Tales from the riverbank – Vesta’s women take on Fours Head

In this article, Vesta’s Women talk us through their Fours Head experiences in their own words. Read on if you dare…

W. IM1 4+ : Team Minnie Mouse (J. SMITH, W. HILTON, C. DUFFY, N. POCOCK, cox: J. STREET)

Kit, more kit and a picnic basket?

The W.IM1.4+ of Nicola Pocock, Jess Smith, Wendy Hilton, Christina Duffy and cox Jo Street (or Team Minnie Mouse as later transpired) pushed off from base camp Vesta armed with plastic bags full of kit, more kit, food, kit, hand warmers and some more kit. Rocking a starting place of 423 – the last Vesta boat of the day – the crew were braced for the elements. A picnic basket was considered, but was deemed logistically impractical at the last moment.

Sacrificing a finger…

A solid paddle towards the marshalling point had the crew quickly up to Hammersmith Bridge at which point cox Jo Street was heard muttering “Oooooh sh*t”. Upon investigation of the cause of the swearing (so very untypical from Street), it was apparent that the steering wire had sheared apart. With just bow informed of the potential disaster, Street decided to sacrifice her finger (so overrated as a digit) by looping the wire around it for grip and steering with the two pieces of wire in each hand. Marshalling was a barrel of laughs until about a hundred boats had passed, at which point there were no friends left to cheer for. Aw.

Marshalling for 40 days and 40 nights…

Forty days and forty nights later the crew finally spun, and with icicles to melt the crew took off like a bat of hell under Chiswick Bridge. It was an uneventful race in the end with nobody to overtake and nobody behind in sight, but all were pleased to have feeling back in their bodies by the end (except Jo whose finger may or not have functionality anymore – but hey rowing is worth it!).

W. Elite 4- : In a league (category) of their own (K. HEDGES, A. BROWN, L. BROCK, E. DORMAN)

Blessed by bird poo…

Heading out for their 5th outing together as a crew, the W Elite 4- boat of Ellie, Kat, Anna and Lara (setting off at the dizzy heights of No 62) were in good spirits (being injury free on race day was terribly exciting) and had even been blessed with a direct hit bird poo during the pre race outing – surely a sign of good luck?! Despite the fact that their only opposition (GB) had earlier pulled out, the girls were gunning for it and ready to go.

Foiled by muppetry…

Choppy and windy conditions during the first half of the race threw the crew a bit, with heavier crews around them advancing. Catching up to the Lightweight womens quads who set off ahead of the intrepid four gave them a boost and the girls whizzed passed an IC quad, only to get tangled in an Oxford / Tethys quad who had hit a buoy. Foiled by muppetry; the crew restarted aggressively before Hammersmith Bridge, where the water had flattened out. A full out sprint home ensued, fighting off an overtake manoeuvre from a strong Thames four. Forced out of the stream along the boats by the embankment by another lightweight quad, the four nevertheless wound for the finish, falling flat on their faces over the finish line. A pleasing (but slightly frustrating) race for all, which was celebrated in true Vesta style later that evening in the bar.

Elite 4-_HOR4s 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W. IM1 4- : Screwdrivers, vaseline and ski jackets (S. WOOD, E. INGRAM, M. GRANT, J. FROBESE)

Pre-race vaseline… (don’t ask)

8:15: Meeting time for four small IM 1 girls excited to get their boat out for a paddle, but first some homework … the oars need readjusting to get ready to race! 9:30: Having tried every possible screwdiver in the club, these small screws seem to be fighting against us with minimal movement! Coach to the rescue and the girls are able to go out for a little paddle to Harrods and back and get the nerves out! 11:15: Coach chat done, squeaky gate fixed (vaseline always comes to the rescue!), pre race chill time, getting our number sorted (423!!!! Jeez!!) and now its time for the last toilet trip … how many layers can we possibly store in our boat? Final decicion made: the skijacket is going to accompany Jana!

Smashing the warm up…

11:50: Ready to push off? Wahoo!  13:30: Smashing the warm up, getting in some rapid bursts (past some wobbly mens crews!) and weaving our way through the non-tideway crews … we are now in marshalling position convenienctly by Barnes steps and now watching the crews come through the start … now for the elite 4- and the senior 4- to come through … GO VESTA! 13:40: The skijacket is out for Jana!

A cheeky time penalty…

14:05: De-kit time … no sun in sight but we shine in crimson and black, proud to be showing off our club colors, paddling down to the start line. 14:09: Onto race pace and smashing it just before Chiswick bridge … were on top of the Wallingford 4- already despite giving them room therefore a minor “collision” (and a cheeky time penalty!) storming off and attacking the field hard! 14:15: One length ahead of Wallingford under Barnes bridge … no clear water yet but working on it and we are starting to feel the legs with the arms not quite defrosted yet. 14:20: Why is the race course always ten times longer then in training … we could have sworn we rowed past the crossing point 10 minutes ago and we still did not reach chiswick island yet … time to focus back on our swagger and rythm

Heavy breathing…

14:27: Finally under Hammersmith Bridge and here’s the time to go for it…  battling the upcoming Wallingford crew… everything is tired! How can it be so?… VESTA, VESTA, COME ON VESTA is all which keeps us going under Hammersmith bridge… great cheering… great motivation… time to sit up and finish this one off! 14:35: All we can hear around Fulham Football club is heavy breathing from somewhere … its each and every member of the crew each with the minor concern if we are going to collapse before the finish line… 14:38: Its over… finally… unfortunately not as much flying as we had been doing in training and as we had hoped (due to two pretty poorly girls (but with the benefit of a nice amount of weight loss – never a bad thing for a female … however, potentially not the best race prep!), one dodgy ticker and heavy workloads!!) however nothing was going to stop us… we gave all we had and tried to throw the kitchen sink at them!

 

Posted in Regatta/Head Reports.