After a 2 year hiatus, The Neptunes is back. In this issue, find out about our novices’ and our coaches’ experiences of Michaelmas 2016.
W1 raced in the Novice Academic category: 179/295 (from starting position of 309) 21:41.3
W1: up 3, bumped Girton, Pembroke, and Emmanuel.
W2: down 4, bumped by Hughes Hall/Lucy Cav W2, Queens’ W2, FaT W2, Jesus W3.
W3: up 1, bumped Hughes Hall/Lucy Cav W3.
W1 lost to Churchill W1 by 1.5 lengths
W2 won against Homerton W2 easily, lost to Emmanuel W2 by 2 lengths
Newnham Short Course
W3 achieved a time of 9:20, 4th of all W3s, beating 2 W2s and 1 W1 crews
Winter Head to Head
W1 Leg 1: 8:15.9, Leg 2: 9:00.1. Total time 17:16.0. 9/11 of Lents 1st division (crabs!)
W2 Leg 1: 9:07.4, Leg 2: 13:41.8. Total time 22:49.2. 10/10 of Lents 3rd division (crashed)
W1- 18:34.1 – 18th of W1s – 22th overall
W2- 19:29.7 – 4th of W2s – 30th overall
JK Rowling – 13:02.3 – 18th of NW1s – 24th overall
Cleopatra- 13:44.7 – 21th of NW2s – 59th overall
Beyonce – 15:44.5 – 3rd of NW3s – 38th overall
Clare Novices’ Regatta
Cleopatra – Lost against Pembroke
W1- 10th – 10:57 – 10th of Cambridge colleges W1s
W2- 16th – 12:58 – 16th of Cambridge colleges, 4th of W2s
Queen’s Ergo Competition
JK Rowling proceeded to the final
Cox – Joaquina Delas Vives
Stroke – Maria Rust
7 – Amanda Sjödahl
6 – Laurane Saliou
5 – Emma Roth
4 – Laura Robinson
3 – Heather Dudley
2 – Emilie Cousin
Bow – Nadia Blackshaw
Coach – Mark Jacobs
Cox – Julia Gillard
Stroke – Manuela Gross
7 – Kate Wilkinson
6 – Païvi Pirhonen
5 – Taine Ranaghan
4 – Chloe Legard
3 – Anna Gibbons
2 – Audrey Bellis
Bow – Simona Sulikova
Coach – Robert Gardiner
Cox – Emily Busvine
Stroke – Joanne Skinner
7 – Hope Mason
6 – Sushmita Ramanujam
5 – Felicity Parker
4 – Lisa Kreusser
3 – Natalia Hussein
2 – Anthea Chui
Bow – Clarrie Pettit
Coach – Reana Maier
If you want to join MECBC as a cox or a rower, this is the time! Sign up below. If you have previous rowing experience and would like to try for our senior squad, please contact the Captain of Boats (email@example.com) for more information.
On a wet and very windy Saturday, 9 alumnae of MECBC returned to the Cam to take on Pembroke Regatta.
Before the race, we had known that due to a small number of entries, the racing will proceed in round robin rather than knock out format — we would get 3 races, one against each other entrant for the women alumnae division, which included two crews from Pembroke crews and one from Caius.
Rowing experience post-graduation varied. Two of us still live in Cambridge and row/cox regularly. Two more are training and racing with crews in Peterborough and London. Two of us scull/row weekly in Paris and Berlin. The other three have not been in a boat from 5-18 months.
Having said that, we have all been in the 1st VIII at some point with MECBC (except Pauline, who was not eligible, rather than not capable!), and when including subbing, likely have rowed with everyone else, just not in this exact combination.
On the day of the race, nearly everyone seemed to arrive at the boathouse within 5 minutes of the agreed meeting time (on that account, probably already doing better than when we were still rowing with MECBC). After a flurry of hugs and “how are you”s, Laura, as keen as ever, suggested a warm up on the erg. We did, under the authoritative coxing from Christina, on the 8 ergs that are now squished into the men’s changing room. I tried and failed to beat Jess and Ola either side of me during the warm up, so it is good that I’m at the bow seat. Then, we fell almost into the routine of old times, getting blades out, running back upstairs for a last minute trip to the loo, taking out Owen, getting everyone (plus Haribo) in the boat, then we pushed off.
The warm up was rowing in sixes, brought down to fours as we got stuck behind a rather slow men’s crew. At the Green Dragon footbridge we took it up to all eights, a little wobbly to start with, but we found a platform in less time than expected. At the railway bridge Christina called for a practice start – the first of two before the race. It was surprisingly reasonable – we were fairly cohesive, and took the rate — in a scratch VIII — up to 32. We tried another one further down the reach, then paddled around the corner, spun in the narrow section outside the Plough, and parked to wait for the race.
While parked, we consumed what Mollie called “an astonishing amount of Haribos”, caught up with old friends, and spotted familiar faces in other crews. Soon we were told to push off, and were told we would be racing on the meadow side.
