Friday, July 4, 2014

Henley Royal Regatta

Well we are already a few days into the regatta.  The regatta is completely different than anything I have seen in the US.  I have spent the past few days taking in all the sights and experiences of this wonderful regatta.  Getting this full experience is very time and energy consuming, thus the lack of posts and updates.  In the past week I have spent maybe 60 minutes total in front of a computer like device which makes blogging hard.  But anyways.

Quick update on our team.  The V8 lost their first and only race to their Dutch competitors.  It was a hard fought race in the beginning stretch but we did not have the strength and technic to match their speed in the remains portion of the very long race course.  (That Dutch crew advanced one more round before being eliminated by a Cornell boat.)  After the race I compared times and distances of other crews in the first round of the Temple Challenge Cup, and our times were about average.  Meaning that theoretically could have beat half the crews making past 1 round, but we got a very fast crew round 1.  The draw is part of the Henley experience and unfortunately we received a bad draw for us.

After the loss the team de-rigged the boat and put it on the trailer.  Since then, the rowers and coaches have been taking in the regatta experience.  Watching some great races, meeting some great people, and having a good time in general.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The week continues

Since our return from Reading there has not been a lot to write about.  Sunday the 29th was another designated rest day for our rowers.  They had a low key day in the town of Henley, resting up after a long week of rowing and racing.  The town is filling up with more rowers and more people.  You can feel something big is happening soon.  Monday the 30th, the V8 was back to work, and the 4s kept themselves occupied with some 'Paul workouts'.  The V8 is still practicing along the race course, keeping their bodies and mind sharp.  While we were at Reading, the draw occurred for the Henley races.  For our first race we are competing against A.A.S.R Skoll, from the Netherlands.  The race is scheduled for 12:05 local Henley time and we are on the Bucks side.  We know our competitor, we know our lane, we know our race time, we are ready to go.  One more practice day to get comfortable and put finishing touches on our plan and we a go for racing at Henley Royal Regatta.  

Since Sunday and Monday were uneventful days, I will now blog about the row to and from Reading.

On Friday morning, while the fours were practicing for their qualification races later in the day, we needed to get an eight person shell up to Reading.  We could have de-rigged the boat and split the boat at the joint and thrown the pieces on the trailer but their seemed to be an easier way.  We could row the boat up the river to the Reading regatta.  It is a manageable row of about 14km and there are at least 3 guaranteed times to rest from the row along the way.  These rests come in the form of river locks.  There were three locks we'd need to squeeze our crew into and wait for the lock to fill up before we could continue on.  Also there is a foot path/ bike path along most of the river for the coaches to follow along.  Myself, Coach McDonald, and Coach MacDonald used the bike to follow along the journey and make sure the crew and boat were safe as well as enjoy the scenary and experience.   So let the journey begin.

The V8 at the beginning of the trip passing under the Bridge at Henley

Not to long after the start of our row we came across our first lock, the Marsh lock.  A tight fit for a crew and oars but very possible.

The V8 sitting in Marsh lock as it fills with water.  
After a few more kilometers up the river the boat approached the Shiplake lock.  Unfortunately there are not a lot of pictures between lock because the bike path doesn't completely follow the river and it is hard to take a picture while riding a bike to keep up with our strong fast rowers.
The V8 sitting in Shiplake lock getting some coaching from Mike
It is a relaxing scenic row up the Thames.  The rowers get a view of fancy houses and rolling hills of farms.  Between the views the rowers did perform some starts and focus pieces to break up the row.   Not too long the boat arrives at the last lock we'd be moving through, the Sonning lock.

The V8 sitting in the Sonning Lock.  Also take notice of how far the oars are pulled in.  

After the third lock there was another short row to the Reading race course/docks.  
The last stretch of river before the Reading course.  

Docking after the row up the Thames
After the row we placed the boat on an available rack and took buses back to Henley to support the fours in qualification.  

After Reading regatta we needed to return the boats to Henley.  Again it didn't make sense to take apart the eight so we rowed it home.  We filled the eight and a four with the athletes that make up the fours, a couple people from the eight and a couple guest rowers.  The row down the river is much easier as we have the current on our side.  It is the same row for most part so I'll spare the same details.  But here are a couple pictures of the eight from a different perspective.
Stern four of the eight relaxing waiting for a lock to clear.  
Bow four obviously having more fun, and showing off the two "guest" rowers, Jim and Myself.