The Club's Results

Lent Term 2015

2nd men's VIII

Cambridge Head-2-Head (2nd Mays)

12th
Time: 14:26
The race started in the standard moderate and entertaining confusion (at least, I enjoyed myself) as we tried to overtake a selection of crews gently drifting into barges in order to find our marshalling position before waiting for a couple of innumerate others (I believe amusingly Christ's and Queens' M2s - maybe they wanted to practice getting bumped) to start their race out of order ahead of us.  

We settled onto our race pace without too much bother and to our surprise had a pleasant and predominantly balanced row through to the corners where we were pleasingly told we were gaining on the crew in front. A bit of effort, a very tight line (well done Liv!) and some shouting to Christ's later and we were past, blades overlapping but not clashing. Buoyed up by this success we rowed it nicely through the Motorway Bridge and then got tucked in and out of the boat for some light conversation and marzipan refuelling.

The way back with a marginal crew change started us rocky and I felt increasingly sorry for stroke side but by the corners we were back on the balance and felt like we were moving well. By the reach it was obvious that we were moving on Queens' and much aggressive shouting was necessary to get their cox to clear the racing line. We rowed right through them and had a decent attack at the finish line on the legs not the rate to round off a decent race.
(John)
Despite a rushed start due to being held up on the way to marshalling, we settled into a strong rhythm quickly and held it for the duration of the first leg. An overtake of Christ's M2 brought some excitement, but we held our composure well. We took the rate up a couple of pips for the second leg, and after a rocky start it became very solid- leading to another overtake, this time of Queen's M2. After only rowing together for a couple of weeks, to be the joint fastest M2 (with Caius) is very exciting. (Ben)
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Newnham Short Course (2nd VIIIs)

3rd in Category, 9th Overall
Time: 7:23
An eventful day for sure. After troubles with the speaker system in the boat the previous day, Liv was audible for around one minute before it cut out again. RTT gave her a megaphone to attempt to cox with, but this was limited in its effectiveness, leading to most of the race calls coming from the bank. Marshalling in the snow for 20 minutes was an interesting experience, but we had the pleasure of Maggie M2 blasting some tunes from Frozen through their coxbox.

The race itself was 'reasonable'- we were able to sustain around 32 whilst being fairly together, the sit was good, and we were all quite tired by the end. Some lifts out of Grassy, Ditton and for the finish had mixed effectiveness, but the lift towards the end was very strong (indicating we probably could have pushed harder for the rest of the race). We certainly have the potential to be the fastest M2- with a working coxbox we would definitely have made up the 3 seconds between us and Maggie M2.
(Ben)
With a barely functioning cox box promptly turning into a non-functioning cox box very early on in the outing we knew this was going to be a fun race. Marshalling took rather longer than we were hoping for and by the time we pushed off my fingers were royally frozen, making the paddle to the lock even more painful than usual. We also decided that we had to win otherwise Thornton wouldn't get his t-shirt.

Upon getting to the lock and Rose catching us we proceeded to play around with tape and loud speaker in a vain and foolish attempt to get some audio to the bows. Sadly this was more amusing than functional and we had to rely on our ever-audible bank party to call our pushes for us. A lacklustre handful of strokes out of grassy made our Plough Reach burn more of a damp squib but we had a slightly better lift out of Ditton for the Reach. On hearing we had but 20 strokes left, magically the effort levels increased by more than they had any right to, as did the boat speed. As Ben points out, this is something which needs to be corrected. We crossed the finish line and then witnessed the disturbing result of Maggie crossing the line with overlap on Jesus; it turned out they only had 3s on us in the end.
(John)
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Robinson Head (Men's 2nd)

Fastest M2, 6th Overall
Time: 7:41
What an amazing race. Felt fantastic for the duration, rating an extremely solid 33/34, connecting well at the front and applying power in uniform, we really flew down the course. Even Declan said it was "ok", a huge compliment from him.  

We were surprised to discover Neil in the gut, who had ran all the way up there and then ran all the way along the course with us- we couldn't have achieved this result without Neil, so it was great that he made it.  

