We were expected to row WELL HARD, having had last year’s crews set the bar high. First race of the term meant we were HUNGRY for SUCCESS. On the warm up, we stayed loose and sharp. Reana on the bank was looking particularly FIERCE that morning, Matt was giving us enthusiastic cheerleading, and I have decided that it is a good day to DOMINATE. Temporarily choosing Beyonce as my role model, I stepped back in the boat, with a crew I knew I could count on, who like no-one else respond to a call for power: with FIERCE DOMINATION. Our Captain, in true leadership manner, was spotting nominations for the OoP, as we gave it a particularly aggressive burst for 10 on the warm up. Was fabulous.
The race went pretty much like this: we gave it all at the start, then we gave it a 10, during which the boat has lifted about 1.5m above the water surface, then we gave it another 10, flew over the bridge, landed, and gave it a last push for 10. Not scientifically accurate but possibly the closest to what it felt like. Flying is painful but satisfying. I heard the time-measurement staff at the finish said ‘wow’ when we crossed. Special mention to Nadia for gaining pilot points.
We won our division, and with this time could have won the one above us if W1 didn’t take the spot. We came 1st of all second boats, which feels sweet, beat a couple of W1s as well, and a couple of men’s boats too. This gave us a great motivation to work hard, practice and give it all in the next races, and try to get better and better. Watch out, Division 3, we’re coming.
Ola Janusz, stroke
Rowing away from a very crowded boathouse, we warmed up quickly, and had a couple of good practice starts on the row up. Spirits were high and we were all hoping to do better than our previous race, having improved greatly throughout the week. Eager to show this in our race, we got our focus together for the standing start by the Plough, and braced ourselves for the wind on the Long Reach. As Georgie called for a mental restart just before the railway bridge, we were giving it all we had, as we knew there were only about 2 minutes to go. Our finish was strong, and although this wasn’t some of our finest rowing, our efforts were rewarded with some shiny new tankards as we won the Mays second division ! My first tankard to go with my new blazer… so excited about Bumps already !
Laura Desert, 2
On one of the better row down’s we have had all term, W1 were excited for the upcoming race, despite the fact it was a back to back 2k! The marshalling was interesting, with us bumping into a countless number of boats!
The first of the 2k’s, I feel was quite solid. Which shows when one looks at the timings. With us having already raced, and with the headwind on the way back, our time drastically increased, but we still ended up doing well averagely in comparison with other crews in the Mays 2nd division, despite the awful conditions! It gave us all something to work on in preparation for the next race, and also for bumps in the future! Go Murray Edwards!
Jess Manning, Stroke
Today was a gorgeous day, and a perfect way to end our training camp. In the morning, after our daily intake of baguettes and Nutella, we set off in the VIII alongside another VIII put together by the veteran rowers of our host boat club (Club Nautique Libos-Fumel), in view of having a short race. Unfortunately, they didn’t have a cox of their own, so Pauline kindly agreed to step up to the challenge of coxing in French. The race, approximately 1k long, ended up being slightly haphazard : firstly, because Mark seemed intent on calling the start with a French accent, and his rendition of “Attention, allez !” was quite entertaining. So much so that we were all still giggling when we realised that we were meant to have started. Luckily the other team were also a bit startled, so both our start sequences were imperfect in some way. Then, a few strokes in, Pauline lost control of the steering and started veering into our VIII, Bumps-style, but all was fine and we managed to win by a length.
Lunch was a mixture of leftover food made into a rice salad with gazpacho as a starter, and plenty of cheese and bread.
Our afternoon outing was one of the most enjoyable ones we all had this week. Not only was it sunny and warm, but we went out in a flotilla of small boats, from single sculls to coxless quad and coxed IV. We all got a bit sunburnt, and showed off the recently purchased red and white kit from our host club.
Later in the afternoon, most of us chose to visit a second vineyard, and were treated to a guided tour of the cellars, with a detailed explanation of the process of wine-making, followed by some tasting.
For our last dinner in Fumel, we all went to a Creperie for some well-deserved pancakes and duck-based salads.
We have all concluded that this has been a successful and truly enjoyable experience, not only because the weather was relatively good all through the week, or because there was cheese and Nutella in abundance, but also and especially because of the incredible hospitality of all the people we met, whom we cannot thank enough.
Merci et au revoir !
Our morning outing consisted of several small boats and a few quads, introducing rowers to sculling, as our host boat club had several sets of training sculls and fat doubles. We were lucky the sun was shining in the morning, but as soon as we got the boats back in, the rain started pouring down.
