Scratch regatta

May 3, 2011

Making full use of the Bank Holiday, last night saw us run another impromptu scratch “regatta”. This comprised four mixed crews, selected at random, racing in coxed fours in a round-robin event. Despite truly foul conditions, with a massive crosswind whipping up huge waves, it was a great, fun, event. There were some very close races and certainly plenty of competitive spirit in evidence…

The waves did make for some “interesting” rowing – a couple of us had the fun of placing the blade and then pulling through – in clear air, as the wave dropped away. Coxing was not for the feint hearted either, and definitely not for those wanting to keep dry.

Congratulations to the winning four of Tim, Steve, Andi and Lou, unbeaten across all three races.

A great evening, topped off by a club barbecue and then the brilliant news that Norwich were back in the Premier League!!!!

Bedford Small Boats Head 2011

April 12, 2011

Today’s Bedford SBH was a brilliant end to the Head season, held in scorching April sunshine and run superbly. A really good day out, topped off by two wins for MKRC. The day was dominated by an extremely strong City of Oxford contingent, who cleaned up pretty much every event they entered, so our performances were really up against it.

A club visit to Nando’s in the evening really topped off a great day, also allowing us to celebrate the wins.

Master’s C/D 4x-
With Pierre-Yves away on business, Tim swapped in for him at stroke, with Steve, Simon and I in our normal line-up. Setting off as race number 2 (an unusual experience for us, being this high up the field) behind a St. Ives IM3 quad, we found a pretty good rhythm from the off. Conscious of a City of Oxford Women’s Elite four behind us, this gave us the incentive to keep pushing and we completed the course in 7:23, to place us fourth of six but only 22 seconds off the winner. A pleasing result given the change to our normal crew and lack of practice in this combination

Women’s IM2 4+
We entered no less than three crews in the IM2 coxed fours; being pitched against an extremely fast City of Oxford boat, we managed to place 2nd, 3rd and 4th out of the five crews. A mere ten seconds covered the three crews, just a single second separating 2nd and 3rd. Our top crew was some 37 seconds adrift of COX, giving some idea of what everyone was up against!

Novice 2x-
Benn and Gwen in another outing in their Novice double. Showing increasing confidence, they took twenty-one seconds off their run at Star Head, despite a couple of “close encounters” on the way. Putting down more power kind of upset the steering and resulted in a strong attraction towards the bank. That their finishing time was only sixteen seconds off the winners (placing them fifth of seven) even though they didn’t have the best of races is an indication of good things to come from this pair.

Women’s IM2 2x-
A very good performance from Liz and Andi saw them place second in this category (inevitably behind a COX double!). They were so quick, they took the fastest MKRC double time of the day (8:14), even though it looked like someone had been hacked to death in the boat at the end (sculler’s scratches on Andi’s hands, small wounds but boy, do they bleed!).

Mixed Novice 2x-
Managing to avoid any “domestics”, Tom and Lindy ran an excellent race, taking first place in the Mixed doubles. Very fortunately, Lindy found out that her gate wasn’t done up properly on the row down to the start, rather than during the race… the result (and their dryness) would have been a lot different if it had happened halfway down the course at race speed!

Mixed IM3 4x-
The mixed quad completely blew away their opposition from Lincoln, winning comfortably with the fastest MKRC time of the day (7:15), some 30 seconds clear. A nice first MKRC pot for Benn, sculling with Tim, Andi and Liz.

Masters D/E 2x-
Steve and I out in our double, but whether it was the heat, the earlier race in the quad or just being a bit out of sorts, we were well off the pace, coming third of four but a whopping 52 seconds behind the winners. After a couple of really good training sessions during the week, the balance and power just didn’t seem to be there, and the time shows this.

Women’s Masters B/C 2x-
First time out as a crew for Clare and Lou, so their main objective was to finish upright without hitting anything, which they achieved nicely. Not surprisingly, last of the three crews but a good first race together.

