The Club's Results

Head of the River Race, Lent Term 2022

A huge head race on the Tideway (tidal river Thames) over the University Boat Race course
Sat 26th March

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1st men's VIII, Academic

163rd
Time: 20:42
HoRR has quite a large time investment, really, what with overnight accommodation needing to be secured beforehand since we needed to be at Putney Town Rowing Club for 7:30am. Some members of our crew stayed together in an short-term rental, but as I was not there, I shall refrain from commenting.

Train lines caused havoc for Xander, but we managed to fit the boat together without the help of our most technical member, quickly settling down for the long wait before the race, where food was provided by PTRC. Both James and I showed our appreciation by having 4 slices of bread, though the respective choices (white with honey, brown with peanut butter) betray our deep differences.

Boating from Putney was an experience that I’m not entirely eager to repeat, with far too much water around my feet for me to be comfortable. It wasn’t that cold, but it was cold enough for me, and while rowing without socks was fine from a comfort perspective, it was nevertheless odd to have them shoved into my clothing. Angus, of course, showed his experience by showing up with wellies, and put them to good use carrying Daniel as he should be treated, like a princess (respectfully, not in a fashion mindful of entitled tantrums).

Despite boating from a position behind the start line, we had to row a fair way (estimates vary) down the course in order to marshal, and as much as a preview both of the course and of the conditions was appreciated, rowing so far out and back wasn’t quite ideal preparation for the race.

Marshalling was fun. Highlights include: bow pair ‘retiring’ from taking taps, though a less charitable interpretation would have called it a strike; Csongi passively encouraging rowing in 5s by not rowing when Daniel called bow 6; and socialising with Churchill M2 (sadly not of ejector crab provenance). It was also pretty cool to row alongside Leander C, however briefly, and to watch the top boats go past.

Unfortunately, as with my Bumps report, I have very little to say about our actual race. Part of this is because we were only three boats off the top of our division (252 scratched) and we overtook the rest fairly early on (Daniel was calling us to settle as we overhauled 254). Part of this is because I hit a really nice flow state for most of the race. Most of this, however, is because the boat was far more set than previous races, and so I can’t complain about that!

I can complain about Mihailo calling for unsustainable power with 2.8K to go. 

James had a fun point about how we’d been conditioned to believe that this would be an 18 minute race, and so Daniel calling two-thirds done at 14 minutes brought premature disappointment, as well as surprise that we’d gone for so long.

I hope that the above points merely act to highlight - like silver lining around a cloud - how positive the attitude of the boat was, rather than to suggest any discord. Indeed, the crew were most gruntled.

The row back to Putney was exhausting. At one point, Daniel called for a one minute break, just so that we could focus on technique on the way back. Naturally, I tried to eat too many fig rolls in this time period, ending up taking a 70 second break instead. 
Xander also felt a bit dizzy at the start of the row back, and when this didn’t appear to carry well, with stern 4 + cox interpreting this as ‘busy’, asking him when he felt ready what felt far too often on my mind. I then shouted ‘he’s [got] you spin me right round’, failing to break into song due to lack of breath, but the intent was there, and the effect was achieved. Xander recovered before we’d travelled particularly far, so he was ready to row a pleasant 7K back. 

We put the bow of 805 on the trailer the wrong way round. Nothing else needs to be said about our derigging.

After some people had a pint upstairs, we tested James’s arms-only minimum split (1:43) before we took some photos, and left for a pizza. 

A long day, at not yet 3pm.
(Thomas Frith)
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