Fours Head

Or the Vets Fours Head, for those of us not pointy enough. First the Ladies, by Lorraine. Then the Men, by William.

Saturday - Fours Head (Robert; Bailee, Jo, Amanda and Lorraine)

The start of the race on Saturday was delayed whilst a decision was made on whether it should go ahead or raced on a shorter course to Hammersmith.  In the end it went ahead as planned and as no one sank it was obviously the right decision.  Starting at 462 out of 467 at least we would have had plenty of warning.  Although prepared for the worst donning bin bags the the wind and rain had mostly past once we got on the water.  The first part of the race (to Hammersmith) went well we pushed off two crews behind and Robert held his line whilst we overtook a crew with a fairly aggressive cox behind trying to take the stream. We were cheered on from Hammersmith bridge by Simon with the Chesterton flag. But the conditions then became more choppy, we lost a bit of momentum and a couple of crews overtook us at that stage.  The final stretch to Putney was tough as always but we finally crossed the finish line pleased with our race.

The Ladies, and an extra from a nearby audition for a remake of "This is Spinal Tap".

The Ladies, and an extra from a nearby audition for a remake of "This is Spinal Tap".


Women's IM2 4+:23.21     22/27 in category 345/372 overall

Sunday - Vets Fours Head (Will; Anne, Meg, Jo and Annie)

The pre-race photo in Furnival Gardens looked calm and peaceful but the conditions past Hammersmith were described by some as the worst they'd witnessed in 15 years!  By all accounts the race to Hammersmith went well but as the conditions worsened after Hammersmith the crew tried to hold it together and battled on through the waves.

Women's Vet D 4+: 26.20   6/7  in category

A special mention to our lovely coxes Robert and Will and to Jo for braving the conditions both days.  As always racing on the Thames is a unique experience so different from the Cam.  Challenging, slightly scary at times but fun!

Sunday, Men - Vets Fours Head (James T; William, Chris, Steven, Dave)

We'd trained hard - two whole outings, a total of five yes I tell you five reaches - and were determined to put the full depth of our training to the test. Although there was some doubt if the riggers were on properly. Never mind. The boating went well, I even got a last minute wee, and we were off. There was none of yesterday's torrential rain, indeed conditions were quite pleasant, though there was a bit of a breeze. Comedy of the row up was when we started zig-zagging uncontrollably, and the marshalls starting patronising James and telling him that he needed to take account of the stream. We pulled in at Quintin - they were frightfully nice about getting out of the way for us - and James checked the rudder - no - then the fin - oh, yes, there's a big block of wood stuck to it. Oops. Things went rather better after that. Sadly we forgot to keep it and mount it as the "tideway coxing prize".

Fettling the boats before the off. Who let that giant into our crew of pygmies?

After that we had to actually row. As IM3 IV+'s we were a block of five between the women's quads. Maidenhead were in front of us at 153, Lea behind us at 155, then Oxford Academicals and local rivals Press. After say a minute it was clear that we'd got off to a tolerable start, and were unlikely to be troubled from behind, which is always nice. Somewhat later James was calling us as three lengths down on 153, and gaining nicely. Then two and a half, then two, then we had quite a long phase of gaining nicely but mysteriously staying at two lengths, I do like that. But then we went past them, hurrah, aided by getting a better line on the stream. In the moderate distance behind us it looks like the Evil Demons of the Press were going past OA and then Lea, and were probably gaining on us; but sice Lea had faded to a long way back that was still quite a way behind us. At some point we overtook our second victim, which may have been 148, Ardingly, WC 4x. After Hammersmith the river turned and the water grew really quite choppy, which slowed us down a good bit, since it exposed our distressing lack of balance; and pulling the blade back through a wave is tricky. Opinions differ as to whether dropping down from 30/31 to 27/28 was a good way to deal with the poor conditions in that section, or whether we should have bruted it through. Suffice to say that no-one got what they actually wanted. But, we finished.

GPS trace, including heart rate, so you can tell that I was working.

Having started at 154 we finished at 98, in 22:47; 2/5 in the IM3 category. Or 22:52, if you include the as-yet-unexplained 5 second penalty they gave us. Was it because they knew we had Tidy in the boat? I've mailed them; if they reply, I'll update this. Press beat us by 27 seconds, boo.

"row like dogs, get up with fleas"

There's the video. I challenge you to watch it all, its pretty dull :-). BTW, we were entered as IM3 because we didn't know exactly who would be in the crew when the entry went in, so didn't know if we should have been Vet C or D.