The Club's Results
Cambridge Winter Head, Mich Term 2014
A timed head race over 2500m, from the Motorway bridge to the Penny Ferry pub.
Sat 15th November
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We had a lot of fun marshaling for this - or at least I did. I think that I found my jokes funnier than anybody else.... After sitting in queues most of the way down to the start, about half an hour late, we were racing. A fairly good start, hitting about 36 off the wind and settling down to a solid 33 or so, and moving through the corners we were moving on the crew in front. We were about a length down through Ditton, and we slowly moved on them up the Reach. We were about half a length up and pushing hard off them just past the Railway Bridge when there was a slight "incident" between the boats. Once I got back on my seat and recovered my blade we started moving again, but never really got back into our rhythm - I don't think it helped that my toes were in the heel cups and my heels were in the footwell. Thankfully there were only 500m or so left, and we spacked across to the finish. I'm pretty happy with the result - being 25s behind the fastest college crew, in a scratch 8 and given the circumstances, I think isn't the worst place to be.
This was a highly enjoyable race with a slightly unfortunate end. Having moved well of the start and through the corners we gained on the crew in front, starting to pass them as we approached the railway bridge. With neither boat willing to cede the racing line and the other crew without space to maneuver, several blades clashed before Barney caught the slowest crab imaginable as his oar was slowly swallowed up under the other crew's bow. Our restart lacked the same intensity as the previous 2k, but shouldn't overshadow what a good race and warm-up we had.
This was fun, though I was definitely not smiling during the race, despite supposed "evidence" to the contrary.
Thankfully we spent a little less time marshaling this time round. We had another good row down to the start, if not quite as good as the first races. We set off at a slightly higher rate, but kept it strong, reaching the 1k post in the same time as the first race. We settled down into a good rhythm on the Reach, but the first race had definitely taken its toll on the 6 of us rowing for a second time. This race, thankfully, was incident-free, and so we wound for the finish and crossed the line, it turns out, 2s slower than the first time round. Good consistency at least...
We pushed off at the marshalling time, but thanks to some excellent pleading, including the lines: 'we're really fast', 'Someone was held up in traffic' and 'please' were allowed down for the division anyway.
With a raceplan of 'set off at 34 and then sag to 32' we were pleasantly surprised to find the rate was holding nicely down the course.
Along plough reach we had the enjoyment of watching KCL fail to get round Grassy.
The overall sentiment at the end was that the boat was pleasantly rowable, and that all available power had been applied.
Further training in the pub will however be required to meet the 10 outing requirement.
1st in Category, 77th
Proud MLBC right here - rowed well with great intensity, and had a remark from a novice boat bank party that we were a senior crew. Still things to work on, but looking good in preparation for Clare Novices and Fairbairns!
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.
First race for me, how exciting! After a very frantic and messy start (everyone setting out at different rates, basically) we settled into a more controlled rhythm, which we managed to keep up throughout most of the race.
The first part felt really long and when Tom told us "halfway there", I had to make a concerted effort not to lose my calm, but the second half of the race flew away really fast. We had a moment of grace towards the finish, powering it down together, I could feel the boat speeding up, and one of the senior rowers at the stern shouted "yeaaaaaaaaaaaah!" After it was finished I was left wanting for more moments like that!
A great beginning to a budding rowing career...It is an amazing experience getting up to race speed we were asked to get it up to at least 27 -28 strokes I think and we responded in kind and for the first half it seemed to be going along quite well. I think we were all in time but I don't really know, I remember telling myself just focus on number four (Mike) - what is he doing? Am I out of time or is he? A couple of us shouted out to spur the crew on, I was trying to focus on something, "what did Neil say: separation?, Barney told me once is it arms - back - legs?" Most of that was lost in a blur..."The cox, what is he saying?" I looked forward and saw Martin go through a strange and frantic movement, 'is this a crab?' he looks like he is on his seat, no he isn't but he's still attempting to keep time with the crew. He holla's out but manages to recover his seat but you can feel the boat slow and it responds differently. We get it back up to speed again and then we have another frantic effort from Martin. I'm a novice and I'm just trying to focus on the basics of timing and getting the blade out as best as I can, I want to square the blade early but the boat leans to bow which seems impossible to do because I hit the surface of the water early with my blade. Then I feel my timing go out because the boat does something else and my seat slides, I lurch back and I end up just trying to do something that resembles effort. "Bring it back, focus on Mike what is he doing?" I think someone caught a mini crab in bow? The last 500 meters and we are doing what we can to bring it home and then it is over. I'm exhausted but in a strange way, incredibly euphoric over the whole experience. I've got some kind of buzz and wondering when the next time is. Addiction? Certainly not! I'm looking down the length of the boat at my crew and I've got an incredible sense of pride towards them "NM3" - #$@! yeah!! My first race, lots of adrenaline and certainly a lot to take in but all worth it and a chance to look forward to the next event.
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