Head of the Goulburn – A race to a winery

HoG WD8+As with all rowing regattas, the alarm went off far too early and the sun was nowhere near up as we all made our way up to Nagambie for the Head of the Goulburn race.
I was pretty excited about donning the Richmond Zootie for the fist time and tried hard to quell the accompanying ball of nerves; a mixture of fear and anticipation of my first race in years!
The drive up to Nagambie was pretty quick allowing time for a desperately needed coffee. It was opening up to be a cracker of a day, the sun promised to beat down hard and strong. Coffee was followed by the boat unloading and rigging ritual, lots of standing about waiting, “stretching”, a couple of nervous pees and the application of several litres of sunblock by all.
We finally got on the water and everyone seemed to be in mode. It finally felt like we had it together, we were a proper crew. It felt amazing heading into our first race knowing we had improved so much and this was our chance to prove it, if not to everyone else, but at least to ourselves.
Derek was cracking jokes about the starting official out in a tinny with his dog and then boom we were off and there was no time to think it was just one stroke into the next building to a steady rhythm.
I’d be lying if I didn’t confess that the most appealing reason and subsequent motivator for the Head of the Goulburn was the fact it ended at a winery. Apparently it is the only such regatta in the world!
We only had one other competitor in our Womens D grade 8 and with a rolling start it was a challenge to catch them. We passed a men’s 8 and a men’s four which was really motivating.
I freaked out when I saw the 3km sign thinking “What?!? Seriously?!? We’ve only gone 3km?!” followed by a mental sigh and stern words to push through it! I almost felt like doing a lay down Sally. I pulled myself together and kept pushing. The 2km sign came up and I simultaneously felt incredibly silly and awfully relieved that it was the home stretch. Optimism crept in, Derek’s calls kept us going and we finished strong.
We hadn’t really trained much together as a crew so all things considered we did really well and finished on a tired high!
RRC had lots of crews in the race and everyone did Richmond proud!
Carolyn was asked to row with a Masters E Quad only one week before the race. They were the fastest Masters female quad on raw time and were faster than theMelbourne female quad crew who won in C grade, so a great result! And, they had only been on one training row as a crew with Tom prior to the race.
A special mention to the Mens D four with Robert in bow seat, Ben in two, Raymond in three, Devindhe as stroke, and Sarah R as the coxwain. This crew performed exceptionally well, winning their race.
Congratulations to the winning crews and a great effort all round by all who participated. Bring on next years Head of Goulburn!
By Sarah Houghton
Carolyn HoG 4x