In this household, we take our rowing very seriously. In fact, we will be keen for anything that we can be competitive in if we think we stand a good chance of winning! Having not raced in a while, we were keen to get out on the water and back into battle, so our coach signed us up for the Dee Head race in the beautiful Chester. I adore Chester, and would love to have a little house here on the side of the river where I could sit and watch the world go by. However there was no time to sit around. I was busy directing my crew left right and centre, getting them organised, checking that all of the nuts and bolts on the boat were done up tightly, advising new coxes on the best way to steer the racing course, umming and ahhing about how many layers to wear etc. Sorting out eight big men who inevitably wander off, and over-seeing the assembly of a 17.6 metre long boat (we have to take the boats apart into multiple sections and then reassemble them every time we travel with them) are all part of the challenges of life as a rowing cox.The race was run in a time-trial format, and I was racing twice; once in the morning division against my boyfriend Darren’s crew, and then in a different crew later on in the afternoon division which Darren was part of.When I cox I turn from a very softly spoken quiet girl into a very aggressive demanding little demon. It’s all very good fun. However, it’s not quite so much fun for the boys who are putting themselves into significantly increasing levels of pain and fatigue as I push them harder and harder. So hard that they couldn’t row a single stroke more once we cross the finish line. When you’re winning, the pain seems worth it, but when you’re not, it’s just miserable. Whilst I love winning, I don’t find quite the same satisfaction if in order to win, I must be in a crew that beats Darren. It somehow takes the shine away.
In our first race, we pipped Darren’s crew to the post, and whilst I was thrilled to win, it did make me a tiny bit sad that Darren hadn’t won as well!
We’re all viciously competitive whilst on the water, but as soon as the race is over, we’re back to being friends again, although perhaps with a few cheeky jibes thrown in!
It was a little bit nippy, so we headed over to the beautiful black and white boat house for lunch to stay warm.Inside, I was thrilled to find a little cart filled to the brim with jars of sweeties. Even better, they were provided free to all competitors. If you mention free food to a bunch of hungry rowers, it’s going to go down very well. There were some very happy faces! Soon enough, it was time to race again. This time with Darren in my boat. By this point the wind had picked up and the stream was flowing really fast so quite a few boats had difficultly in getting into position at the start line so we had to wait quite a while. Luckily my stroke man Ollie kept me amused.
Whilst the level of competition in the afternoon wasn’t quite so high, we were still chuffed with our performance and it was another win for us. Woohoo! As you can see, some people were thrilled with their medals!Brilliantly, even our club’s girls crew won their event as well, so it was smiles all round and a successful day’s racing.And a good win must of course be followed by a good night out.
We started off at Lal Quila on the Curry Mile – my first ever Curry Mile experience……before meeting up with the girls to party in the teepees at Oast House. Decked out with lights and a disco ball ready for a party, and complete with a little log fire and tankards of warm cider, it was the perfect place for a good old gossip and a little bit of boogieing. Warm cider on a cold autumn night is just the best. I felt like I was clutching a little hot water bottle! A great way to end a successful day.