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Train Hard, Rest Easy and Party like the Season’s Over!

26 Jul

I apologise for having been AWOL for a couple of weeks since the big race – but I haven’t gone, I’m still here – I’ve not retired early! I raced last weekend at Molesey Regatta, and am very much looking forward to the last couple of regattas before the season finishes for the summer.

You may have spotted I’ve been busy with the uploads to my instagram, and since Women’s Henley I’ve had a couple of weeks off to relax and catch-up with friends that I haven’t seen since October 2012, and make the most of the amazing weather we have recently been spoilt with!

Tonight is the End of Season party at the club – despite there still being a further two regattas in the novice race calendar! – but this weekend I have some spare time, and will update this page with the latest goings-on from South West London.

Train Hard : One more sleep!!!

20 Jun

tomorrow is …

Women’s Henley!!

 

Very, very, very excited!

 

Watch this space for updates, instagrams and more!

Train Hard : The real countdown begins!

14 Jun

Just a week to go until Henley Women’s Regatta qualifiers!

Train Hard : WHR Draw Announced …

7 Jun

Thames B will be racing …

Vesta!

Race 11 at 15:03 Friday 21st June, in the 4th of 7 heats.

 

Quarter Final

The winner of Race 11 will race again in Race 132 at 11:04 Saturday 22nd June against the winner of Race 10 (either City of Oxford or Cantabrigian).

 

Semi-Final

The semi-final will be Race 334 at 11:42 Sunday 23rd June, against the winner of Race 131 (either Twickenham RC/Barnes Bridge Ladies/Galway RC or Royal Chester)

The Women’s Eights Intermediate Final

The final will be Race 377 at 15:35 Sunday 23rd June, against the winner of Race 335 (either Lea RC/Tyne RC/Grosvenor RC/York City/Reading RC/Thames RC A or Cambridge City RC)

 

With three races to get to the final – it *could* be a Thames A vs Thames B final !!

Train Hard : WHR Crews Announced …

3 Jun

… I’ve just received the email we’ve all been waiting for!

(Well, all of the women’s novice squad at TRC!)

 

The crews for Henley have now officially been announced, and training in those crews starts this week – I’m expecting it to be a very full-on couple of weeks as we build up to Women’s Henley (21st to 23rd June).

 

I will be racing in the Women’s 8 at Bow, along with Hannah B (2), Holly (3), Laura (4), Madeleine (5), Kathrin (6), Charlotte L (7) and Bethan (Stroke) – coxed by Marie.

As a squad, we are also entering a four; Katrine, Bernice, Amy C and Amy L, coxed by Cat.

 

Very, very, very excited!

This should make up for the many months training in the dark and cold!

 

According to the regatta’s website, the draw should be announced Friday, so until then we sit and wait to find out who our competition will be for qualifying!

 

 

Race Hard : Met Regatta – Saturday June 1st 2013

1 Jun

Despite the racing being out at Eton Dorney – 20 miles from home – we were quite fortunate that our heat wasn’t until 11am, and as I was driving that meant an alarm call of 7 as usual!

The drive to Dorney was pretty quick, however as we got towards the lake the sat nav decided it knew better and tried to take us off down someone’s driveway! As a result, we ended up slightly lost in Eton, in amongst some rather magnificent buildings!

Once we found out exactly where we were meant to head to – the Mets’ website did warn that sat navs don’t like the area! – it only took a couple of minutes to get there, and we soon got parked up.
What we didn’t realise was that we were parked halfway along one side of the lake, and the boats were on the opposite side – what looked so close actually took ages to walk!

 

All rigged up!

Boat rigging took barely any time, and we soon had the Noel ready to race.
We had a crew chat with our cox Marie – she ran us through the race plan so that we knew what to expect, and soon after it was hands on.

Once again, forgetting how far the boat was from the start of the lake we set off carrying the Noel down to the pontoons. About a hundred metres down, the real weight of the boat hit us! We only ever carry it from the boathouse down the embankment – 100m at most!

Whilst it feels a little more glamorous standing on a pontoon to put the boat into the water, there’s something a little unnerving about the fact its floating, and one wrong move and you – or worse, the whole crew! – could slip and go in with the boat!

Anyway, we got the boat in the water, pushed off and headed down the warm up lake – hidden behind the bank – to make our way to the start.