Let's keep this progress up and push for the win next weekend at Pembroke (though it will be an exciting race if we come up against Maggie M2 there, as they were just +1s on us here...).
(Ben)
I arrived at the Motorway Bridge rather more hot and bothered than I intended, having tried to be clever on my way down to Grassy and instead getting terribly lost (I thank the GPS on my phone for not missing the race). As a corollary it meant I had a good 3 or so practice strokes before we wound it up for the race. With Rosemary in the cox's seat we wanted, if not to impress, at least not embarrass ourselves, and luckily things went well; it felt good. To our surprise, it didn't even fall apart that badly. Maybe we're finally learning how to use our legs.

Half way down the course we heard a voice which sounded very like Neil's. We knew it couldn't be, however, as he'd spent the afternoon driving to Whittlesey to fit a tow bar to his car so we could go to Peterborough the day after (hero!). Post race it turned out it was indeed Neil running along the bank in what looked like jeans and a jumper; it transpired he'd got a lift to the river on the back of Rachel's bike. It has also been reported that a substantial amount of fluid left his mouth at the P&E; another accolade?

While a margin of more than 1s would make us feel a bit more comfortable, it makes the victory that much the sweeter and takes the edge of losing by 3s the week before.
(John)
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Head of the Nene (IM3 VIIIs)


Time: 17:26
The most important thing about this race is that it happened at all. Neil spent the previous day getting a tow bar attached to his car before we even knew if we had a trailer; City got back to us at the 11th hour and let us use theirs which had been languishing behind our boathouse for the last month or so. Panic over. Except the boats weren't on the trailer yet. And who were we expecting at the train station? Felix said he was coming with us, right, and people with 9ams were getting the car? Oh and Bence is ill so Rob's coming instead. And Thornton isn't coming so we have to get Tom Herbert BR membership. So we'll need to make a substitution. But he won't have his card... Also, apparently you're not allowed to take bikes on the train from Ely to Peterborough without a reservation. And btw, Connor's been throwing up on the train and might not be able to race.

But in the end we got there, and even the delayed party getting the non direct train arrived before the trailer (and those in the first party who got lost on the way to the river). We got everything put back together just in time to become slightly worried about the time penalty for pushing off late (which meant only a lucky few got lunch), and then had a fun paddle down to the start line. We had Neil in the boat instead of Ben, and put him at stroke, so we (I say we...) enjoyed some very low rate paddling and finally got some ratio. We finally understood exactly what people meant when they said 'there are no landmarks on the Nene'. It turns out there aren't. Occasional pylons, fences, one bridge and a couple of shallow corners. And a road. There weren't even any sheep. On that note M2 did enjoy singing 'Swing Low' at M1's 7 man as we passed them while marshalling...

When we finally started racing (with Connor in the boat - credit where it's due!) it started well. We wound to 31 or so and held it there pretty serenely for the first half of the race, with a fair push off the bridge. Highlights included passing a University of Essex crew with the first 3 seats well up on the bank. It must have taken that really sharp corner a little bit late... Oh wait it was perfectly straight. After the bridge it got really shaky; I'm told there was a lot of wash, which partly explains it, and also tiredness led to a lack of togetherness. Whatever it was, we lost the sit and with it moderate boatspeed. And Neil shredded his thumb. And someone left their hatch cover open.

On the whole though, there's little to complain about; 19s off M1 and smashed Catz M1 and Homerton M1.

Thankfully the return journey was a lot smoother; M1 left before M2 had our crew chat, following which the car was loaded and left and the second train group arrived back in Cambridge at about the same time as the first lot finished putting the boats back together. Big thanks to Neil for making it all happen!
(John)
Today a hatch cover, tomorrow a porthole. (Neil T)
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Pembroke Regatta (2nd division)

1st round
Bye
A trivial victory, which merits a report from a desire for completeness. (John)
2nd round
Beat Darwin M2
We successfully managed to be late to just about every stage of marshalling here as a great importance was given to doing our frontstops builds and other stationary exercises, and rather lesser importance to the marshal telling us to row down. Our start under the bridge was reasonable, and we continued down to First Post Corner doing exercises and confusing the hell out of Darwin (following us down).

