The Club's Results

Boston Marathon, Summer 2008

Quadruple sculls, BPBC Renegade Masters (MxE4x)

Quadruple sculls
bow (steers) Emily Booker 2 Tom Rose
3 Jon Davies str Erica Thompson
Third Overall and Mixed Quad Course Record
Time: 3:33:04
The forecast had been for a reasonable cross-headwind, so our spirits were high when the wind was light on the day. We were using the Rob Roy Empacher quad, which is an old but fairly stiff boat. The missing rudder was a cause for concern, but the boat corners reasonably well, and Emily's superb steering calls meant that we took the racing line whenever possible and we never had to stop. We'd probably have caught a lot more weed with the rudder as well.

The scull to the lock was uneventful, setting solid splits. The portage at the lock was reasonably quick, and we set off strongly, spurred on by the men's quads which had closed up in the first 13km. The rate held up pretty well around 24-5, and strategy of breaks every half hour seemed to be working well as the men's quads (which were making fewer stops) dropped back.

At the half way point we were on for 3:30. Unfortunately we had a few minor incidents in the second half - weed on the rudder (twice) and crabs (three) - although these probably only cost us a minute between them. Tom was unable to eat during the last couple of stops, and with 10km to go was starting to run out of fuel. We pressed on anyway, a little slower than before, but still certain of taking the record. Eventually we reached the last straight, then the last kilometre and then the finish, in 3 hours 33 minutes, beating all course records for mixed quads.

Tom was in a pretty bad way, so we took him to the St. John ambulance paramedics, who described him as "presenting very limply"!?! Jelly Babies were the miracle cure, and 15 minutes later he was doing much better.

We raced as Rob Roy/Imperial College/Wallingford, so unfortunately Black Prince don't get credited with the record. (JPD)
The BPBC Elite Mixed Quad had been mooted some months beforehand but failed to find a convenient regatta at which to race, so we were left with the Boston Marathon as our first and only outing as a crew. However, with Jon's unbeaten record in this event we were confident and set off well within our target pace. Due to Emily's excellent steering, a good lock traverse, decent rhythm and only a few minor setbacks, we reached half way on track for a 3:30 finish and moving slowly but surely away from the pack of men's quads who had closed on us in the first part of the race. At this point I was starting to feel pretty good, as we had settled into a better rhythm after the lock and my hamstrings were complaining less than before. Tom, on the other hand, was running out of fuel having started feeling sick post-lock and not being able to eat anything. He manfully pushed through the hypoglycaemia and finished "presenting limply"! Luckily a speedy recovery was made.

We knocked 16 minutes off the course record for Elite Mixed 4x and pleasingly also beat the new holders of the Men's S1 4x course record by 15 seconds!

[For reference, the rate was 24 to the lock, 26 for about 6k following the lock, then 24/25 until about 10k to go, at which point we went up to 28/29 for a couple of k and back down again to 25 after we realised this posed difficulties for steering and food retention.] (Erica)
Unfortunately I took Ingers' advice a little too seriously, and put in a really hard third quarter. I'd been feeling pretty sick since the lock (about 1/4 of the way in) and had only managed to eat something in the first four breaks - trusting to energy drink for the rest. Clearly this wasn't quite enough as I went from feeling quite optimistic at 12km to go to feeling like I would chunder at the front end every stroke from about 8km to go. Thankfully the pain in my arse was enough to ignore the pain in my legs so I was able to keep going. The tactic of shutting my eyes and just concentrating on timing and length for most of the final 5km worked well, although my prayers for the sight of another marker whenever I opened them often went unanswered.

Apologies to the rest of the crew for the misjudgement, but I am pretty pleased with the result and this is definitely the most satisfying way to row this race - ie. attack it pretty hard and hold on. A good time is made by nailing the first two hours (!) and keeping going as best you can, not by being conservative and having a big negative fade for the last 30 mins. What to do for the third hour, which I have ignored in this assessment, is left as an exercise to the reader.

The rest of the crew were superb - unbelievably solid rhythm for a scratch crew set up by Erica, brilliant steering from Emily, and that ever reliable powerful backup that is JPD - with him in the boat you always have the confidence to go that extra (31) mile (s). (RTT)

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