The Club's Results
Fairbairn Cup 2021
A 4300m timed head race on the Cam for VIIIs
Fri 3rd December
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With two subs on the day of the race arranged the day before this was a bit of a scratch crew. It also felt like a scratch crew with the boat struggling to maintain acceptable speed past the railway bridge. Fun was had, honour and glory not so much.
We had hoped we could build off our Winter Head results, but unfortunately injury and illness struck us down at the worst possible moment, leaving us two men down with three days to go. Mihailo and Xander stepped up to fill these gaps, and to their credit, by the pre-paddle on Friday morning the boat felt just as good during the bursts as they always did. Undeterred by Jesus' decision to "request" extra time due to starting behind us (from a race they run?!?), we moved well off the start.
Outside the combined boathouse, Leo "FOUR YOU'RE DEEP" Versteegen decided to make it known to the houseboat opposite that now would be a good time to repeat what happened two years prior and pull out to block the boats behind us. However the houseboat owner didn't get the message, probably because the chosen medium of communication was a big rhythm-busting crab. It took us at least until Green Dragon for the boat to feel good again, and by the end of the reach, the typical second-half troubles struck with the boat feeling heavier and heavier every stroke. We fought hard to the end but sadly failed to defend our title (and to add insult to injury, got beaten by the same people who won said title and hadn't trained for two years...)
An interesting race.
My first for Black Prince, and my first for some time (Lent 2019 according to the website). I was also coming off the back of a shoulder injury from a high speed bike crash in the summer and had only done the row home from Novice Fairbairns since the crash. So all in all, the goal of the race was to get to the finish line.
We went off at an optimistic pace, and the start was improve by Matt Crowe depositing a ton of water on my head from the 2 seat - it proceeded to drip into my eyes for the rest of the race.
By the time we got to the white bridge, Sophie called that we were 1/4 of the way there, and my legs decided that this had been a terrible idea and stopped working. I rowed the next 2k with dubious amounts of power and technique, but mostly managed to stay in time.
Sophie called for a lift out of First Post Corner and I managed to refind some power in my legs, helped by the fact that I thought we only had 500m to go to the line. We went up from 30 to 32, and the boat got splashier and slower. We then went up to 34 an then 36, with the exact same result.
Sophie then called for another lift now that we actually had 500m to go, and we tried. I'm not sure we succeeded, but we tried.
We got to the power lines before the motorway bridge (Which I recall from my time as a fresher when I actually trained as the final sprint) and my legs gave out again. I think I did the last 200m of the race with absolutely no power, just trying frantically to stay in time and not upset the boat.
We crossed the finish line and promptly died. A hip flask of definitely-not-sloe-gin was passed down the boat and well received, and Maraia produced mince pies from the bank which were much appreciated.
I borrowed Maraia's bike to cycle home (had to be back in the office) and this led to the only downside of the day! My legs were so tired that when I dismounted to push over Emma Footbridge I failed to stand up and just fell over, landing in a heap with the bike. No major injuries, but the rear wheel might need straightening.
All in all, an excellent effort from all and a great race.
Thanks very much to all of Black Prince for an excellent row!
A much-belated report, the only purpose of which is a) to emphasise the painful loss of Alex and Csongor to M2 as felt by our crew, replacing them merely with Callum (who noviced in a previous year, and hadn’t rowed since) and Sam (well, he’s actually quite good) and b) to emphasise that we beat M2. Having Kerem coxing over Sharky also felt pleasant, with some disgustingly tight lines (Kerem would later disavow any intent of taking them quite so tightly).
This was my second time at 7, with my first being on the way back after Novice Fairbairns the day prior. The race itself was really good fun, possibly boosted from yesterday with the happy change of Arnaldo starting sleep before 7am.
Results-wise, beating M2 provided for some excellent banter, especially as it was by ‘such a large margin’. The influence of Sam in this cannot be overstated, as both through coaching and setting the rate at 29 he’s driven us to improve massively, and next term will hopefully show the results of this.
Afterwards, I couldn’t get up all the stairs to my room in one go, and had to sit down. It was fun.
Buoyed by our success the day before, NW1 came to Senior very relaxed, determined to treat it as good experience rowing so far without any queues. Of course, there were queues, at both the start and end. However, in addition to another clean row, we also put in a good performance singing ‘YMCA’ at the lock, warmed by the wonderful atmosphere and kindly provided hot chocolate and mince pies. The distance of the race was certainly a challenge, and even though our rate ranged from 18-26, legs and feathering arms were all very fatigued by the end of the race. as novices we would never achieve the pinnacle of success we had at Novice , NW1 still managed to faster than Magdalene W1, and finished the term pleased with our performance, and deeply grateful to those that facilitated it.
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