The 5am start was a bit of a shock for the 20 novice men rowers who departed along with their coxes and Zach's extremely attractive girlfriend from the university. The atmosphere on the mini bus achieved a somewhat mellow feel which was soon amended by Zach's party pop anthems and the discussions regarding Monday's huge night out at Kasbah. Aside from this, each rower had a sense of urgency for the task at hand.
After recovering from the deja vu, we stepped off the minibus in the intriguing land of Peterborough accompanied by those notorious swans and crows enjoying the frozen over lake.
Rigging went as smoothly as it always does and it wasn't long before we set off on our quest of ensuring we looked hot enough to have a new cover photo of us rowing on our Facebook profiles.
The novice men's first VIII consisting of Jack, James, Tiago, Gabriel, Lucas, Tom, birthday boy Zach and Stan with his condom hat were up first. Our bad-ass cox Ralph, in a manner which I would describe as camp yet aggressive set us off at the start. We achieved a fast speed from the off and kept a consistent, balanced rhythm which came as a bit of a surprise to everyone but it motivated us knowing how far we had come. Obviously we were just too novice for this to last, and after a rocky section which included some inappropriate motivational swearing from the Muppet sat at 5 seat (right in front of the marshals by the way) our balance wavered which forced Tom (bless his heart) to catch the biggest crab in 2015 novice men's history. We recomposed ourselves quickly and got the boat moving on for a strong finish. We ended up in second place in our division, losing to a bunch of pre-pubescent 16 year olds from Bedford School who in all fairness really knew how to shift the boat on. A satisfying result but still no cigar.
Both the 2nd VIII coxed by Rebecca consisting of Cian, Posh-Boy Paddy, Big Steve, Harry Styles, Louis, Chong, Rihards and Will and the 3rd IV coxed by senior cox Emily and consisting of Clym, Mark, Michael and Chris had a pleasant journey up to the start line both colliding with the river banks for fun it would seem. The 2nd VIII set off behind the 1st VIII eager to prove their worth and aggressively attacked the course. Bedford school however were catching up quick which came as an unwelcomed and unfamiliar distraction for the crew. They found it hard to settle into a definite rhythm however put in a brave effort finishing the line in third place, 30ish seconds behind the 1st VIII. A great effort by all the ladz. The 3rd IV (or the first IV as Mark likes to refer to them as) attacked the course with nothing to lose. For race virgins Mark and Michael it was a great learning experience and a respectable 6th place will definitely keep them all motivated to continue on their exponential learning curves.
A special thank you must also go out to Zach and his awesome parents for bringing a truck load of donuts to the boathouse for our post-race gainz.
One word to summarise the whole day: progress.