Easy race; Neil had warned us many times before the race that we were to take Darwin as seriously as we would anybody else. I think we did, and our start was speedy, even if it were rocky and rather messy. We quickly gained the length and half or so we needed before we strode it down. And then strode it down again. And again. By the time we got to the line Declan and I felt like we wanted to be rowing at 18; I suspect it was more like 26. (John)
Quarter finals
Beat Emmanuel M2
Emma had beaten us by 3s a couple of weeks before at Newnham Short so we didn't need telling not to underestimate them. Our clever pleading with the marshal that actually she wanted us to pull in by the P&E worked and we rekitted, refuelled and went searching for adequate shrubbery (it turns out everything has been cut down until past the Railway Bridge, to my annoyance). Predictably, they forgot about us and we were sufficiently slow pushing off that we succeeded in being rather late to Plough Reach this time as well. And then we were late pushing off from there, leaving Emma to shiver a bit longer.

The race was quite exciting for the first minute; we took moderate distance off our start (a vast improvement on the first race) but Emma stayed broadly with us. As Tom pointed out, we were stabbing the water a trifle more than it perhaps merited. We used our lead to push them further away and a few strokes later we were clear and out of their sight and they gave in. We strode it down a couple of times and paddled over the line in safety.
(John)
Semi finals
Beaten by LMBC M2
3s at Fairbairns, 3s at Newnham in their favour. 1s at Robinson in ours. How much did we want this? We knew this was the race of the day, and so it proved; Caius lost by 2.5 lengths in the final.

True to form, we were late pushing off and spinning from the P&E, although we quickly caught up with the slow crews on the Reach. We did a 3/4 pressure start under the Railway Bridge which felt composed, smooth and stable. We actually got our finishes out. Buoyed up by how good this felt we paddled up quite slowly but relatively elegantly. We contrived as much of a delay as we could before pushing off for the race (the marshal here was quite insistent).

We did our start and it was ok. I think they edged out a seat on the start; they were slightly out of my view. We strode and took it back. We raced side by side with very little variation down the reach, and matched their push with ours, as they did ours. We came under the bridge and they took a seat or two on the inside of the corner. Up to this point it's been a good race and nobody could tell which way it was going to go. Under the bridge our rowing disintegrated slightly with the tiredness and the frustration that we hadn't got a lead on them yet, but then theirs must have as well.

Then it's our corner; we need this to take back the seats they took under the bridge. Their cox cuts the corner and rows into us, presumably trying to tuck in ahead of us but without bothering to get ahead first; our blades are about a foot off the bank and we still have an enormous blade clash on stroke side. We keep rowing as best we can, while losing all semblance of togetherness; at least a few people get their blades majorly stuck in at the finish but the main problem is that they are kind of in our way - how can you come past if there physically isn't space? So we lost; verdict by 3/4 of a length. Neil argued with the marshal but to no avail; sadly they didn't bother supplying our race with a competent umpire. Nobody likes to win by disqualification but it would surely feel better than losing; we didn't even get a re-row (possibly the most reasonable thing to have done if they don't want to DQ on principle).

As Neil said atbh, the main loss from today wasn't the pots (although they would have been nice...): it was not finding out who would have won; who deserved the victory, and now we are unable to ever find out. It's the game; it's the competition that counts, and they were cheated as much as we were, although it probably doesn't feel like that from their camp... We know for certain that we're the fastest two second boats this term; we just don't know who should take the title. Also, I'm angry.

On a different note, congratulations to M3 for winning! Definitively the fastest third boat on the river.
(John)
We were all very excited for this race- the real chance to determine who the fastest M2 on the river was. The first 3/4 did not disappoint; we were side by side the whole way, the gap varying by only one or two seats. They took a marginal gain on their corner, perhaps moving to 1/3 of a length, but the last corner was ours. Neil and Liv drove us on, I heard "Do or die, boys!" from the bank and I knew this was it, our moment- then they hit us.  

Liv took a great line into the corner to maximise our advantage there, and they steered into us with nowhere for us to go. There were a few loud bangs behind me, but we kept going- but then they were physically blocking our path, so we had to pause briefly, and of course they pulled away.  

