Win at Pairs Head!
- Published on Saturday, 15 October 2011 15:10
City Duo Win Women's Doubles at Pairs Head
City recorded some great results at this years Pairs Head of the River Race on the Thames. Top of the pile were Sam and Sarah who won their IM2.2x category in a time of 13:12, a fantastic result for them both and for the club. Alan raced an IM3 2x composite with Matt Castle of Rob Roy and they finished 66th overall in 12.34 Stephen and Dave raced IM1 2x and finished 88th overall in a time of 12.48. Silvia and Ulrike raced W Lwt IM3 2x and came 6th in their category in 14.02.
Sam & Sarah at the Pair's Head Prize-Giving, plus Race Report
It was the perfect setting to pick up our Pairs Head silverware--sunshine, snacks, champagne and smiles at the Civil Service Boathouse.
GB Olympic Rower Debbie Flood presented the prizes. How inspirational is that. (She says Pairs Head is her favourite race!) Sam and I were faster than the Flood/Jones W.Sen.2x in the race, but it turns out that Jones is a GB cox, so that's one mystery explained. The pots are very handsome and maybe you'll see the plaque in the clubhouse. Thanks to Dave for taking photos and for generally being ace.
On Saturday 8th October, 7 scullers from City (and a few from other clubs around the country) descended on a 4k stretch of the Thames to take part in Pairs Head of the River. The forecast for race day had been unusually accurate, and conditions on the river looked as good as I've ever seen them. After the usual rigging faff, and getting Dave and Stephen boated, Sarah and I were ready to go so joined the steady stream of doubles and pairs heading down from Putney towards the marshalling area.
Highlights from marshalling included seeing a racing pair capsize, cheering on anyone we recognised, and listening to the rather worrying conversation of the Mixed Masters F double marshalled one place above us. Hearing such phrases as 'Well this is an exciting adventure, isn't it?' coupled with the dubious amount of control they exercised over their boat did nothing to inspire us with any confidence in the boat we would be chasing - and especially in their chances of being able to get out of our way when we caught them up. In the end, however, we needn't have worried; the nice race marshals gave us a full 2 minute gap before setting us off.
Having raced Pairs Head last year in the same combination, Sarah and I were drawn at the top of our division. We crossed the start line with a relatively clear run before us, and the rest of our category in hot pursuit. We soon started to inch away from the following boats, and by Barnes Bridge we'd opened a comfortable lead on the rest of the group. Sarah stuck confidently to her line as we consolidated our strong rhythm and worked on sharp catches. Coming round onto the Hammersmith bend, with legs and lungs burning, I couldn't help feeling that a bit of excitement might be beneficial in spurring us on towards the finish; Sarah immediately obliged by clipping the red buoy on the apex of the bend - not exactly what I'd envisaged, but it probably did the trick. A quick re-start was called, followed by an apology from Sarah. This is, to my knowledge, the only time Sarah has ever apologized for hitting on a buoy, but no apology was necessary as the entertainment of watching the rest of the division follow our line more than made up for the couple of strokes we lost in our own close encounter. A grunt from Sarah (interpreted by me as â€˜I can see the finish') saw us cranking up the rate and work for a final push towards Hammersmith Bridge. We crossed line having built a considerable lead on the chasing boats, and relatively secure that we had at least assured ourselves of a top 9 place in our group.
To come home not only with a category win, but also as one of the top 10 women's boats on the day, is fantastic reward for all the hard work that we've put into our sculling over the last couple of years.