Lost to Emma III by somewhere between 3 and 5 lengths only
[terming this "adventure report" would probably be more accurate]
After Bumps, we coxes turned our attention to the most important race of the year: Catz Cardinals. Our strict training plan advocated five outings in the VIII between the Saturday before the race and raceday, not to mention countless tubbing and coastal sessions beforehand. Needless to say Saturday's second session took place in the pub, Sunday was spent pottering about the river much to the entertainment of everyone in the vicinity, Monday pondering over costumes, we enjoyed Tuesday as a day off, and decorated fairy cakes on Wednesday.
The sun was out, our bribes were excellent, our costumes infallible, and good connections got us a by to the afternoon races. Victory was in the air as we sauntered down to the boathouse. Ellie most skillfully transformed us into fearsome lions, wacky headdress and lifejackets were donned, Ali sported some one piece long johns creation, conveniently red to blame any crashes on incompetent Maggie coxing, and the seediest hat he could find.
We had an excellent crashless row up to marshalling. There was entertainment in the form of rowing stern pair and 3 and 4 only, as well as some wonderfully confusing call which resulted in Alasdair being the only person rowing to get us round a corner. Unfortunately this did not turn the boat the wrong way.
We would have won the marshalling prize had there been one: Ali seeking the marshalls' attention with "OI!", raving it up riverside by playing music through the coxbox, being unable to describe our fancy dress theme to another equally baffling crew, and just general abuse of everything around us. And thus we headed off unto the Reach full of certainty that, having just perfected our roar, we would terrify the opposition into negative cover and dominate the event. All the way down the Reach we held the Spares pause-paddling behind us. This boded well.
Tit Hall chose flight over fight, and so we were served Geoboat, who unfortunately managed to talk their way into racing someone less imposing. The marshalls kindly gave us cowboys and aliens with whom to play. A worthier opponent.
And then the race occurred. We held them a quarter of a length up for the first stroke, that was exciting, before it became apparent that they could *actually* row. Spoilsports rowed through us with no attempt to look special. The rest of the race itself was rather uneventful: we all rowed at half-slide, I blew up before the Railings, Ali went in for a blade clash, Em shrieked on every stroke, and other spastic things most certainly happened.
The row home was some of the best paddling we'd done: Ali sung to us beautifully and got propositioned by a couple of barge owners, we took small naps inbetween strokes and performed very accurate slap-catches; Lianne would be most proud. Thornton then decided we should look like real rowers and demanded pause-paddling followed by low rate work. The latter was outstanding if one discounts the rush creeping in every fourth stroke. So much so that someone in the Clare II Blue Boat felt the need to strip.
Having recovered from all this exertion with crew Tatties, we have now set our sights on entering May Bumps and overbumping a silly figure to Head of the River 2012. Caius, watch out!