Couldn’t have asked for better conditions for my first ever foray onto the Tideway. Warm, sunny and virtual calm made it very pleasant and made for good sculling.
After a light session on the lake in the morning (useful last minute tips from Pierre – thanks!!) Steve and I loaded the double onto the roof rack (only a small overhang at each end…) and headed down to Chiswick. A good run down saw us at the Civil Service Boat Club in plenty of time to get rigged and have a chat to some old friends. We boated on time and got down to the marshalling area in plenty of time, allowing us (me!) to get a feel for the conditions. It seems a lot bigger when you’re on the water than when watching from the safety of a bridge!
It was quite pleasing the attention we got from other crews – the HG really does attract notice, especially in our colours (the boat is black with a thin green stripe) and we’d managed to be fully colour co-ordinated as well. It all helps raise the club profile – although we had to endure the usual cracks about roundabouts and concrete cows.
As to the race, we were sandwiched between Broxbourne and Putney Town at the start. We settled into a good pattern straight off (apparently around rate 30) and kept a steady distance from the PTRC crew behind us. We could see the following pack gaining on Putney but used this to push off of. We stayed clear of any dramas throughout (Steve, yet again, steering brilliantly) and were overtaken only by one crew (a pair that was really moving). The following pack ultimately caught Putney and starting closing us down but we held off all the other boats through to the finish.
From the provisional results, we finished 9th out of 11 in Vet C/D and 215th overall. Definitely one of (in not the) our best outings so far. It didn’t even seem like 4k (although when Steve called halfway at Chiswick Eyot I nearly died – I thought we’d almost finished!) and we were well pleased with the row. Getting back was tiring, now sculling against the tide but was offset for me at a feeling of achievement. We’d done it, sculled well, hadn’t made a fool of ourselves and maybe made a few more people take MKRC seriously.
Good to get home though – started watching a film and I can tell you how it starts and end but not a lot in between…. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Just got to recover for tomorrow – like lunatics, we’re off to Bedford for the Autumn Small Boats Head.