Anna-Louise describes how “two brave crews left Cambridge at the crack of dawn wondering what the Tideway would hold in store for us in late November. We boated from Furnival who were very welcoming and had a great welly rack! Benign conditions met us – mild, calm with no wind but a Victorian pea-souper which swathed Hammersmith Bridge, lifted as we went through the start line enabling both crews to do ourselves proud.” Well done to Champs Womens Masters C Quad, and a Mixed Champs/Chesterton Masters E Quad.
David Levien: “Saturday 16th November saw the Peloton crew reunited for the first time since the bumps, so after a cold and early start expectations were modest. We needn’t have worried though – Catherine encouraged (whipped) us into shape in no time and we eventually remembered where to sit and which end of the blade to hold onto. After a good start, Tim at stroke ably held us at a metronomic 31 SPM all the way down the calm course to the finish. We were the fastest Vet E crew on the day, so perhaps Rob’s offering of nine Chunky Kit Kats did the trick (other chocolatey treats are available).”
On Sunday 3 November a trailer full of Champs Boats set off to Ely for the 5K Head Race. We were relieved to see the weather gods were smiling on us and blessed by no wind OR rain! Rachel Newell made her maiden voyage as trailer driver and all the boats arrived safely. W1 ‘Dawn raiders’ did a very good time and were second in their category of 7 completing the race in 21.52 and ended the race with a rousing finish of ’10 for John’ cheered by our wonderfully committed coach John Welton and President Keith Benton.
Carole ‘David Beckham’ Mills did 3 races in: a) a single and won, b) a mixed Budapest quad with Cantabs which was fastest in their category of 1, and c) a double with Phil Jones. There was also a double for Steve Millar and Trish Reed, our club captain, and William Dulyea in a single with a time of 24.08. Steve and Phil also fought it out in the singles category! All good times and all happy and great preparation for head race season as 5K is a very decent distance.
William Dulyea recounts, “After having been off the racing circuits for a few years now this was a very nice race for me to pace my level. I have trained for months now with plenty of erg time and the ease of the first half of this race reflected this. The second half got a bit more challenging as the fatigue started to settle in. To keep myself motivated I was lucky enough to be chased by Phil Jones (our sculling guru from Champs) who managed to make noticeable gains on me up to the finish. I had to work hard to stop him from coming by so I will need to up my training. Overall a fun race and it was nice to work with the rest of the Champs crews and help out.”
The joy of this race is the wonderful stretch of river and the relaxed marshalling as well as of course the cakes- both Ely’s usual amazing cake stall and Laura Neild’s tin of home made birthday doughnuts. As ever with these events its not just the rowing that counts but the cakes, the chat, the jokes that make the loading and unloading process go faster and mean we all went home happy and full of Ely air. Big thanks to the Isle of Ely rowing club for making us welcome as always.