Immediately after the race, I was angry, not at them (everyone makes mistakes sometimes) but at the fact that we lost the opportunity to prove ourselves. We all knew it would be a DSQ, the red scum were equally uncertain about the result, but somehow it didn't happen. After browsing the regatta rules, I found the only rule regarding steering was that should a marshal whistle twice and warn a crew of their line, they must move or face punishment. I never heard any whistles...
(Ben)
Fantastic effort from M2, and definitely not the first time Maggie has gotten away with colliding into a FaT crew. In the words of Grenfell-Shaw, "I call conspiracy" (Pembroke Regatta 2012)! (Yining)
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Lent Bumps

Wednesday
Rowed over
Despite all the banter about overbumping Homerton, today went pretty much as expected. We held station on Wolfson, they caught Queen's II very quickly (which bodes well for us tomorrow), and we moved steadily away from Sidney.

As we passed over the finishing line I vowed never to row over again (except, perhaps, as head) as it was a thoroughly uninteresting and tiring experience. The solitary moment of interest was seeing Corpus miss the bump on Sidney on First Post corner, and them then failing to take the corner- subsequently being bumped by Darwin.

Tomorrow will be a much more productive day, I feel.  
(Ben)
Today went pretty much exactly as anticipated. We did our standard warm up down to marshalling and the start where the rowing alternated between balanced and nervous. The practice start was scrappy initially but after the first handful of strokes we started getting our blades in together; this seemed to bode well, given it was the first time for six of us in the boat.

The cannon went off and we performed our start without major incident, hitting 42 on the wind; again, not our most elegant performance but it did the job effectively and we seemed to be moving rapidly. We heard the call from the bank that we were inside station on Wolfson. Wolfson were gaining rapidly on Queens', however, and on their push brought the distance back to station and cleared efficiently before First Post.

Looking behind us we saw Sidney vainly trying to hold off a Corpus crew who were closing the distance incredibly quickly; I thought the bump was inevitable and when Corpus appeared to stop rowing I assumed it had occurred and they were trying to clear, this immediately before First Post Corner. Nobody seemed to tell Sidney this; they continued chasing us and on what was presumably their 'run away from Corpus' push closed the distance on us to something like 2 and a bit lengths, and continued to pursue us all the way down the course.

As we pushed into Plough Reach it felt like we found a decent rhythm, and everything calmed down to the kind of head race pace we were comfortable with. This left Sidney falling ever further behind, and meant we gained slowly on Homerton. By the time we got to the Railings we were still four lengths off, at which point our bank party decided it would be more worth saving the energy for tomorrow; something catastrophic needed to happen to Homerton in order for us to catch them. So, in all, a reasonable and committed row over, hopefully setting us up for a fun next couple of days.
(John)
Thursday
Bumped Queens' II
We bumped Queens' II. It was at grassy. We were much faster than them. It stopped raining prior to this. This was good.
(J. Rowe)
we need to step up our game for tomorrow (Ben)
On my cycle to the boathouse I can't say my heart leapt with the prospect of the coming row; it didn't take long to feel pretty soaked. Luckily, by the time we'd warmed up and put the boat on the water it had completely dried up and I was able to remove my camouflage raincoat (it enabled me to hide and blend in with the enemy).

Our paddle up felt shaky, even when rowing in fours and sixes; sadly it retained the shakiness up to the lock, with some intermittent stable patches, like at the start of the burst. The diagnosis later was that overconfidence led to a lack of focus and concentration; we aren't good enough at rowing on autopilot to switch off like that.

We knew what to expect from behind us, but now we expected and were expected to bump the familiar pre-bumps nerves came back in more force than they had yesterday. With less time to marshal at the lock we just span and sat ready. A reasonable yet splashy wind to 42 gave us some speed; the lengthens were a bit scrappy and the stride followed suit. We kept rowing our race and trying to keep the composure. This was helped by watching Darwin swallow up Sidney without a by your leave, removing pressure from behind in decent style. I have to confess that as we were approaching First Post without hearing a whistle I began to worry that maybe we were wrong about how this day was going to go. After all, we weren't moving together as well as we normally do, and this led to a corresponding lack of boat speed.

