At the beginning of January after our Christmas break CUWBC all headed to the other side of the country for our annual training camp. This year we spent 7 days from the 3rd to the 9th of January at Dorney Lake, the venue for last year’s world championships.
The intention was to spend the first few days using the facilities of Eton Excelsior Rowing Club and putting in some distance work on the River Thames that runs next to the lake. Unfortunately when we arrived it was evident that the river was so flooded it would have been unsafe for us to train there, so we moved over to the lake, where we still did the long distance work… spinning the boat every 2k! Dorney Lake is a world class facility and an amazing place to row, although it can get a bit windy, and all week we had a very strong crosswind to contend with.
We stayed nearby at the Copthorne Hotel in Slough. This was a fantastic hotel, and they gave us a very good deal on accommodation and food! The accommodation was first class and we also took full advantage of the food (well, the heavyweights did!) and being a buffet the temptation to eat more than was wise before an afternoon outing was succumbed to at least once!
In the evenings we had talks on technique, physiology, training and psychology from Ron Needs, also coach to the GB women’s Eight. These were a fantastic opportunity to understand more about the training we do and why, and also to think more about racing and technique. The latter was also helped by video sessions where we analysed what we were doing right and wrong in the boat.
However, it wasn’t all work, we played hard too. The swimming pool and the Jacuzzi were a welcome relief after a day of training, and to replace last years game of choice Articulate, there was a new challenger… Rapidough! This involved modeling words or objects with playdough, there was lots of modeling styles and some interesting sculpting.
The culmination of the week was a 2k race between three crews. Unfortunately on the last day the wind was even worse than it had been for the rest of the week, resulting in a race that felt much like trial eights a few weeks previously in similar conditions at Dorney Lake. All the crews coped admirably with the difficult conditions to race well.
After the race we packed up and returned to our respective homes for a well deserved rest feeling better prepared and fitter, and raring to go for the last three months preparation for the boat race.