Women’s IM3 4+
Showing there is no rhyme nor reason in the categories, the ladies IM3 boat posted a faster time than all of the IM2 crews! With Oxford taking the first four places, our ladies finished seventh of ten but with a good time compared to the non-Oxford boats (who were in a different league).

Women’s IM3 2x-
A combination of lack of practice (in Jo’s case, a lack of any kind of rowing) and a strong field saw Jo and Lindy well off the pace in their double, trailing in last in a field of six.

My views…
Yet another great event at Bedford, well organised and friendly and in the inevitable brilliant weather (just how do they do this – do they sacrifice a junior sculler on the evening before or something?). I’m struggling to remember an event where every division started early! Obviously helped by the weather bringing out the best in everyone and with all crews co-operating, it ran like clockwork.

Apparently though, the entry was well down on previous years – I guess this is a combination of factors, including cost and an unfortunate clash with Abingdon Head on the same day. We’d normally attend both but were unable to do so; it appears Abingdon asked to move their event forward two weeks to avoid this but a club with an event on the same day blocked this, despite being in a different region and with no obvious overlap.

So, a fond (?) farewell to the “joys” of the Head season and into Regatta season. It all starts next week, see you at Leicester, first time we’ll have been to this event!

Another of the joys of Bedford is the speed with which results are published – we were in the Bedford Club House at the end of the day and the final results were on their computer before the crews from the last division had got back. That is just so impressive!

They were inevitably on-line before we got home and they can be found here.

Holiday time

August 9, 2010

No more MKRC updates from me for a few weeks (you’ll be glad to hear). We’re off on holiday, leaving the club to manage without us – I’m sure they’ll manage (only joking people!). Hopefully, some kind soul will send me an update for the events we’ll miss (Peterborough and Warwick?) and I can post them here.

If you want to see where we’re going and keep tabs on us (taking notebook PC with us!) there’s a new blog at

Christmas Party 2009

December 9, 2009

Proving that we’re not just about training and racing, our Christmas Party was a great excuse for socialising, drinking and taking the mick out of a number of people. It’s amazing how well some of your fellow rowers scrub up – it can be quite a challenge to recognise someone you know really well from the back, dressed in lycra and all how and sweaty, when they’re all smart and made up (well, the girls, anyway). Equally surprising is how the club house can be transformed into a Christmassy party venue.

Pretty well attended and many thanks to those who helped before, during and after (especially Paula for doing so much food!).

Some great memories of the last year rekindled while the Christmas Awards were handed out. I’m sure this isn’t a full list but…

Senior Moment awards to the Ladies Vet crew who carefully de-rigged a boat to re-rig it the opposite way round – only to get down to the water to find they’d put it back exactly the same way as it had been to start with

Lane Discipline award to me, based on my uncanny ability to start on one side of the river at Warwick and wind up hitting the opposite bank (not to mention a rather too close encounter with a bridge at Bedford)

Get Stuffed award for Steve, who managed to bring a packet of Paxo stuffing to Peterborough (he thought it was cake bars, allegedly)

Digging out of a hole award for Steph. Having won at Bedford Quarts she was washing out her pot (prior to having a beer…) and saw someone from another club doing the same. On asking what she’d won, the reply was that it wasn’t hers; in fact she’d been knocked out in the semi – by Steph’s crew. Ooops.

Another one for Steve was the Mr Bump award, for failing to spot the very large barge at Abingdon. The one that’s moored there. Permanently.

Little Miss Chatterbox naturally (despite her very loud protestations) also went to Steph (circuits are SO quiet when she’s not there)

The 101% award went to one of the new guys, John. At his first circuit session he desperately wanted to keep up. So much so, he went very, very white and disappeared outside, to throw up. Shows commitment though…

Owing to her total lack of co-ordination, Becks received the Spotty Dog award. You have to see her pysching up to do these to appreciate this one.

Dean was awarded the special prize of Mr Indecent. Amongst other reasons, this was for his increasingly shredded shorts that he wears to circuits.

