Last Saturday morning we set off from the Arctic for a weekend away in Henley. With the Cam and the Ouse both frozen and Henley Head cancelled, this was an ideal opportunity for us to have some time getting to know the course and getting a feel for what it might be like on race day. The day got off to a dodgy start when I managed to miss the train, but soon we were all sat in the snowy car park of Leander, snuggled up in Harriet’s luxury land rover (complete with heated seats!) waiting on the arrival of the trailer. A quick rig and we were ready to go; for some of us this was our first time at Henley, for others it was the first time back since last year’s race. We spent Saturday doing some solid paddling, and getting to know some landmarks along the course. Then it was home chez Hannah for a delicious (lightweight friendly) dinner, and on Jimmy’s recommendation we completed our day’s training by watching/enduring all 3 hours of Braveheart!
Suitably inspired we arrived on Sunday bright and early, ready for some competitive paddling with Blondie and the 1927 alumnae crew. Some low rate pieces in the first outing got us all fired up and then, after a quick caffeine refuel in Spoons and a very subtle kit change in the car park we were ready for some race pieces. The crew came together, finding some good boat speed and moving through on the other crews. There was plenty of technical improvement, both as individuals and as a crew, and we returned to training in Ely with increased confidence and even more drive to win. Never the type to give up, the 1927 crew returned for more sparring this weekend on a very windy day in Ely. Some more very close racing saw us able to sit up and dominate in the tough conditions, and with less than 5 weeks until HBR we’re looking to build on that form. A huge “thank you” to the alumnae for giving up their time to give us some side by side racing experience, and bring on HBR!
… “would you be willin’ to trade ALL the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance, to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they’ll never take… OUR FREEDOM!”…