The beginnings of something big

September 24, 2012 in BCBC Users

The boat glides beneath me, we paddle along at a loose and light pace, the push and send of the boat mesmerising in its simplicity. The shell beneath us ploughs on, and in the boat the 5 of us are grinning from ear to ear.

I think back to the end of June, it had been clear back then that we would have a promising squad this year, with 6 rowers back from last year’s first eight, alongside a strong and extrodinarily committed set of M2 rowers. We gathered together at the end of Trinity term, and between the group of us decided to train hard over the summer and hit the ground running at the start of this new season, everyone is excited, we are ready to move this boatclub up to the very top bumps charts once again.This is of course spurred on by last season’s montage video.

Back in the four, we wind down and drift in to land, readying ourselves to jump out of the boat at the fast pace demanded by our coach, Peter Haining MBE, but this time its different. “Just sit there and remember that feeling” he says, his expression one of satisfaction, “you don’t need to rush after that one.”

Its the very last outing of our pre season training camp in Earith, Cambridgeshire. We all turned up on day 1, many of us having not set blade in the water since Summer Eights, ready for a tough week of 3 outings a day, we eat, sleep and breathe rowing, and it is tiring. But there is already a strong crew bond, a general feeling that no-one else is training yet; that what we are doing will put us ahead before term has even started and it really is OUR year.

Being one of the more experience oarsmen in the boat club, I expect to have to spend the week helping bring the new M2 guys up to standard, I don’t expect to be able to fully focus on my own improvements. I however, was quickly shocked. Everyone is aleady rowing well at the start of the week, and every single person in the boat is hanging onto Pete’s every word. I lose count of how many times I have turned to Rob behind me, with a positive comment on the changes happening in every oarsman in the boat.

In the evenings we end up firmly in the pub, a Guinness in everyone’s hand (with the exception of mine, I can’t stand the stuff!) listening to Pete’s tales of races on the World Cup circuit, he shows us photo’s of himself and Graeme Obree on a tandem bike, and it dawns on me once again just how incredible this man’s career has been, I am so glad he is coaching us and LMHBC, not our closer competition! He also talks about his Re-row victory over Harvard at Henley Royal regatta:

The training camp has been a success, everyone in the M1 crew is going to have to fight for their seat, having to earn your way into a crew is exciting, because I can be sure, that if I am on the bungline, waiting for that final gun, I know that all 8 guys with me in the boat will bury themselves in order for us to come out on top. This may not add much to our cruising pace, but I know that when the cox calls for us to “shut the door” good things will happen!

So the season has begun, I’ve moved into my room in Balliol, piles of pasta and other such foods brought by my parents to keep me upright after our early morning training session, with 2k ergo tests looming in the near future its probably time to go to sleep, and I rest knowing that we all have the chance to prove ourselves over the coming weeks, and I sleep easy, because I know that my squadmates all share my drive and ambition to release our full potential.

“Roar Lion, Roar”

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