On the 15th & 16th of August I competed at Stourport Regatta. This was another first for me, as I now had my own tent to live in for the weekend. My chosen abode is a Vango Swift 300. It’s a 3 man tent with a lobby area, so it’s very comfortable. I can’t stand up in it, but there is plenty of room to get changed in there. It’s one of these popup tents, so literally takes seconds to pop up, and a couple of minutes in total to pitch fully. Combined with my ReadyBed (a sleeping bag with built in airbed) I was very comfy for the whole weekend.
The weather reports for the weekend were a bit mixed, ranging from cloudy and rainy to blistering heat. Well, it turned out to be the latter, which while nice and dry; Poses another problem of trying to avoid getting burnt to a crisp!
On to the racing….
The coxless quad was again the only event I competed in. This time just the one event each day, which turned out to only be one race on each day. For our race on Saturday we had a bye into the final, which turned out to be against Birmingham University. This was the crew that had won the gold medal at this years National Championships. Armed with that knowledge I became even more nervous than usual.
While our start wasn’t the best we’d ever done, we had an overlap with them after the first 5 strokes. But, that was the last we saw of them until we crossed the finish line, and they were already turned around waiting to get off the water. The verdict was – easily. Not a good result for us, but I think we all knew we didn’t really stand much of a chance. So, we treated it a bit like doing a good training piece, and in those terms it was a good row. Still, a bit embarresing though.
For our race on Sunday we again had a bye in to the final. Quite a relaxed weekend really! As it happened it turned into a straight final, as the semi was to include the previous days winners. But, they chose not to race. So, we were in a straight final against Worcester RC. We had a bit of a wait, as the race was scheduled for just after 4pm. I even managed to fall asleep on the riverside, it was a nice sunny day after all plus I was feeling quite chilled out.
Anyway, our race came and we boated along with our opposition. After what seemed like an eternity, to get the other dozen or so races out of the way before ours could start we lined up ready. Feeling pretty confident as I’d had a look at our opposition and they didn’t seem quite together as a crew. We got a pretty good start, getting the boat up to speed quicker than we usually do in race situations. Because we have a very old boat, it’s very heavy, so we’re usually at a disadvantage off the start and usually have a length or two to make up after the start. This time however, we didn’t. We were level. That kind of threw us all a bit. But, we kept our heads and got into our rhythm, beginning to push away from our opposition. The Sunday course is very short at Stourport, it’s 450m but feels much quicker despite being upstream; So I was told. So, we weren’t hanging about and were giving it all we had. The boat was moving okay, not as well as we’ve done in training pieces. But, we had a 2-3 length lead by the time we got to the last 150m. Kenny called for a push, later he told me he did that for fear of us being passed in the dying stages of the race. So, he made the call even though we were ahead. We responded, and it got a little messy but we soon sorted it out. Meanwhile, our opposition were making their push for the line. I think because they were already behind and had a fair bit of ground (water) to make up they panicked a bit. Their number 3 man caught a crab which slowed them down quite a lot. Seeing that I backed off the power a bit, knowing we had it in the bag. I think the other guys in the crew also did that, and we cruised over the line; Still putting a bit of a squeeze on, but not pushing it so hard that it got messy. Basically, just keeping it clean and smooth.
So, I now had 3 points and another pot to put on my shelf. Awesome!!
Apparently, every single person from Trent Rowing Club who competed at Stourport Regatta came away with a pot. I’m told it’s our best ever away regatta, with a total of 9 wins. Not earth shattering, but pretty good for such a small club.
The official photographer for the regatta has a service where we can get all our club photos onto a CD for only £30. So, we got him to take a few Team Trent photos on the Sunday just before we left for the journey home. Once I get a copy of the CD I’ll add some photos to this post.
Photos arrived some time back but I’ve just got round to putting them on here