It doesn’t sound much, just 4k but it really is a long, long way. Yesterday saw Steve and I haul ourselves down to London again for the annual Pairs (not Paris as some would have…) Head. For those that don’t know it, this is a 4,000 meter course on the Thames, starting at the Boat Race finish post and going downstream to Hammersmith.
We boated this year from Tideway Scullers, right next to the start line. Conditions were, as they say, interesting. The wind was reasonably brisk and with a strong tide running, just keeping position before the start was quite an effort. The usual mayhem and chaos took place while waiting – certain London crews obviously DO own the river and believe looking where they are going is up to the others, not themselves. One crew in particular managing to hit at least three other crews while doing a race piece into the on-coming traffic. Add to this the impatient crews determined to get in front – even though their start position is down the field – and a good afternoon’s entertainment had by the bystanders.
The race wasn’t one of our best; starting midway through the Vet D group we were pretty quickly closed down and passed by three other competing boats. After this we settled a bit and paced with the rest of the group, through some very rough water (bit like Caldecotte Lake though!). However, it was an achievement and we didn’t finish last in the Vet D category, so can’t be too disappointed. Overall, we finished 8th (of 9) in Vet D and 261st (of 374 starters).
Rowing back at the end is just sheer Hell. Having done the 4k at racing speed to turn and then go back the whole 4k against the tide isn’t funny. Especially with one double so desperate to go past us (the race is over guys!) that despite several calls to “take a look” they finally hit us. What a pair of total muppets!
Even this wasn’t enough to put a damper on the day though. Hopefully we’ll be back again next year; with any luck with both of us feeling 100% this time.