After a long term of rowing and an eventful but successful Lent Bumps campaign, M1 reunited for what would be their final outing of the term - The Head of the River Race on the Tideway.
After one of the most poorly attended crew dinners possibly ever the night before, featuring the obligatory screening of ‘True Blue’, race day began at the crack of dawn, as we left Cambridge at 6am for the drive down into the Capital. After Santiago “is anyone else going blind” Dubov’s shambolic directions on our January training camp in Sicily, the role of co-pilot fell upon Bailey “This bottle is too small” Brookes who seemingly led us into a random car park that resembled a building site. However we were soon greeted by the sight of Tim, our boatman and provider of supreme mid-race encouragement, who assured us that we were in the correct place.
After we had assembled our boat and admired Oxford Brookes extensive quiver of Empachers and sleek collection of stash (no pressure Takashi) we were finally welcomed by the arrival of our 6 seat Marcin “Last in First out” Ziarko, arriving uncharacteristically late, perhaps due to no longer bearing the responsibility of Captain. Boating from Barn Elms Boathouse meant that we would have to row most of the course upstream to get to the start point at Chiswick Bridge, giving us time to take in the scenery and watch on as the 279 boats starting before us rowed past.
Whilst the row up the 4.25 mile course gave the rowers plenty of time to warm up before the big race, it also gave our cox Liz “oh shit shit shit” Elder plenty of opportunities to exhibit the force of the current which is significantly stronger than that of our home waters on the Cam. After our Bow got a little too cosy with the stern of a Bath Uni lower boat and our race number decided to go for a swim, we found ourselves battling the stream of the river which would have spun us round 90 degrees had it not been for some helpful instructions from the race marshals and one of the most benevolent acts seen in recent times involving stroke seat Mark “two pints of milk” Allingham who jumped out of the boat to prevent our stern coming into contact with the bank. If that was not enough drama for the day, all the bobbing around in the Thames provide a test too strong for some of our bladders, and in an act of desperation 3 seat Silas “I filled up the whole bottle” Hope elegantly had to do the deed, proving that it was possible despite 2 seats earlier problems.
With our boat now being significantly lighter we got closer and closer to our spinning point at Mortlake, before turning it round and lining it up for the wind up under the bridge to start the race. We started strong with a nice chunky rhythm, bolstered by our 200+ kg 5,6 pairing in the middle of the boat and quickly made up the ground to Hughes Hall, a fellow Cambridge College, who despite being overtaken by us early on in the race, held on admirably until the end, despite a fairly comical collision with a buoy that would have certainly made it onto You've Been Framed had someone filmed it in slow motion. After taking Hughes, we went on to overtake a number of crews before reaching the end of the race in Putney in a time of 20:23.0 concluding what can be described as a stellar effort, and a solid way to round off this terms racing.
Despite some of this terms antics, M1 held it together rather well on the Tideway, with no spectacular crabs from the former “crab specialist” but now “port officer” Nils Burger, and no noteworthy missed strokes from Takashi at 7. Unlike Hughes, we had no significant coxing errors, so praise must go to Liz for steering some good lines swell as for compiling questions for the traditional HoRR quiz. Our confirmed time meant that we placed 174th on the day, putting us in front of a number of Cambridge crews including Jesus M1, Peterhouse M1, Emma M1, Kings M1, Queens’ M1 and St Catz M1 - all of whom are significantly above us in Bumps, showing that for the relatively inexperienced crew which we are, Corpus definitely has the potential to be even more successful in the future!
Photo Credit: Jet Photographic