Finally, following the saga of the “missing” Galaxy bars of Facebook, an emergency Galaxy was given to Andi, in case Tim hides the others.

End of Season Awards

October 3, 2009

A great night out at Strada in the Hub in Central MK for the end of season dinner and awards. Really nice to see so many new faces there, especially from the latest “Learn to Row” course, with Tom, Thomas, Fred, Roger, Andrea and Frances all there.

The awards for the season went to:

Oarsperson of the Year: Jo Heywood
A central figure in the top ladies crew this year, winning so many events, Jo not only contributed directly to their success but also freely passed on her knowledge and experience to help drive the crew on

Most Improved: Charlene Mills
Having been pushed (unwillingly!) into Stroke for the ladies crew, Charlene has gone from strength to strength through the year, driving the crew forward and improving all aspects of her rowing through the season

Club Person of the Year: Karen Wilson
Despite several other strong contenders, Karen’s immense contribution to the “Learn to Row” programme and her utter determination to keep helping despite serious injury saw her most deservedly pick up this award

Special mention: Dean Abraham
In recognition of his huge contribution to the Ladies squad this year, taking a talented but disorganised group of women under his wing and turning them into a real force to be reckoned with, putting up with the tears and tantrums to put together a squad that just got used to winning wherever they went!


December 13, 2008

Haven’t had a chance to write much recently (not that there’s been a lot to write about) but I find myself with a bit of spare time this morning, courtesy of the weather. Having been perfectly calm all week (Caldecotte Lake was like a millpond on Monday and Thursday) this morning the wind was steady at 15 knots and gusting higher. The lake looked more like the tideway, with a strong stream running. No chance of getting out in this, so we had the “joy” of an early morning circuit. Just for a change, Steve threw in ergos as well, six minutes at rate 26. Exactly what we needed first thing on Saturday morning. Still, it was nicer indoors than out. Mind you, there was a noticeable lack of people down this morning, especially men…

Major event last week was the Christmas Party. Very well attended and a really enjoyable night. More than enough food to go round (good thing we’re rowers, otherwise there would have been a mountain of stuff left) and livened up with a couple of party games. Will impressed everyone with his detailed knowledge of Mr. Men characters to win that contest. The competitive nature of us all was well demonstrated in the over/under game – how can something so simple wind up being such a competition? Still, we won when the other team burst their balloon (and, no we didn’t sabotage it as was being muttered by the losers).

Some of you may have noticed there’s a couple of other links on the right of this. I’m trying to add in useful rowing related links as I find them – if you want any added, let me know. One good one is the Top 100 Rowing sites – this is like a “hit parade” of rowing sites. To raise our profile, please click on this each time you visit this blog or the fotopic sites; this will move us up the rankings!

That’s all for now – only three more circuits ’til Xmas!!!!!

End of Season Dinner

October 1, 2008

The end of the Regatta season saw us having our annual club dinner, with presentation of annual awards. The dinner was at the Mediterranean Grill and was very enjoyable (amazing but Mediterranean Grill is one of the top search terms hitting the club website at the mo!). It was good to see a large turnout with both established and new members being there. Special mention to Ray (our ex-captain) who came along as well, good to catch up with him (especially as he admits to being one of the people who reads this….)

Awards for the year were:

Oarsperson of the year – Will. Given his versatility and willingness to row with anyone and anywhere, this was a spot on choice. He’s rowed (both sides), sculled, coxed, at Novice and S3 levels in a wide number of crews and is always happy to help out.

Most improved – Lindy. I think there’d have been a riot if she didn’t land this. Having started rowing in April (or thereabouts), she’s already de-noviced (first event) and is an established member of the ladies squad and a damned good rower.

Club person of the Year – Me! It seems some people do read this drivel and appreciate it after all…

Good fun and a great evening – even an appearance from our littlest member (Darcy – Becks and Glen’s little one).