The Club's Results
Head of the Nene, Lent Term 2015
An important regional 5000m timed head race
Sat 7th February
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I can't match John's report - although I will echo the thanks to Neil, and extend them to Rob Stroud, who subbed into M1 with approximately an hour's notice.
This was a reasonably solid row, aiming to consolidate on a number of changes the crew had made over the last couple of weeks in a long, high-ish rate piece. We held 34 down the course, and had the added interest of coming up sharply on a Cantab's VIII in the later stages of the race. The race plan was to focus on the back and front ends in successive 2 minute focuses down the course, and I think this was reasonably effective. We struggled a little in the penultimate kilometre as we hit some wash, and some slightly disturbing noises from the 2 seat in the second half suggested that Alex *may* have been having some forearm/wrist issues.
Kudos to M2 for being so close - I think the difference in crew average 2k suggests this was a massive result for them! Conversation in the car afterwards with Neil indicates that M2 are getting their legs down, which I think is the next big change to come for us. More speed to come.
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!
Today a hatch cover, tomorrow a porthole.
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