The Club's Results
Mich Term 2014
1st men's novice VIII
A slightly belated race report (week 6 was hard and then I just procrastinated), but hopefully the memory is still fresh!
This was NM1s first ever race (except if you count Queens Ergs) and as such we had no idea what do expect. I was definitely excited, but also somewhat concerned about what would happen to our technique, given that we had been rating significantly lower in all of our outings. Catarina's race plan was to stay at rate 28 throughout, give it as much as we could and just hope that everything stayed together. (Patrick's race plan was not to catch a crab - we all have different goals in life).
The marshalling before hand was hilarious, with Catarina repeatedly commenting on the incompetence of the marshals and the other crews - one crew was told to spin (or just spun, I dont know) between us and another crew moored up alongside the towpath, which resulted in an ominous sound and a scratch on the Black Prince we were rowing in as their stern scraped the side of our boat. I remember Catarina letting off a sort of pained yelp at that point (you must start to feel at one with the boat as a cox, I guess). We also witnessed a squad of about 20 Johns novices (all in red lycra) trying to fit into an eight - quite entertaining.
After all of the crews had marshalled, however, things went pretty fast (albeit half an hour behind schedule - as a Natsci it just seems that you have to choose between rowing and lectures anyway). We stored all of our kit into a remarkably dry hold (that all of the novice boats seem to lack for some reason), wished NM2 good luck, and paddled off towards the start line under the motorway bridge.
We accelerated up to race rate a few strokes before the start line, and then things start to get blurred. I remember the first few hundred metres being quite wobbly as we were trying to find our rhythm, but then I felt it improve significantly and we had an amazing 1000 metres of racing (although the video of the race which shows bow six out of time with stern pair would seem to indicate otherwise, I think that we all agreed that it felt good and the speed was quite exhilarating - I found myself smiling maniacally throughout that whole time - maybe I wasn't quite pushing hard enough :P ). We were told by our bank party before and during the race that we could and would overtake the crew in front of us, so I think that that really gave us a constant incentive throughout that first part of the race.
Things started to get significantly messier around Ditton (the corner didn't help to sit the boat, which I think left both sides significantly more winded - all credits to Catarina's racing line though, which was great throughout the whole course, although by the sounds of it most of M1 would beg to differ). Anyway I think I caught a couple of mini mini crabs (dont know how to qualify these in any other way - the oar is still in front but momentarily drags in the water - and overall the technique was not quite as good down the reach.
Just before the kink in the reach, I spotted the stern of the Christs boat which had had at least a 30 second lead on us at the start, and I shouted 'Come on boys, we can do this', which in hindsight probably didn't help the rowing, but might have given us more will to go on. We overtook them fairly quickly, although I believe that we were slowed down a bit by a blade clash on stroke side. And then we were sailing past them, and then we were under the railway bridge, all of us elated and pushing hard once again. We almost dropped the speed down before the finish line because we had no idea where the finish line was but held it until the end and then slumped, exhausted and intensely happy, into our seats. I think that the first person to talk after that was Patrick, who hadn't caught a crab and must have justified Jesus dying on the cross for the first time in Catarina's eyes. I remember basically not being able to hold on to my oar handle and just being glad to sit the boat for a few strokes.
Regardless of what the result might have been, I think that we were all extremely happy about the race - overtaking that boat was the highest point of my novice term so far. And then, when we found out the results (we would receive engraved hip-flasks, NM2 beat most of the NM1s, even NM3 - with a jammed seat - came ahead of Robinson NM1, and of course Maggie was far behind - crabs every five strokes or so does tend to slow down a crew-), some of us tried as hard as they could to forget that we had even raced that day.
Beat Queen's (~3 to 4 lengths)
Beat Darwin (~ 1 1/2 lengths)
Beat Jesus (~ 3 lengths)
Beat LMBC (~ 3/4 length)
1. NW1 and NM1 + coache...