Champs Head

DSC_4609-champs-head Sunday was the Champs Head. It is a slightly odd head race: a short course (1200m, from the Plough to the Pike and Eel) from a standing start, but the start is just for fun, since you get timed from a few strokes in. It was a blazing day, it felt like the heights of midsummer not late spring, lovely to be out on the river.

I rowed for our M1 in the first division at 12, which was a fair enough race. James Tidy won the not-quite-too-far-over-the-top total coxing arrogance prize by overtaking everyone dawdling about by the railings. This raised a few eyebrows (this is England, don’t y’know, not Italy) but actually there is no real point to the queues there. And anyway, everyone needs to get to the top and spin anyway. We said Hello to Elspeth who was marshalling in the shade by Chesterton bridge, very nice for her. As for the race: well. We were 39th with 5:16 (winning: Downing M1 with 4:33; a very cool result :-). And the Hornets beat us. Opinions amongst the crew were somewhat divided: some thought it was a good row, and in some ways I agree: we were balanced, and together. We weren’t as strong as we could have been; not enough oomph, some holding back perhaps. But more than that, I thought we lacked a certain degree of class; things were just a bit blurred when they should have been sharp. And perhaps a couple of pips on the rating might have been good? We were very comfortable at 30, but perhaps too comfortable.

A post race pint in the fort for analysis and digressions, siting by the river watching the boats go by: very pleasant. Leading on to division 3 at 3 o’clock.

Our second men’s boat was a bit short of manliness in some respects, as my picture shows. I was coxing, because I enjoy it. After a while I worked out how to plug the speakers in, and could stop shouting, which was a relief to all. I remember the good old days when I started: only M1 had a cox box, these things were luxuries (did I tell you I grew up in a cardboard box in the middle of the road?) Due to injuries, and stuff, we ended up with four guest ladies, and by chance they were all strokeside, leading to what might have been a rather unbalanced boat, but wasn’t. In fact it was better than I’d thought it would be, but ultimately underpowered and suffering from never having rowed together before. But never mind, we rowed a good race and they were kind enough to be kind to my coxing (having to drag around a cox heavier than all but a few of the crew didn’t help, of course). In my pic: Laura (stroke), Dave R, Ev, Tony M (look at that grin), Emma B, Dave B, Lorraine, Simon (bow). Even if you can’t see the front few. At this point, we’ve spun under the motorway bridge and are heading back down towards our marshalling station. Our time was 6:30, irritatingly 6 seconds slower than our W1, but they have been rowing together for a while and would probably have been rather p*ss*d off if we’d beaten them, so perhaps it is for the best.

After which it was back home to cut the grass, plant the sweet peas (I know, I’m late) water the veg, weed the beds (nowhere near finished) drag away the cut-down trees, have dinner, finish the bow-and-arrow holder, stop the cat bringin live voles into the house (I never knew there was so much wildlife in the garden until the cat started killing it), and all the normal stuff of a sunday afternoon shading into evening.


* M1 near the start
* “M”2 just on the finish line

from DBP photographic

Also, the hydrofoil scull video is worth a look, as is the hydrofoil kayak]