 

Race Warm Up

We worked through the usual warm-up of hands, hands and bodies, and working our way up the slide. We then had a couple of racing starts in an attempt to burn off a little adrenalin.

The marshall called the boats from our heat to get into order, and directed us down and through the bridge to get into position.
We were lane 6, therefore second from last to pull through onto the lake, and got ourselves into position as quickly as we could.

 

Attention!

Unlike the regattas we had entered prior to this, the start was much more formal – we were given a countdown to the race start from the official in the box, and once all boats were docked at the start the official called attention, then a short pause before the digital boards on shore lit up green and beeped to signal the start.

 

Our start

Unfortunately, the official called the start whilst Marie still had her hand raised, as we were still tapping the boat straight, and so we were all a little caught out.

Our start wasn’t awful, but we weren’t getting much power down, and there wasn’t the rhythm in the boat, which made the race a battle.

In terms of pacing, we were told to go all-out in the first 250-500 to get a good start, then lengthen and pace it out, before pushing again for the 1500m mark, and again for the last 250m.

Without the rhythm it was hard getting the power down, not only this but there were too many blades not catching properly and so Marie had the boat on full steer to bow-side for the whole race as bow-side were pulling the boat over to the lane to our left. Consequently steering adjustments have an effect on both balance and speed, and in an ideal world over the length of a straight-lane there should be very little steering required.

Despite feeling like forever to get to the mid-way mark, the race was much quicker than I had feared, and we finished the race 6th out of 7.

Obviously gutted as a crew not to have got through to the next round, or repechage, however it was a great experience – racing on a lake against 6 other boats was very exciting and new to us all.

 

Easy Oar!

Once we got the boat back on trestles, we were then left to chill out for the rest of the day, whilst the rest of the crews had their races, and so we sat by the finish line to have lunch and cheer on TRC crews.

My parents had made the journey to Eton Dorney to watch us race – I spotted my mum, busy with her camera taking photos of us all as we were getting in to the water! – and so they joined us to sit and watch.

It was nice to be able to spend some time with them whilst watching the racing. Training has taken over everything recently, and has meant that I am unable to go home to see the family like I used to, and so the only opportunity I get is if they happen to come into London – so it was nice to see my dad again for the first time in 6 months!

 

And so the end of Day 1 at Eton Dorney drew to a close …

And I get to do it all again tomorrow, with the other 8 that I’m racing in this weekend!

Race Hard : Chiswick Regatta 2013 – Final!

4 May

Heat : TRC vs. Putney Town vs. Sons of the Thames

I forgot to mention in my brief post – post-heat – that after our long and strenuous row up to the start line – (yep, nothing better than an 8km row to warm up prior to an 800m race!) as we turned and got into position to race against Putney Town and Sons of the Thames, the heavens decided to open up! Huge black clouds surrounded us, and just as the marshalls called ‘Ready’, we were flooded! It didn’t stop us though, and we got our game-faces on, and got on with the job in hand!

I took my phone out in the boat with me – in a neat little waterproof case of course, as we have a habit of getting soaked in races, with far too much backsplash going on! – and recorded the heat using GPS and SportsTracker.

As the marshall shouted ‘Attention’, we buried our blades and got into it. With my eyes still in the boat, I could see the nearest boat – Son of the Thames – appearing to move off quicker than us, and getting a good half a boat-length ahead of us. However I could also see the third boat disappearing into the distance as we lengthened out our strokes and got the power down in the boat.

Given the slow start, we soon picked up the pace and caught up with Sons of the Thames, to overtake them, and win the heat by half a boat length. We were all unsure on whether or not we made it in time till we got back onto land – but from what I could see in the corner of my eye, I was pretty sure we’d got to the line just before them!

We were also rather surprised at the result of the heat before ours – Lea had been knocked out, along with Putney Town’s other team to race against Tyrian in the final.

The Final : TRC vs Tyrian

So after the four hour wait, we gathered up all of our belongings and got back into our race gear …

 

post_2013_05_04

 

… which had been drying out on the riggers post-heat!

We’d had a good crew chat, in prep for the race, and we were all very excited about it!

The weather had changed – the clouds had moved on and the sun was now out – the water was still and low, and gone were the wind and waves.

Once again we lined up against the competition – Tyrian – and waited for the marshall to call it.

