Into the New Year

As always, a fair amount has happened since my last post, so I’ll endeavour to catch some highlights in this post.

Wallingford Head

After the November trials, there were a few weeks where we could get together some eights to race at the Wallingford head. Battling it out between three VIIIs on the Tideway was a welcome change, although our boat was frustratingly hit-and-miss. The race itself – a 4500m race upstream – was a chance to see where we stood against several of the top clubs. Despite settling into a good rhythm off the start (something we had been struggling to find in training), the presence of some sharp S-bends midway through the course proved to be challenging.

After making it around the first bend, we failed to make the second and found ourselves ‘parked’ on the outside of the corner. A short while later, we had pushed off and were back rowing a solid race but Oxford Brookes were gaining rapidly by this point and as we crossed the line, it was clear we were not as fast as hoped… The results confirmed this suspicion, being beaten by three Brookes crews and Thames RC. However, we speculated that without the crash we might in fact have come second, only behind the top Brookes VIII.

December Trials

Following the brief interlude in crew boats, it was back to [solely] the single scull to prepare for the December round of GB trials (on the 20th!). We put in some good miles for a week or so, before knocking the intensity back a little in the days leading up to the trial. All was looking good, particularly based on a 2k practice piece at Dorney earlier in the week, but unfortunately the weather conspired against us, and the trial at Boston was cancelled.

Feeling a bit disappointed to lose an opportunity to race, I quickly started planning some hard training for the next few days. As it turns out though, there was going to be a smaller trial at Caversham, over 2km. The game was back on – albeit rather different to the planned 5km trial. The trial was good fun (insofar as it can be), and I finished 9th in the close time trial . Unfortunately my start in the final was not the best I’ve ever had (read: godawful), and even with a strong middle 1000m I was unable to claw my way back, finishing second (slipping to a final ranking of 10th).


With my two house-mates gone for Christmas before December trials, I was the only one still around, and it was great to head back to Cambridge and catch up with family and friends.

Just before I left, house-mate Erica gave us gift vouchers for "Planet Organic" - amazing ;)

Just before I left, (house-mate) Erica gave us gift vouchers for “Planet Organic” – amazing ;)

I managed to get out on the bike a few times with friends, and my rowing machine came out of hiding in the barn too!

Christmas day was a day off training(!), and also provided the awesomeness of this parsnip:


I was also lucky enough to receive some baking books (how did they know?) and this amazing espresso cup:


A couple of days later, I headed up to the North York Moors with my parents. I had planned to get some killer cycles done and was looking forward to tackling some classic climbs like Rosedale Chimney Bank (that tops out at 33%), White Horse Bank and Carlton Bank. Sadly it wasn’t to be, since the recent snow and freezing weather had rendered the roads more-or-less impassable on a road bike. I decided to do some running instead, with my first run timed to catch a beautiful sunrise from the top of our neighbouring moor.


The view from the top of Hawnby Hill

We also had an excellent meal at the Star Inn in Harome. Possibly the first time I’ve eaten in a Michelin starred restaurant, and well worth a visit if you find yourself in North Yorkshire!

I did manage to get a cycle done on my last day, although my route was somewhat dictated by the state of various roads. It was also bleeding cold. I was however, rewarded with this stunning view early in the morning:


After the ride I headed back down south for a New Year get-together with friends and then (following a hung-over walk the next morning) back to London ready for the much-awaited ICBC erg camp!

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