Tag Archives: British Rowing

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!

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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 : 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 …

Race Hard : Women’s Head of the River – part 4

9 Mar

We did it!

Just got back in to the club, and feeling pretty good!

The race itself went well. The marshalling seemed to go on for ages, however once we got in to position to start, it was a quick turnaround and we were off.

 

Chiswick Bridge to Barnes Bridge

This seemed to go ever so quickly – it felt really smooth, we seemed to be in time with each other, and it didn’t take long to get the rating up.

The water was good, and the conditions were great – it was fairly mild, which made life easier. I think we were rating 28-30.

 

Barnes Bridge to Hammersmith Bridge

Compared to the Hammersmith Head, the water was much less choppy, and with Marie’s motivation, this part of the race seemed to go much quicker than we’d feared!

There did feel a brief drop in momentum, however I think this is more to do with the fact we’d got into a consistent rhythm, having got the initial burst of excitement and adrenalin out at the start.

 

Hammersmith Bridge to Putney Bridge

The cheers from Hammersmith did just as we’d hoped! Fresh legs for the last burst of the race.

Marie kept up the inspirational talk, and as we got towards Harrods, she told us how proud she was of us, and how well we were doing. The pain was starting to set in here, however the adrenalin was enough to keep the momentum, and I believe we even sped up at this point!

As we got level with the club, we could hear the cheers from the balcony, and you could feel the pace of the boat pick up another peg or two. The last 30 strokes were hard, and Marie called for us to empty the tanks and give it everything we had, and we definitely did that!

 

Despite us catching 3 crabs over the course of the race, I think we did pretty well. As we pulled up by the club, the coaches came over with our wellies and helped us out, and said we looked like we were moving nicely down the home straight. Marie told us we could walk out of the boat with our heads held high, that she was proud of our performance, and that she knew we’d given it our all.

A proud moment – an emotional release

I think we all had a little cry as we came through under Putney Bridge.

It’s quite surprising the release of emotion you feel at the end of a race. Six months of training were poured into that race, and so crossing the finish line was a big relief – the tension of the day was over, all the pressure we had felt as a crew was gone as there was nothing more we could do, and our bodies could finally relax.

It was a great feeling stepping out of the boat – pride from having rowed well, and rowed hard (except for the feeling of cramp in my calf as I initially tried to stand up!) – and being able to confidently say that we’d given it everything.

Let’s see how we do in the results!

Fingers crossed, we should find out before the end of the night! … 🙂

Race Hard : Women’s Head of the River – part 3

9 Mar

Race Plan

So, we huddle round the crew table in the main hall, and Marie gets out her map of the river.

She talks us through her plan, and the key points she wants to use to help us along the route.

  • Barnes Bridge is the first point – this first stretch is fairly easy, and the water is fairly quick running
  • Chiswick Eyot, second – this is just before the bend round to Hammersmith Bridge. This is one of the hardest parts of the course – the river is at it’s widest here, and it’s a long stretch from Barnes bridge round to Hammersmith, so Marie will have to make sure we keep focussed, and keep the power on as we get to the bend
  • Hammersmith Bridge, the third point, and this is where the race restarts. Fresh legs from here, as we’re used to rowing from Hammsmith to the club, so the distance is ingrained, and having people cheering on the bridge should be enough for us to give a fresh push
  • the Milepost – this is the marker for the last mile to the finish! Another little push from here onto the next point,
  • Fulham Football Club – close to home, and more than halfway between Hammersmith Bridge and the finish
  • TRC – family and friends will be gathered out here, to give us the very last push to the finish – we need to work from the cheers, and power home to the finish
  • Putney Pier – the finish, but we won’t take the power off until we reach Putney Bridge

 

That’s the game plan … let’s see how it goes!

 

 

Race Hard : Women’s Head of the River – part 2

9 Mar

Race Prep

Just back in from our outing in Shackleton, and the crew decision is to stick with it for the race!

