Kingston Head of the River

16:01.4 - 3rd Fastest College

M1 Racing at Kingston

Yes, you read that correctly. M1 raced off cam for the first time in recent memory (at least 4-9 years) this weekend, coming down to Kingston Head preparation for head of the river next Saturday.

The journey down had been stressful; after previous deals fell through, trying to arrange a weeks boat storage in London is pretty tough a week before the biggest head race of the year and two before the boat race. The threat of going back to Cambridge was looming but we put it behind ourselves once we were on the water, warming up in the usual way it was noticeably nervous as we jostled with other boats for space on the river.

 Going off the start we hit a solid 34, pushing out the puddles felt easy but it didn't last long. The rating came down as we settled into the rhythm, we were happy at 32 it sunk lower but it had to be brought back up from 30 and then 29. Swinging into the cross wind we lost focus, the previous advance on the boat just a few lengths ahead reversed as the speed stalled but it didn't last long. With a tail wind pushing us down the course and a new found sense of control the boat speed picked up, cruising at 32 the gap to Curlew began to close and it became clear we were going to catch them. Going under the final bridge we were overlapping, just, and slowing moving up. Holding the faster water we got to use the bumps push we had saved up from the Saturday of Lents (grumble, grumble, grumble...) and took the remaining 3/4 length in just a handful of strokes. Pushing on to the finish we continued to move away and crossed the line around a length clear.

The reflection was the usual, we rowed reasonably well but with much room for improvement. Upon seeing the results we were greeted with a pleasant suprise, finishing three seconds behind FaT and one behind Pembroke, one ahead of Jesus and 25 ahead of Peterhouse. The results compared to those outside of Cambridge aren't really of much interest to us, we finished 5th/15 in IM2, beat a significant number of club crews and lost to some very fast university VIIIs. Being so close to the headship crew is encouraging, especially considering their high finish position last year, and we're looking forward to refining our rough weather technique on the tideway from Monday.

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