Monday, 20 September 2010

A Marathon Row

Lincoln Stamp End Lock - Boston Rowing Club

River Witham

31 miles (50km). 4 hours, 42 minutes

At 5:30am, James and I departed for Lincoln rowing club in the company of 9 other crazy rowers. For the second time, I was to row the Boston Rowing Marathon in an VIII, and James was to cox it. Two other rowers from our club were to row the same distance in a pair (2 men, 2 oars, one little boat).

We arrived at the rowing club, and unloaded the boat while one of the other rowers took the trailer to the other end of the course at Boston, before getting a lift back to Lincoln. This is a logistical nightmare for organisers, as the start and finish of the race are so far apart! As one of the organisers, I had to draw a diagram in the end so that I could get my head round where all the cars and rowers should be at any one time!

The weather did not look good. It was tipping it down as we put the boat together, and showed no signs of letting up. But as we pushed off at 10:56, the rain began to let up. By the time we reached Bardney's Lock, 13.5km further on, it had let up completely! The lock is the most stressful part of the race, with crews competing to get out and back in again as fast as possible. Once back on the river we settled into a good pace, averaging about a 2:30-2:40 split (that's the time taken to row 500m), so we were getting through roughly a kilometer every 5 minutes or so. The km markers are really the only way to know how far you've gone as there are few landmarks on the Witham! James is a great job of keeping us focused and rowing well. He also provided musical interludes by playing rousing tunes via an adaptor down the cox box speakers. We rowed to Smoke on the Water, Don't Stop Me Now and the Ride of the Valkyries! Every 10km or so we had a break to take on water and food, but otherwise we just kept rowing. We had thought we might see Naughty Cal, but perhaps they went the other way in the end.

I enjoyed this year's row more than last year. The actual rowing was better, the cox box lasted the whole length of the race, James's coxing was really very motivational and kept us better focused, and best of all we finished the race 20 minutes faster than last year!

Picture taken by Mel's brother on Will's camera. Taken from Will's flikr album
The crew from left to right and top to bottom: Mel, William D, Freya, William C, Jo, Anne, Joss, me, James. Six of us (Mel, William C, Anne, Joss and me) did it last year as well! Tom and Andy rowed the pair.

I survived without any blisters, and most people manged to avoid getting too many. Today, I just ache all over - especially in my legs! I was certainly glad of the carb-loading I had enjoyed on a lovely spontaneous cruise out to Waterbeach on Pippin on Saturday afternoon. They had unexpectedly come in to Cambridge to pump out and we enjoyed the chance to catch up.

EDIT: Will C has done a blog about Boston too.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like you had a good race. We decided against going to Fiskerton in the end. the weather wasnt up to much adn the thought of dodging all the boats again didnt give us much motivation to set off.