proud when reapplying the famed 'Two Man Push' outside its 1993 boatrace setting. Over pasta and banana split the previous night, I had related this all-time-favourites coxing story and we had joked about using it in the race. It worked incredibly well. Within strokes we had clear water and did not relinquish the lead until we hit top fininsh.
Rowing through a crew that pulls out a comfortable lead on you off the start... good feeling! As was shouting the boys on to more First and Third victory. A spontaneous cake and port celebration post-medal ceremony and the invention of some new German and French verbs (wiederkitten, rekitter/dékitter/ékitter) to do with putting kit on and off while marshalling in Plough Reach as well as Dan H coming back from Middle Earth rounded this off as a very very happy day.
Pia>> This was a massively satisfying race. I
Pia>> don't remember the last time a 1300m race
Pia>> left me quite that paralysed and coughing.
Hmm. Pull harder, perhaps?