The Club's Results

Head of the Cam, May Term 2022

A timed headrace on the Cam for college and town crews
Sat 23rd April

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1st men's VIII, 1st Mays

1st in category, 7th overall.
Time: 9:12.6
After a quite fatiguing training week, it was simply wonderful to wake up earlier than every previous morning to head down to the boathouse for 7:45. Not particularly early, I know, but for body-clocks that were yet to adjust to rowing time after the break it produced interesting malaise in the crew. I (Thomas) had had a pleasant walk up with Angus and Emma, our cox/stroke duo who had found a really good dynamic in the boat over training week, and while I may prefer to say that I burst into the changing rooms like a ray of sunlight, it’s probably more accurate to say that I burst into the changing rooms like an unwanted explosion. 

After George had commanded us to get the boat out, the mood notably shifted and we were back to normality, heading into our warm-up with standard enthusiasm levels (high for me, high for George C as a race was approaching, and merely mediocre for everyone else). We ended up actually having a queue for the toilet just before we pushed off, and spent quite a while in a huddle outside waiting for a certain 7-seat to descend.

Paddling down was a bit of a pain. It was slow most of the way due to other crews, and while the bursts that we did (one 30 stroke, one 20 stroke) were good, they failed to mitigate the absolute joy of rate 12. I do feel rather sorry for the single scull that we were in front of, as he kept almost crashing into us as he slowed down, and that can’t have been fun. Marshalling was subpar, with a delay that was probably between 15 and 20 minutes, though the crosswind made it quite difficult. I ended up cold, having only worn my AIO, but I don’t feel that bad about the mistake due to the delay.

The Race:
Off the start, we were at 36 for quite a while before settling into 34. We seemed to move (at least to me) far faster than in (Lent) Bumps - or maybe it just felt as such. Most corners ended up at 32, with a really nice line by Emma around grassy. After each corner we soon pushed back up to 34, ending up taking about 3-4 lengths off Downing M1 by the railway bridge. At the railway bridge, we really stuttered, giving Downing back a length over about 100m, but with some rousing calls from Emma we were soon back in it, driving on to the finish and taking back that distance. Underneath Green Dragon bridge, Downing were nice enough to thank us for the chase. It felt like bittersweet revenge after Bumps.

Post-race, there were some shenanigans cleaning the boat after Bomber had left, with a tussle between Xander and Canadine. Canadine struck boldly with the hose early on, before Xander attempted a comeback with a bucket, missing entirely and almost reaching a not-completely-unamused member of Nines. After putting 805 back on the racks, Xander struck once more with an ambush, leaving the boathouse via the side door to successfully land a bucket onto Canadine.

Canadine then proceeded really to add to the moment by (surprise, surprise) telling tales about how in his younger days he has seen people fail to throw a bucket of water, as it could bounce off the front of the bucket and hit the person, as well as how such fights could be prompted by a hose that was “so powerful that it could hit anyone anywhere on the ‘hard’’, where the hard presumably refers to the area where you place the boat on trestles/into the water. I didn’t ask.

By lunch, our (unexpected) victory was assured, tempered only slightly by Jesus having two strong crews, which suggests that they could have beaten us with better selection. Walking down to collect our engraved glasses was pleasant, even if Emma, Angus and Mihailo had collected them before Xander, Canadine and I arrived. Somehow, winning races is fun!

Here’s to more success in the rest of the term, and to Bumps!
(Thomas Frith)
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