The Club's Results

Head of the River Race, Lent Term 2012

A huge head race on the Tideway (tidal river Thames) over the University Boat Race course
Sat 17th March

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1st men's VIII, In3

202nd overall; 53rd in In3 category; Halladay position 51
Time: 19:59.3
I saw some M1 hands after this 6.8km race...
One guy did not seem particularly bothered that his hands were absolutely shredded. I only noticed them by accident and was quite shocked.
Other (more senior) M1 hands made me feel sorry only for the wooden oar handles that they were gripping and twisting.
This is the best part of rowing when you: look pain in the eye and stand your ground (or in the case of the guy with the shredded hands: remain cool and not even notice the pain's presence). Big admirer. (Ahmad)
With the crew only having a week to transition from Bumps racing to HORR, this was always going to be challenge. Off the start, we lacked some aggression, surging to 31/32 (this rate was pretty much constant throughout the race). Reading University came up quickly behind, but some strategic blade-clash under Barnes Bridge nullified the danger. The potential consequence of this was only realised when they walked past en masse after the race, murder in their eyes.

Preceding Hammersmith, we rowed with decent composure and timing, and coming up to Hammersmith, I actually believed we could pull off a good performance.

We then decided to blow up spectacularly, just in time to emerge from under Hammersmith Bridge to a headwind and choppy water.

This destroyed our cohesion, and we never really regained this for any significant period of time after technical lifts. The rate wind never really happened, and this sort of gear shift must be developed for Mays.

Overall, rather disappointing, but it leaves a drive to come back massive and angry. Bring on Mays! (Sam)
A few things to take away from this race:
1) Commemoration feast was probably the most delicious but not exactly the most productive crew pasta we've ever had.
2) It helps being awake for a 7k race. For some people, this might even involve getting more than 3 hours sleep.
3) Blade clashes are not fun. But as long as they're even less fun for the other boat you're still in business.
4) Rate 30 was way too low for this race. Not quite sure why we did that.
5) We still need to learn how to row in a headwind. Doh. (Yimin)
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2nd men's VIII, NOV

323rd overall; 28th in Novice category; Halladay position 94
Time: 20:50.89
Marshalling was a very interesting experience. About 10 stroked after pushing off people started complaining about their seats, and we discovered I'd put all 8 of them on the wrong way round, so whilst attempting to row to marshalling we tried to put them the right way around, which wasn't helped by the fact half of the crew didn't know how to take a seat off, only 6 of us were sucessful. Our attempts at marshalling were further handicapped by Josh's weak bladder meaning bow pair wern't always available to take strokes, and the fact a start mashall misinformed us about whether to cross the river resulting in us being on the wrong side. Ellie dealt admirably with all the chaos and somehow got us to the start line in the correct position.

So anyway, we row down towards the start and the race is on, we find outselves (despite the start order) being chased by Christ's II with Clare II behind them. After an initial burst we settle to rate 31, which we kept consistantly through out the whole race.

About 3 or 4 minutes in we find ourselves overtaking somone, this was an entirely novel concept to me, and was most enjoyable, we gained some speed pushing into, and then off the crew. About 4 minutes later the same thing happens again and we overtake another crew.

All this while christs have been gainingly slowly but steadily on us, they're still a comfortable distance away, however either they seem to take the speed up or we lose some speed, as they start gaining on us more rapidly, we go for a push to keep them off, and find ourselves overtaking another crew. Christs are gaining on us considerably now, and we end up with us and Christs sandwiching the other boat, and rowing 3 abreast.

Christs pull ahead and we continue overtaking this crew, however our boats drift closer together, and we find our blades overlapping, for a few strokes we are beatuifully in time with the other crew, us recovering as they drive, and our blades dance gracefully around eachother without colliding. However the inevitable blade clash happens, and I catch an overhead crab.

With JSBs assistance I recover within a few strokes, and we continue rowing through the other crew. However Clare who untill this point were a very comfortable distance behind have taking the opertunity to considrably close the gap.

Around this time the cox box has run out of batteries, and ellie is limited to shouting at the top of her lungs for stern 4 to hear. Around now I'm also feeling very tired and I have no indication of how long we've been rowing for due to the timer having died, and not knowing any of the tideway landmarks. I begin to worry about how much longer we have to row.

However in a couple of minutes we realise we're not far off the finish, and have a big push for the end. Clare have taken a bit more distance out of us, but we fight to keep them away and cross the line still ahead of them.

Our result wasn't excelent, and our race could have done with one fewer crab, and about twice as much cox box, however I feel we had a good row together (Though we did lose some speed in the third third as we got tired I'd say). I found my first experience on the tideway very exciting and enjoyable, and would say it was worth getting up at 4:45 for. (Jack)
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