We were all glad that we had the afternoon off, and we set off to visit the castle of Bonaguil, 15th century fortress built over a cave on a hill. We all stood in a giant bread oven, Georgie took a fancy to medieval toilets, and we had several interesting attempts at group photos with cameras set on a timer, before moving on. Our next stop was a local vineyard, where we learned how to taste and appreciate the flavours of wine, thanks to Pauline’s mad translating skills. After tasting four different wines, some of us feeling the effects already, although we only had a couple of sips of each wine, we set off back to the boathouse, where Mark cooked us all some delicious Nile perch.
We had warm weather for the outing in the morning, which focussed on suspension exercises. Felicia must have been pulling very hard, because she managed to crack her footplate, something she’s done to a MECBC boat already. The VIII and the coxed quad raced alongside each other for a while, until the VIII went into a short piece.
Lunch consisted of sweet and sour stir-fried vegetables, and enough rice to feed a small army, followed by interesting stretching exercises/nap-time in the gym.
The afternoon outing was similar to the morning one, but was punctuated with short yet violent showers, increasing the pile of wet kit accumulating on the radiators of the boathouse. Some of us were hoping to take out some sculls, but the wind and the rain didn’t stop and the appeal of hot showers was too strong, so we had to admit defeat.
Dinner was a delicious fish pie baked by Reana and Rowanne, followed by another massive cheese board, and finished with a gorgeous strawberry and kiwi tart. Throughout the meal the decibels were getting higher as laughter was increasing, due to cheese-induced happiness for some and general tiredness for others.
(Also, crisis averted : we have stocked up on Nutella and now have 4 big pots… these should last us another day hopefully!)
Quote of the day : “Cheese is basically a celebration of what happens when milk goes off.” Reana; and Mark commenting on Siena’s ability to make incredible food-related puns “You keep laughing until you camembert it” (ensuing hilarity).
It’s official : we have decided our schedule for each day of the week will be Nutella-rowing-cheese-rowing-cheese-sleep. Today was very warm, sunny and calm on the river. Most of us now have pleasantly pink cheeks and some are even starting to tan !
The VIII went out for a short but intensely technical session with Mark, whilst the rest of us took out some sculls.
After some omelettes, bread and cheese, we tucked in to a delicious apple crumble baked by Siena, and were able to read outside in the sun before rowing started again. In the evening we were treated to some lasagna, and more cheese… The combination of excessive sun and food has made us very tired, but we are all very pleased with how training camp is going so far.
Quote(s) of the day : “Girls, this isn’t ballet, it’s rowing !” Mark, and “That must be hallouminogenic cheese” Siena to Katie, who was going delirious from eating too much cheese.
We have set up camp in the room above the boathouse, and fresh baguettes were delivered there in the morning for our breakfast, which we devoured alongside copious amounts of Nutella, jam, …
After a quick warm-up on the ergs, we took out the IV and the VIII. Mark looked a bit worried as he was showed how to work the launch by a Frenchman… Sadly, we had no working cox box, so Georgie, coxing the VIII, had to use a megaphone, much to the delight of Pauline, at stroke. Nadia was enjoying the bowloaded IV, until we hit some very choppy water, and got slightly scared as the waves came over the bow.
Lunch consisted of LOTS of pasta, and some left-over beef, and for pudding, Georgie got her hands on a sugar “Daddy”. Our post-lunch break consisted of some serious work, as we all sat down to some revision.
As the clouds cleared, our second outing started off in bright sunshine, but the wind made the river quite rough, and we struggled somewhat. Mark wasn’t put off however, and went out in a single on the evening.
Dinner consisted of a delicious pasta bake, courtesy of Ying and Sal, followed by a generous and exciting cheese platter.
Quote of the day : “You look like a frightened meerkat ! We don’t want any frightened prairie animals, thank you.” Mark to Siena, whilst coaching.
After an uneventful yet exciting flight, Jean-Louis and two of his friends met us at the airport/corrugated-iron shed and took us to the beautiful city of Bergerac where we picked up Pauline from the station, before driving back to Fumel. Mark, Georgie, Anna and Ying met us there after having driven through France from North to South, and we all went down to the boat club to look around, and were treated to a delicious Boeuf Bourguignon. This perfect example of Gallic hospitality set all our spirits high, even though we were all very tired. We finally made our way to the hostel and collapsed into bed, knowing we would have to be up for 8am the next day.
Quote of the day (brought to you by Rowanne W.) : “I’m sure even Action Man has feet bigger than this” security man at the airport to Nadia upon seeing her shoes.