Once we have paddled around the corner, we realised that the gusts of crosswind made it incredibly difficult to row, stay parallel to the bank, or stay on the meadow side. After what seemed like forever trying to line up, the “go” caught us somewhat by surprise. From my bow seat perspective, Pembroke pulled away from us at the start, but then, we held them alongside, all the way down the reach. For me (and I suspect for others) everything started hurting sooner than it would have in the height of my MECBC career, but we knew the drill, and under the relentless rhythm set by Sally-Anne and Reana, we pushed through and clung on for every inch against Pembroke. The race stretched on as the lactate burned in our legs. Mark yelled something about New Hall as we headed towards the railway bridge. We held our heads up and pushed on. One thought, crystal clear, echoed Mark’s words: yeah, this is it, this is why I came back to row for my club.
We had the advantage of the corner through the railway bridge, though we suffered for about two strokes (and it was not much more than two strokes!) with a crab in the boat. Pembroke pushed back at Morley’s Holt to finally take the finish and the win at a length ahead of us.
We turned around to wait at Chesterton for our second race, while consuming more Haribo. Although the outcome of the first race was not what we wanted, we were nonetheless quite pleased with how we fought, trading blows with them all the way down the Long Reach. It emerged that the Pembroke alumnae crew we have just raced required all its crew members to have a sub 8 minute 2k score. We felt even better about ourselves.
It got wetter and windier, and finally we were told to go up for our second race. On the row up it was clear that the gusts across the Reach had become even stronger, though we managed to keep our practise starts tidy. Another wait at the top of the Reach, where we found out that we are racing the Pembroke 2nd alumnae VIII, and that due to the worsening conditions, this would be our last race. We were determined to give it our all, while somewhat relieved that we would not have to wait around for another race.
As we came around Ditton corner, Christina warned us about the upcoming wall of wind, which we ploughed through to make it to the start line. This time we were on the towpath side. Again, lining up seemed to take forever, and again, the start took us by surprise (Christina later told us that we started one stroke after Pembroke). But this time, we were more evenly matched. We pulled away from Pembroke at the start, and worked at extending the advantage. However, we were still racing against an experienced Pembroke crew, who held on to us and did not fade away. We tussled again all the way down the Reach, and at the Railway Bridge, they launched a powerful surge that seemed to close the lead we had on them. We stayed together, dug deep, and fought back. Pembroke tried to steer for best advantage towards the finish, leading to a blade clash at Morley’s Holt — which we both rowed through. A few push for tens later, we made it to the finish — just a canvas ahead of Pembroke, but a win nonetheless. We were happy with the outcome, and the race, and even happier that we can now go back to the warm and dry boathouse!
We had a confident paddle back, then moved on to the Fort St. George for lunch. Reana complimented us for being “super easy to organise”. Well, thanks are indeed due: to Reana for putting this crew together, and to MECBC for letting us use the equipment, and moreover, for hosting yet another lovely Neptunes Dinner. Most importantly of all, a big thank you to MECBC for teaching many of us to row, cox, and coach, for forging friendships and opening up opportunities to connect with our local rowing clubs, wherever we end up. We hope to be back again in 2018!
Pembroke Regatta 2016
MECBC “Oars of Phwoar” crew
cox: Christina Larkin
S: Sally-Anne Bennett
7: Reana Maier
6: Laura Desert
5: Jess Manning
4: Pauline Pilote
3: Morwenna Jones
2: Ola Janusz
B: Wing Ying Chow
Also see Mollie’s write up of the race and dinner (with more photos) here! http://ohsomo.com/2016/02/07/oars-of-phwoar-neptunes-dinner-2016/
Want to be part of the fabulous ladies of MECBC? Here is your opportunity. Just fill in the form below, and we will be in touch. Still unsure? Come and chat to our Lower Boats Captains and current members at the Boatie Tea in the walkway from 3-6pm today (5 Oct 2015).
As announced at the Neptunes Dinner in February, and in the most recent issue of Neptunes, MECBC has been fundraising for a new boat, ideally a second hand VIII for our W2. We had a target of raising £2000 before 30 June, and we are very close to achieving our funding target– at the start of Bumps we have achieved over £1200. Just one final push to reach our goal!
Since Lent term, Rowanne and later on Freya had been planning an epic 80 mile bike ride between Oxford and Cambridge for the final fundraising push. However, in the excitement of exams, Bumps, and May Week, there was increasing confusion about who is actually on the ride, and how the bikes and human beings can make their way to Oxford to start the ride on Monday 23 June. Various plans were made to get bikes to Oxford and places were arranged for people to sleep before the ride, thanks to Freya, Thea, and friends and family of Siena and Sal. However, the X5 was fully booked up and it seemed impossible to get the people to Oxford at the right time.
On Saturday 21 June, two days before the ride, the list of riders have been pared down to Sal, Laura and Holly, all stalwarts of MECBC W1. They realised the logistics of getting people and bikes to Oxford were not feasible, so Sal planned an alternative circular route that would start and finish in Cambridge. Though the route is now closer to 93 miles (~150 km) rather than the original 80 miles, it is considerably flatter, which is a notable advantage considering that none of the cyclists have road bikes, and Holly and Sal were planning to do it on a rented city and mountain bike respectively.