Luckily, we got the first whistle, then a repeat, telling us we were moving. Shortly after we got the double whistle and our bladework disappeared into the ether (an unexpected side effect) as the wash and excitement of gaining took hold. Next time let's concentrate on just getting the knees down... Luckily, we were still moving rapidly, and the extra adrenaline the whistles gave us was enough to push us well into overlap without needing three or continuous (or perhaps it was the lack of extra whistles which caused this). Neil shouted to Queens' to concede and very obligingly they did; Liv mentioned later it was lucky they had - a collision could have left us and them in a rather awkward position. We took a while about parking, with conflicting instructions about which bank we should aim for (sorry...), before a chief umpire complimented us on our prompt clearing. Three cheers for Queens' later we collected some greenery.

The row back was also pretty miserable, with collections of sat strokes followed by so many which weren't. Happiness at bumping and the wash of the Downing crew ahead of us contributing to less composure than I'd like. I flippantly mentioned that the outing today was all quite terrible, apart from the bump; this wasn't entirely fair, but also not far wrong. Luckily we know tomorrow is going to be a tougher race; we're going to attack it like we know we can.
(John)
Friday
Rowed over
We went into today with a much better attitude than yesterday, and it showed. We knew that Wolfson were fast and that if we wanted to bump them we needed to row well, and for them to kill themselves trying to get Homerton before Homerton hit Downing. If by some miracle Wolfson and Homerton bumped out then we'd go for the overbump on Downing and try to make Neil very happy indeed. Our warm up was reasonable, and after some shaky tapping and all eight arms only we had a passable paddle down to marshalling.

At marshalling we had a brief discussion and considered a change of race plan; we elected to stick with settling to 34/35 and trying to grind Wolfson down the course. I was also pointed out somebody who finished like I did (excellently, of course, however, the word 'brutal' was used yesterday. In a good way.).

We rowed up and did our bursts; the concentration was more present, although we were very rushed in parts, and our practice start wasn't disastrous, although at least one stroke had something peculiar happen to it. Paddling afterwards felt a bit more composed and we gained nicely on Queens'.

Again, feeling nervous on the start, the time went much quicker than yesterday and before expected we were on ten and squaring blades. We had a clean and fast start; our emphasis on moving together off the front end seemed to have paid off and we felt smooth. We strode it out to 37 and let the rate slide to 35 over First Post Reach and settled down into our race rhythm. Queens' appeared to sprint hard off the start, but quickly disappeared as Darwin came up behind. Encouraging calls from the bank told us we were inside station. Crews taking a while to clear gave us slight advantages coming into First Post and Grassy, and even slightly on Ditton, as Wolfson tried some evasive steering, but they followed it with a push and remained a length and a quarter in front as we pushed onto the Reach.

A very long time later we ended up under the Railway Bridge, Wolfson having matched ever push of ours with one of theirs and getting away from about a length at Ditton back to the length and a quarter. We heard Neil call for an unsustainable push before the line, and heard distant cheers from our girls at marshalling; we went for it and filled our legs with acid. Shortly before the line we got our whistle but it was too late and Wolfson had too much left; we wound it down after they crossed the line.

Some of our absolute best rowing of term, with brilliant dedication leading to a fantastic race. We couldn't reasonably have expected more. In some ways the complete opposite to yesterday; everything was great, except we didn't get the bump.
(John)
Saturday
Bumped by Darwin
We went into this race knowing it would be difficult because Darwin were fast off the start, but we suspected that if we could hold them for long enough they would fall off and we'd be able to row a decent head race.

Rowing up to the start we saw Darwin women being given their flag, and then later on at the lock the same flag was cycled past us in preparation for their men. We decided we were going to deny them their blades.

We had a good start and settled to a decent feeling 36 or so; according to our bank party later we got down to three quarters of a length off Wolfson. Darwin gained along First Post Reach but it still felt possible and we were successfully pushing them away. Unfortunately for us, Downing II were not this year's most successful crew and Wolfson hit them trivially, somewhere at or before the corner. Because the distance between us and Wolfson was so small the evasive action we had to take to get around the lines the previous crews had taken was drastic - well done to Liv for getting us through. Sadly, this and combined with a couple of bad strokes before the corner cost us order half a length.