It was decided that despite the sensitivity to balance and the lack of practice in it to this point, the difference in weight and the ability to get the rate up quicker far outweighs the Noel. Plus, it looks pretty slick! 😉

Now time to relax and prep – 80% of the prep for a race is psychological.

The clubhouse is full – there’s 4 Novice crews racing today from our squad, plus 3 Intermediate crews and a Masters crew. That’s just TRCs contribution to the bodies in the building! There are also several other clubs that have been camping overnight in the gym, and are using the facilities to prep for the race. It’s manic here! Finding a space to relax and mentally prepare could be interesting!

Race Hard : Women’s Head of the River

9 Mar

Just on my way to the club for our last outing to test out the ‘black ninja’ – also known as Shackleton – before the big race …

NERVOUS!

but at the same time, incredibly, incredibly excited! 🙂

Race Hard : Hammersmith Ladies’ Head Race – Part 3

25 Feb

Exhausted!!

I know I shouldn’t be saying this, but my arms ache!

Rowing is all about the legs, but with conditions like those we had today, it was harsh out there!

The row to the start line:
As we left the club and headed to Putney to turn, we rowed past last week’s rivals London, and gave them a friendly yet competitive smile!
I was keeping an eye on them as we made our way to the marshalling area!

Marshalling:
This felt like forever!
Marshalling is when you are basically waiting for your turn to start in the race. This race had 110 boats, and we were 73rd, therefore there were a fair few boats ahead of us to wait for!

The idea is that a boat should start every 10 seconds – it’s a time trial. However in conditions like that, with a strong stream and winds, boats often get pushed around and getting in to position to start the race can be awkward when navigating other stray boats!

I think we were sat there for at least half an hour. Frustratingly, all that warmth built up on the row down soon disappears, and we found ourselves sat waiting with snowing falling down around us!
To keep us from floating off and getting in the way, 2-seat; Hannah and I were left to hang onto a tree by the bank!

The race:
So after a long enough period of marshalling, we were told to get into place and so started the maneuver to get up to the start line.

Prior to the race we’d had a few problems with our cox box – a mic that the cox wears and it connects to the speakers in the boat so we can all hear the commands.
Before the race we were told we had been given a brand new cox box, and that we should be problem free … haha!

We turned the boat, and our cox Marie announced ‘attention all crew … Go!’ – this was the call for us to build up our pace to the starting line, as time trials are done with a rolling start.

We were building up, and the balance and speed were all coming together with Marie’s efforts to get our momentum moving, however just as we got level with the race start officials and heard them shouting boat 73 to start, the cox box died!!

Being at the back of the boat – the furthest from the cox I couldn’t tell what was going on! I thought I could hearing Marie talking, but didn’t know whether we were having speaker issues, or if it was simply her new tactic for racing?! We thought perhaps she’d decided to stay quiet to let us focus and see how we do without!!

Those couple of minutes though before the box was working again, felt like the longest minutes ever! It’s funny how much you come to rely on certain people, and the way we’ve been trained we’re very much programmed to act, not think!

Anyway, once we got Marie back on our case, we got our heads down and got on with the race.

The stretch from Chiswick Bridge to Barnes Bridge felt great. We were all in time, and the boat was moving at a great pace. However as soon as we got the other side of Barnes Bridge, it was like someone had put the brakes on, and the water was awful. It was so choppy, with waves smacking hard against the boat. The hardest part about rowing in choppy water is trying to get your blade in without catching crabs – which is why my arms ache today!

We kept moving as best we could, but it was a struggle. Frustratingly, prior to the bridge, Marie had called that we were only a boat length and a half from London’s boat. Obviously keeping eyes in the boat, and facing away from the opposition we had to rely on Marie’s calls to be able to work out how close we were, and if they were getting away from us.

Our aim was to beat London, having beaten them 3/3 times the Sunday before, and obviously to win would be great, but given the definite change in pace as we hit the rough water, it’s hard to tell how we did. We’ll just have to wait for the results to come out later … TENSE!

Be Happy : Olympics 2013

4 Aug

Eton Dorney – 3rd August 2012

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