Looking at this route, I realised that I have cycled to many of these places before (Huntingdon, Chatteris, and Ely), that I missed long rides (haven’t been on one since my light bikes was stolen in 2012), and I have the equipment and experience to fix punctures if needed. So I volunteered to join the ride at the last minute, armed with spare inners, a puncture repair kit, and a GPS-capable phone and tablet.
There is a slight problem in that my bike is a town bike, and I love it, but it does weigh a ton. Here’s a picture of my bike not long after I bought it in 2009.
It is still a lovely bike, though not really suitable for cycling anything more than 20 miles. So I thought: I will rent a bike on Monday morning, when the bike shop opens (at 8am), then join the girls on the ride at 9am. Unfortunately, when I got to the bike shop on Monday morning, they say that they have a big group of prebooked bike rentals that morning and won’t be able to give me a bike before 9am. I decided that I probably can keep up with a mountain bike on roads, so I joined the girls and we set off around 9:15am after a quick helmet and tyre pressure check.
The first leg of the journey, about 20 miles from Cambridge to Huntingdon, went by in a breeze. We followed signs for route 51, which were mostly easy to find, and passed by pleasant villages with thatched roofs and summer blossoms.
The only obstacle we encountered was a cow blocking the path in Huntingdon, which Sal dispatched smoothly with a pat on its back.
From Huntingdon, we continued on route 12 and had a fairly uneventful 25 miles to Peterborough, with a couple of climbs that made us really glad that we picked this route rather than the Oxford hills. We enjoyed a picnic at Crown Lakes, and felt pretty good that we had such a smooth trip so far. Also, Peterborough is half way! (roughly)
The next 3.25 hours we followed a fairly well-signed, very flat, very straight, and really, kind of boring path from Peterborough to Ely. That 35 miles was mentally the toughest for me. I started to feel the weight of my bike and was having trouble keeping it at 10 mph, and everything was starting to hurt. We were trying to ride with some speed as we planned to meet Siena at Ely. Originally we said around 3pm, then we deferred to 5pm, then further deferred to 5:30pm.
A few drops (literally) of rain came down when we went past Mepal, which is about 5 miles from Ely, but luckily most of the rain cloud seemed to have missed us. Once we started seeing Ely cathedral on the horizon, it was psychologically much less painful. At 5:30pm we were on the outskirts of Ely and just have to make it across town to meet Siena!
At Ely, after meeting with Siena, we got a water refill from the Cutter Inn (THANKS!), and had our second food/water/loo break of the day. We were all quite tired by this point, though the fact that most (all?) of us have been to Ely made it felt more familiar and close to home.
From Ely to Cambridge we had to deviate from the planned route because we were worried that the route along the river bank from Ely is too overgrown and not possible to cycle over. Freya’s dad suggested going through Wicken, Quy, and returning to Cambridge via Newmarket Road (route 11-51). Sal prefered to follow the river back, which is marked as route 11 on OpenCycleMap, though the first section still goes off the river bank and through Wicken, presumably because the river bank route was completely marked as a footpath. Having been on a few footpaths earlier near Peterborough, we decided on taking the cycle route through Wicken, then trying to rejoin the towpath near Waterbeach. This little detour will add about 7 miles to our route, but it is probably better than trying to battle through 5 miles of footpath when Sal and Siena are the only ones with mountain bikes.
The views on this section are, in fact I think, the best on the route. We enjoyed the scenary and the wildlife, and took the cycling rather more gently through this section (about 8.5 mph).
The ominous clouds unfortunately caught up with us 2 hours later, when we were still about 6 miles away from Cambridge. It was a full blown rainstorm, no thunder, but raining so heavy that it hurt when it hit you. We decided to hide in a hedge until it calmed down a bit, while I tried to work out on my tablet/map the last section where this route is supposed to join back to the River Cam. On the map, we are supposed to follow route 11 and it will take us across to the river. However, note that part of the route (thick red dashed section) is not marked as a road but as a footpath…
We took the footpath because we want to be back on the River Cam towpath which we are very familiar with, and we felt it would be a nice ending to the ride. Unfortunately, the footpaths were a bit confusing and we ended up picking the one with 4 stiles/gates to climb over.
The footpath also ran through a field with two over-friendly horses. One started eating Holly’s handlebars.
This section was probably only ~300 metres but it took us around 30 min to get through, by then it was 8:20pm. Thanks to the British summer, we still have daylight.
Finally we were back on the Cam, back on the towpath, and it was familiar territory for all of us. We cruised through the last 5 miles, appreciating the much calmer than usual river (it was after all, getting on 9pm and nearly no one is training on the river). We got back to the boathouse at 9:10pm, nearly 12 hours after we set off.
It was a very memorable day for all of us. We were very pleased that we managed to complete the ride, and we trust that donations will continue to come in; Monday 30 June is the last day for this fundraising drive! Please get in touch with a friendly MECBC-er or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a donation.