The Club's Results

Cambridge Rowing Triathlon, Mich Term 2001

BPBC Multisport 1st IV

BPBC 1st men's IV
bow Clive Ponsonby 2 Mark Crawford
3 Dan Darley str Kevin Backhouse

Coxed by: A. Amouyel

2nd overall
Time: 1:58:41
"Siberian headwinds, bike formation muddles,
Sprinting past scullers and through shitty puddles;
Crippling leg cramps and a flesh wound that stings
These are just some of my favourite things.

Blasting along as a formation comet
Sickly-sweet sports drinks that cause me to vomit
Blood covered Lycra and a sweatshirt that mings
These are a few of my favourite things."

[With profuse apologies to Judy Garland....]


After the BPBC successes of Friday's Fairbairns, Sunday saw BPBC's much-vaunted, long-awaited challenge for the crown of the Cambridge Rowing Triathlon. Buoyed up by their performances in Friday's BPBC 1st VIII (Darley, Backhouse) and 2nd VIII (Ponsonby, Crawford), boosted by some practicing of wobble management and turbo-spinning in a IV on Saturday afternoon and fuelled by a half-hundredweight of Pickard's chicken fajitas, the juggernaut that has become BPBC Multisport rolled on into Sunday's festival of pain...

Could we win it? The question I'd been asked many times in our braggadocio build-up had always produced the same answer. We could, and it would take an outstanding performance from somebody else to to stop us. In such glib comments often dwells a good quantity of truth....

The competition, from the entry sheet and on arrival at the unlikely start point of the Stow-cum-Quy roundabout on the old A1303 Newmarket Rd, looked relatively mediocre, almost disappointing. Our chief opposition, we believed, lay in the Rob Roy double scull of Sideshow Bob and Lloyd-Grossman lookalike, Pete Bance. We'd noticed a couple of "Westminster School" entries at the foot of the bill, but figured that we could rapidly terminate any challenge mounted by a bunch of spoilt, pimply, oily ticks.

Quite definitely before we knew it, we were away on the shorter-than-expected, 14-mile bike leg. Within three cranks of the start we were all over the place as our carefully-planned formation disintegrated in the face of some crap starting by the organisers. However, as the cunning "Diamond with the Spinning Head" reformed and began its Teflon-slick rotations, we found ourselves scything through the field ahead and clocking out a comfortable 25mph into the icy headwind. For Kev, it was just another cycle to the shops. Dan began some serious wheezing after 100 yards but managed to get going properly by the turnaround point just outside Newmarket - just as my legs started to go hyper-lactic. Meanwhile, Clive (hiding in the the capacious vacuum at the back) seemed to be having a very leisurely time of it, and even my attempts to dislodge him with an inadvertently-dropped, Barnes-Wallis waterbottle failed to bugger up his day. We finished the cycle in 35 mins dead, which emerged as the fourth fastest cycle leg of the day. At this stage, Sideshow Bob was closing on us....

Then came the run - down into Fen Ditton and Baitsbite Lock, and up the towpath to the boathouses - a flat, but decidedly sludgy, 7 miles. Here is where we made our real move on the oppo. By Fen Ditton, only the early-starting scullers lay ahead, and we took down more of our "minutemen" with every stride. Behind us, the waddling Sideshow Bob disappeared in our vapour trail. Some more poor Lucozade-loading saw me repeat my Marlow chunder performance, fortunately out of sight of our massed helpers and supporters at the Motorway Bridge (Mr & Mrs Pickard, Mrs Backhouse and Fisher, A. Gay Ingram had failed to appear on the towpath after the FaT dinner...booze? Doris? Bloke??). Clive started some top grimacing at the Plough and wins a part-share of the day's "Toughing It Out" prize for making it home to Goldie without collapsing. Our run time of 46:59 was the day's third-fastest.

More importantly, we had nothing in front of us by now. The oppo, it seemed, lay in tatters behind us. The River was ours to use as we liked (I vomited into it again). At this stage, it could all have gone so horribly wrong. We were all shattered, and now being asked by top-notch FaT cox Alex to row the Fairbairns and back - fast. However, it all held together and we charged towards the Reach at 30-32. At the P&E, I noted that my left hand was feeling particularly sticky and liquid but put it down to sweat, and became more concerned with stabbing pains from my quads that felt more like deep-vein thromboses. We span at ludicrous speed at the M/way Bridge and set off on the final charge home, to cheers from our loyal bank support. Out technique was reduced to that of a threshing machine by Chesterton, but we now no longer cared. We were nearly home. We finished the row in 36:42, the day's second-fastest, and the course in 1:58:41 - a winning time in many years and, we believe, the fastest-ever CRT time in a IV.

My left palm, it emerged, had been reduced to a pulp of skinned flesh. I would attribute this partially to switching sides from Friday, but primarily to piss-poor technique.

There we had it. Nothing finished behind us for ages. As far as we could see, we'd won it. We went super-happy, and I even started to talk of "doing a Blackburn" - ie getting a blade made up for winning a tinpot event.

And then we found out. We'd been beaten by a bloody single sculler. Suspecting a timing error, we enquired further, but not for too long, as we found out that said sculler was James Stephenson, airhead surf-dude "helper" at Westminster School, winner by a huge margin at the Marlow Triathlon and 3rd in his class at the London Triathlon this year. Disappointing as it was, it was a fair cop. It HAD taken an outstanding performance to beat us. We'd even seen off the challenge from the "Westminster" IV, containing GB Lightweight Ian Watson and 3 ex-Blues (who only beat us by a few secs on the row, amazingly). We won hip flasks for the fastest 4x/4+/4- category.

There you have it. BPBC Multisport now goes into its chrysalis to regenerate, but will emerge bigger and stronger in the spring. We'll see you all then. (The Crawfster)

Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter
If you have any comments or suggestions please email the webmaster. Click here to switch to the darker, gold on blue, design. If you log in as a First and Third member, you can set a preference for a color scheme on your profile.
^ top