We rowed through the gut with something like a canvas of clearance gradually being eaten up by Darwin (who, incidentally, all looked much bigger than us) and we came to Grassy with decided overlap. At this point we were rowing well, quite together and with as much power as we could. To me, it looked like we were just beginning to pull away and out from overlap. Both crews finished cornering and straightened out for Plough Reach but tragically their line was identical to ours and their bow canvas hit our stern.

Talking about it afterwards, most of the crew was happy with the way we'd rowed that, and there wasn't much else we could have done to change that result; it's just incredibly frustrating as I'm certain we'd have got away if they'd been but a foot to one side.
(John)
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Head of the River Race (In3)

206 overall; 49 in IM3 category; Halladay position 48
Time: 20:12.86
This is more of a training camp report than a race report so it's on the long side.

We started our trip to London as we meant to carry it on; we had a new trailer, we'd established there was enough accommodation for everyone (even before leaving Cambridge!) and loading the boats went pretty smoothly.

Sadly, things went pear-shaped pretty soon afterwards (for M2 at least). On Wednesday morning we suddenly found ourselves in urgent need of a bowsider; doing the usual thing of asking around in breakfast we got more volunteers than I'd anticipated, with Zoe and Chloe being prepared to come down, and Jedge and Barney prepared to get the earlier train. We went on levels of keenness and inconvenience and took Jedge for the first outing of the day, and Zoe for the second (which was at the same time as M1's outing); Crouchy subbed for David who couldn't make it until Thursday (and to stay for the race if Tom's ankle didn't hold), and Simon for Sam who wasn't there until the race. The first was smooth and much calmer than expected; the second was a light technical outing where we furiously battle paddled with M1 both ways (leading to M1 victory on the way down, a stern talking to about how what we doing before wasn't actual battle paddling, then an M2 victory on the way back). Further good news was that we had to strip all the riggers off both boats every day; this time added up with every new equipment failure.

Thursday was our sightseeing tour to the palace of Westminster. I was sick so this is a second hand account, but Jedge switched sides, we put Crouchy in M1, moved Simon to M2 for me and kept Zoe. M1 put a bucket in their empacher so Rob could be at stroke. Luckily we had David back. Glorious sunshine and calm conditions were had by all; out of a sense of not wanting me to be jealous all the rowers came back with stories of rain, cold, much wash and high waves, and quite a lot of water in the boats. 2/3 pieces were won by M1, with the last one drawn? M2 broke and lost a top nut, M1 damaged some backstays. Joy. Neil managed to lock his car keys in his car, and made the long lonely trip back to Cambridge to pick up spares from Ingram with an 8 minute turnaround at Cambridge station.

M2 arranged for Rob Shearme to be our bowsider for the day. For Sam, M1 arranged... Crouchy, again, having rung him up on Thursday night immediately before he was about to step onto a train back to Cambridge. I gather not everyone was perfectly pleased with this solution. Rigging took forever, as top nuts and washers needed finding, backstays needed mending and we managed to split off the pin from the plate on 803 and had to steal one from further down the boat. This delay was not appreciated by Crouchy, who had to be back on dry land by 12. The first outing was fun; three pieces, of which two of them were wins for M2 (at 28 and 32); the middle one was awful as we failed to interpret what JPD had told us about the power we were putting down. M1 didn't feel like a second outing, but M2 went out again to get Liv more familiar with the river. Thoughtfully M1 left their boat out for us to put away after our second outing, during which Neil and Ben shared some banter. In the evening we headed to Jake's for some crew bonding.

We'd arranged (in this context, arranged well in advance means 'the night before') for Chloe to come down and row with M2 on Saturday; M1 found a girl Ed and Rob knew from rowing elsewhere. Rob was throwing up, however, so in keeping with the trip they persuaded Imogen to come down with about half an hour's notice where she jumped on the same train as Chloe. This was after she'd got up to go sculling at what must have been 04:45 to watch the sunrise. Apparently M1's outing was really quite good - it was JPD's attempt to fix their front end. M2 merely went for a paddle, familiarising ourselves with the course again (it felt long), then headed straight to spoons for 'crew pasta' as we were kind of knackered and wanted an early night. Neil managed to get in a riposte back at Ben. Chris found us a sub to race with! So we could let Fordy go to his wedding and drink as much as he felt like.