As with the heat, we appeared to lose ground on the start. Although we were much more in time, and the start felt good, Tyrian still shot off quicker than we did. According to Ted, we were a length behind at one point, however as we dug in and lengthened out the strokes we came through and pulled past Tyrian.

We finished the race a boat length ahead – in fact the race was won almost a hundred metres from the final, with Tyrian slumped over their blades and looking like they’d been beaten before it was even over!

Although our starts may not be the best – and bearing in mind this was still only the second time we’d rowed together as a crew, having had subs on outings before – our power and strength in the water was definitely our strength, and the psychological ‘warfare’ we had over the other crew made a huge difference.

Tankards for Ten!

During our crew chat, pre-final, we had all discussed how much we wanted those pewter tankards, and our cox Clare decided she would use that to motivate us and keep us going strong!

‘Tankards for Ten’ was what she called out, instead of the usual ‘Legs for ten’, and it certainly did the trick!

And so here we are …

 

post_2013_05_04_tankards

 

Left to right : myself, Belinda, Holly, Kathrin, Laura, Clare (cox), Skye, Hannah and Marketa.

 

Looking very pleased with ourselves, with our tankards at Quintin Boat Club!

As with the heat, I used my phone to track the race – the details of which can be found here on SportsTracker.

So, we’re now no longer Novices at TRC – having popped our rowing cherries! – we now move on to racing in the IM3 category – very exciting, given the short rowing experience we have had so far!

Race Hard : Chiswick Regatta 2013 – Heat One

4 May

We’re through!

We beat Putney Town and Sons Of The Thames, to get in to the final!

Just a three hour wait at Quintin Club for the final!

Race Hard : Hammersmith Regatta 2013

27 Apr

Well, Thames Novices have now reduced in number, not due to dropouts from the squad, but because our women’s first team won the category for Women’s Eight Novices, and so are now part of the Intermediate 3 level (IM3).

Unfortunately, my crew did not make it through the first heat – however we were a scratch crew, with only one training session together on the Thursday before, and a brief outing the morning of the race.

The weather and conditions were awful – strong winds, sea-like waves and even hail at one point! – however this is no excuse! The team we were up against were the B team from St Paul’s school, and on the start line they looked nothing more than giggly school girls! However we lost the race in the first 5 strokes sadly.

The crews from schools such as St Paul’s are fortunate in that they can train together every day, and do most mornings in the week along with their PE lessons. However, our crew was made up of a mixture of previous crews and so we hadn’t had much practice together, and the balance was not good enough to get a good start in the choppy water.

As we hit the head wind, our cox Claire told us that we started to catch them up – the training over winter helped here greatly, and given that we were generally much bigger than their crew, we should have been able to manage the headwind – however we were not strong enough and they managed to push on ahead of us.

Due to being out on the water for the final heat of three, we were unable to see our first crew win their heat – however we were told that they too were beat on the start line by the two other crews, but it was in the headwind that they fought back to keep the crews off them and push through to the final race. Winds and conditions such as today are where size and weight can be of an advantage over smaller, lighter crews. Our women’s first crew have also trained together for the majority of the season – minus the race here or there where seats have been swapped – ie when I joined for the Women’s Head of the River, and so this too helped them in their victory.

It was a little disheartening to come back to the club having been beaten by a school team, however given the situation I think we did as well as we ever could have. It just goes to show the importance of having a crew that can train together regularly.

Here’s to the next regatta, with tankards waiting for us! Fingers crossed it will be without the hail too!!

Race Hard : Women’s Head of the River – part 5

9 Mar

And so the results are out!

Women’s Head of the River (WeHoRR) 2013 Results

We missed out on winning the Women’s Novice category by just 16 seconds, behind winners Lea!

As summarised by Jon, our boat per category came …

  • Novice club – 2nd out of 39
  • Novice academic – 3rd (by 0.2 of a second) out of 58
  • Novice combined – 4th (again by 0.2 of a second) out of 97
  • IM3 – 13th out of 110
  • IM2 – 16th out of 30

And overall, 71st out of 302 boats, in an international competition with competitors travelling from all over Europe to take part – not bad going given that we’ve been training for less than !

We also managed to beat Thames’ own IM3 crew, therefore coming 4th out of 8 Thames crews!

Very exciting stuff, and very much looking forward to the summer racing!

 

I just need to fight off this rotten cough before then, and get myself fighting fit!

Henley 2013 …

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