Bedford Regatta

Three crews travelled to Bedford Regatta for a day of racing – here are the race reports!

M1 (Jon, stroke)

Bedford regatta was the first race of the term, and one of our first high-rate pieces as a crew. After a few slightly disappointing sessions previously, this was our opportunity to reset and lay some power down together.

Despite fears of heavy rain and gusty winds, the weather cleared just as we began to boat. We were joined at the start line by M2, and after many shouts of “yeah Churchill” from both boats we took off.

The start was nervous as expected, but after a stride call from Zoe, we put the power on and settled to a steady rate 32, which we sat at for most of the race. Spent, and with our nerves mostly gone, the final 200m of the race was some of our best, most relaxed rowing yet, which finally allowed us to stand on it and get the rate up.

We finished with a time of 6:38, a very competitive time compared with other college first boats and definitely something to be proud of. It’ll be exciting to see how much faster we can get in the next two weeks, as there are big improvements still to be made.

W2 (Camille)

W2’s quest for off-Cam experience and precious British Rowing points took us to Bedford and possibly the bridge-iest race in the Cambridge area! The wind was howling, the rain pouring and the bus journey long – but Chris and Roly emerged as our shining lights when we arrived at the bank to find our boat already put together for us – our shiny, brand-new boat – Rob Fulton – ready for its first taste of off-Cam water!

Marshalling gave us a chance to bring our famous YMCA arm warm-ups to Bedford (I can report – it did catch on!) Lined up, ready and feeling warm in the arms, we set our sights on the course, emerging from the first two of nine bridges confidently, but at a blistering rate 34. Rolling through bridge after bridge, and rate-drop after rate-drop, we tried desperately to wind the rate back down. Though we only made it to 31, the crew battled hard and rowed strong to the end. Hei Li and Anastasia’s cheering from ‘rainbow bridge’ and a pair-by-pair motivation call – Iris’s favourite – helped hold us together.

We then successfully managed to get Rob safely out the water, taken apart and loaded on the trailer to sleep back at the boathouse, all ready for this week’s outings! Thanks to Iris and Molly for subbing in from W1 and extra thanks to Hei Li and Anastasia for organizing and bank partying! Other honourable mentions also to: the dogs, Elre’s lost spanner, Camille’s excitement for hot chocolate, Meg’s trip to Wales and our bow-side/stroke-side bus stop formation!

M2 – (Sean Morrissey-Ralevi, 3-seat)

M2 rocked up outside plodge at 14:00. Well, all apart from Ben (Bow), who had decided to make his own way to Bedford because he is a loner it would be easier for him that way. Car split was as follows: Dodgy Whip (Dan’s car) – Dan (2), Kieran (Stroke), Kirill (4), Sean (3), Old Man Car (Kieran’s words, not mine) (Damir’s car) – Damir (6), Charles (7), Harry (5), Vincent (Cox). Being the only bowsider in Dan’s car I knew I was going to get some smoke but I wasn’t quite prepared for the amount of spice that was thrown my way. I didn’t have time for this, especially since I was trying to complete my physics supervision that was due in 9am the day before. Nevertheless, the conversation was ‘interesting’ and certainly made the journey feel a lot shorter. That was, until Dan spent about 5 minutes circling a couple of roundabouts working out where to park. He then almost took us through the McDonalds drive-through, before being narrowly beaten to a parking space by a woman and a very small child. Eventually, the main car park was located, and we made our way to the river. Finding the Churchill squad was easy, I mean who else has pink boats. We found the rest of M2 and started to build the boat. This was a bit of a new experience for me because I had missed the session the day before where we had taken the boat apart due to a ‘fun’ Friday night. A few highlights from the building process: Ben put his screw in the wrong hole, Kirill can’t read numbers on riggers, but does have exceptionally strong wrist strength and was able to tighten nuts when no one else could. What a legend. Also, it was stupidly muddy. When the boat was built, we carried it to the riverside, put it in and rowed off in 8s to the marshalling area. Marshalling was great fun and an absolute mess, just the way we like it. Made good friends with Fitz M2, who were at one point sliding at rate 60 (looks like they had seen Dan’s video from back in Michaelmas term). A few marshalling highlights: 2 and 4 randomly tapping, Bow forgetting to take strokes, Vincent being claimed by a tree, chocolate being distributed throughout the crew and Dan seemingly trying to get us more stuck in the bank by wedging his blade through a tyre. But we prevailed and were eventually ready to race.

Race time. We row up to start. Hit a tree immediately. Dan dragged out of his seat. But we reset. We’re M2. We’re massive. Ain’t no tree gonna stop us. We set ourselves. And row on. Boom. Lessgo boyz. We row row row our boat not so gently down the stream. It’s actually pretty decent rowing. Good fun going under the bridges. Couple gusts of wind almost merked us. But as I said, we’re massive. Rate changes were also a little dirty. As is tradition, Dan provided us with a crab on the final stretch. But we reset and finished big strong. Congrats lads. Smashed it. 7:10 was our time. Great improvement on Newnham Head and a testament to just how massive we all are.

So, the race was done and all we wanted to do was get out of the water and head home. Unfortunately, Kieran had other ideas, and we instead waited by the bank for about 20 minutes doing nothing (Kieran’s note: Hey it’s not my fault M1 didn’t help us get out from a high bank when they had a coach to help them… Wasn’t risking it after Magdalene were more underwater than not…) . Bow 4 were ready to mutiny and discussed forming a 4s crew. I just wanted to get all the cake in my bag. But eventually, we span, and rowed down to where we had originally put the boat in. Taking the boat out and carrying back to the trailer, we almost knocked into someone’s car but it was their fault for parking in the middle of the path. What a wasteman. We took the boat apart and slapped it onto the trailer. The car got stuck trying to drive off with the trailer, so M2 had to help push it on through the mud, with our immense combined strength of a thousand lions. Did I mention we’re massive? Obviously, we then went to Maccies. I fudged my order and had to wait an extra 10 minutes because I’m incompetent. Headed back home, listening to Kieran’s many many tales of woe. And then we were back. 6 hours away for 7 minutes rowing. Absolutely smashed it.

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