As trailed in March and promised recently I owe a report on the Head of the River Race (a follow up to the Hammersmith Head). Tune out now if you don't care for boatie stuff. There is only one river, of course, the Thames; and only one head. We are insular folk. But the race isn't: although most of the crews were British there were a scattering of high class foreign entrants from Spain, Germany, Czech, Italy and so on. Full results are here; Molesey won, if you were wondering, in 17 21.76 . But we didn't concern ourselves with that end. Having started at 354 (where else do you put an unknown provincial club entering for the first time?) we finished at 302 (without overtaking anyone, alas) in 19 57.57 which is a fair enough result - just sneaking in under 20 mins.


(who is that masked man and why is he advertising cider? Tom W, Chris, Me, Mike, Ralph, James H, James T, Tom M, Paul)

From our viewpoint a more interesting comparison is against misc Cambridge crews.

FINISH  START     TIME                                    NAME
 1          4    17  21.76                       Molesey I
 2          2    17  24.80                       Leander I
 64       218    18  35.36     N   In2           Rob Roy I
 67       278    18  35.92     N   In3   H       Downing College, Cambridge
 88        79    18  44.22         In2           Cambridge '99 I
 113      220    18  50.40     N   In2   H       St Catharine's
College, Cambridge
 122      130    18  53.67     R   In1           Cantabrigian I
 129      157    18  56.93         In3   H       Lady Margaret Boat Club
 133      305    18  57.66         In3   H       Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge
 141      147    18  59.98         In3   H       Pembroke College, Cambridge
 145      224    19   1.00     N   In2           Rob Roy II
 146      176    19   1.29         In3   H       Peterhouse, Cambridge
 152      195    19   2.42         In3           City of Cambridge I
 154       60    19   2.70         In2   H       First & Third Trinity, Cambridge I
 161      252    19   5.94         In3   H       Jesus College, Cambridge
 164      326    19   6.76         In3   H       King's College, Cambridge
 206      288    19  18.90     N   In3   H       Robinson College, Cambridge
 211      222    19  20.26     N   In2           X-Press BC
 229      384    19  29.30         In3           Cantabrigian II
 236      237    19  31.96         In3           City of Cambridge II
 242      377    19  34.68         NOV   H       Wolfson College, Cambridge
 252      231    19  38.24         In3           Magdalene College, Cambridge
 253      260    19  38.33         In3   H       Selwyn College, Cambridge I
 258      163    19  39.02         In3   H       Trinity Hall, Cambridge
 267      226    19  41.71         In2           Cambridge '99 II
 295      378    19  52.52         NOV   H       Selwyn College, Cambridge II
 296      263    19  53.72         In3   H       First & Third Trinity, Cambridge II
 302      354    19  57.57     N   NOV           Chesterton
 304      281    19  57.75     N   In3   H       Homerton College, Cambridge
 311      254    20   1.66         In3   H       Christ's College, Cambridge
 334      319    20  16.17         In3           Churchill College, Cambridge

Image0019 We don't really care about the college crews, I just put them in for fun. More interesting are the likes of Cantabs II, who by odd chance are just behind us in the Bumps and 30 seconds faster over the course... but then we weren't fielding our fastest crew on the day. Hello, Petr!

Image0027 The course is Chiswick to Barnes, which is the Boat Race course but in reverse, but as with the boat race it is with the tide. Which means (given 400 boats take several hours to get off) that someone gets the height of the tide and thus the fastest advantage. Rumoured to be about boat 100. We stuck the boat together in Furnival Gardens (not nearly as grand as it sounds) and boated from the nearby Furnival (yes, I know you don't care - I'm writing this for my furture reference). You get a 1 minute slot on the pontoon, so all the blades are stacked up in advance, welly wenches are available for the shoes, and there is no time to hang around. We paddled up the course and stacked up on the banks, which is good, because you get to see the first division crews racing down in their impressively impeccable style. The half hour rain shower only dampened us a little.

The club blog has a link to a video that includes us, briefly. Misc photos from me in Horr on flickr. More club pix. There are more pix here than even I want to look through. Molesey were better than us. How about Cantabs II?

Exciting event of the day: I was going to go by train. At 7 am I was woken from sleep by my mobile, downstairs. So I ignored it. When it rang again 5 mins later I thought I'd better answer. It turned out to be James H, warning me that there was a huge fire near the station and there was liable to be Trubble. And in the end: it turned out that the old Spillers Mill burnt to a shell. The railway was unaffected, but they shut all trains off. Miriam drove me to Royston in the hope that there would be trains from there, but they were useless (vignette: I phoned the national rail inquiries: yes sir, there is a fire at Cambridge, all trains are cancelled there. And what about Royston? Err, oh hold on, let me look... Because, you see, since I was getting a call centre in India reading stuff off a screen they had no idea that Royston is a station on the Cambrdige line to London...). So I ended up joining someone else's taxi down to Kings Cross, or at least fairly close. And so I arrived shaken but on time.

Brief mention: Mr Asbo. Paul says they ripped off his story. Mr A nibbled my blade on Saturday. [Update: Paul broke the story first, of course. Amy has the links. I say: let him be. The rowers can cope, and if we lose the odd sculler, well never mind.]


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