It turned out this was the only thing which went smoothly on Sunday, as we woke up to find that Neil was far too ill to row. Panicking started then, and we tried all the others we could think of. Sadly, Crouchy was also ill, and nobody could get hold of Jason. We put Imogen in the boat for the pre paddle (fortunately she'd decided to stay the night in London) where we met Sam V and tried not to make him regret agreeing to this (given we were in 'matched eights' and he was in the 'faster crew'). On the plus side, we rigged the boat very quickly today. Neil made his slow and painful way to the boathouse, prepared to get in the boat and pass out half way down the course. We finally got through to Jason who'd woken up at about 10:50 who said he couldn't make it as he had family friends visiting (but would think it over). A few minutes later I got the very welcome text that actually, he would come down and row if he could get there in time. There followed a period of anxious waiting, crew chatting and watching the IC crews look professional doing the same. I had a lovely conversation with a man who'd come up to watch from IC boathouse and recognised our colours as being First and Third - he harked back to the days half a century ago when we were regularly winning Henley and I had to make some rather hurried excuses for our present performance...

We went downstairs and started trying to get vaguely in the queue to boat, and in the final minutes before we'd have been committed to taking Neil, Jason cycled up. We pushed off with Ben at stroke, Sam V at 5 and Jason at 2 (annoying when your stroke man is ill on the day of the race), and rowed hurriedly down towards the start, knowing full well that we were now quite late, and the slow crews surrounding us weren't helping either. Marshalling/paddling to the start was slow, wet and cold; we got some decent paddling in but no bursts, broke a footplate and tried to stay tucked in while the other crews drifted and rowed into us. At least we had a working cox box - M1's failed as they pushed off, so Chloe jumped on my bike to deliver them a new one; miraculously they managed to pull in somewhere she could meet them (to the detriment of her shoes, and to everyone's surprise). On our very slow way forward to Chiswick Bridge we got to watch Molesey and Leander moving their boat depressingly better than we can. Also Queens' loltripod.

The race itself was better than expected, given the morning we'd had. The chronology of this report is a bit muddled. We wound it a little bit slowly/late - the start happened before I was expecting, but we wound it up to 34 for a few strokes before striding it down to 28. We pushed this back up to 31 and tried to get into the rhythm which had worked so well for us in the past. For the first few minutes all that was running through my head was what JPD had said the evening before: the only thing I had to do was set-up a rhythm with Ben so middle 4 could do the work; it wasn't our best but what we had seemed to work and it wasn't long at all before we made our first overtake. We generally kept our composure and balance, failing in some of the wash, especially around the bridges, but we always got it back again and carried on moving.

The second overtake was much more exciting: after a rocky patch when we had slight overlap, we came by what must have been the outside of the crew as Liv was turning for the corner and they waited to go wide. With our superior practice at being bumped we didn't let their bow catching our stern phase us but pushed on past, coming through the first crew and onto overlap with the next boat along. My memory is a bit hazy here, but I think we overtook them on one side at the same moment as the crew behind us overtook them and us on the other. We pushed off the crews behind us and got back into our race.

At some point I remember Liv calling the half way point at a section I'd dearly hoped was more like 2/3; from then on the race seemed to go on forever. It turns out Hammersmith to finish is much further than it is while paddling. I was obviously getting weaker and the lesson to take into next time is to pace a long race rather better than that. Liv's coxing and time estimates were very good, however unwilling I was to believe them at the time. There may or may not have been one more crew we overtook. As we passed the black buoy the previous 18 minutes or whatever started to really show, and as we drained our tanks we rowed less together and with less balance and composure. This felt like a pretty irrelevant detail and winding it down past the finish line was half blessed relief and half very painful legs.

Overall notes:
- Not enough Go Pro footage for a montage (this upset some people)
- Made our expedition to Peterborough look easy
- Huge thanks to JPD, Neil and Tom R for organising the trip, use of IC's facilities, the launch and JPD's excellent coaching
(John)
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