The Day Dave Tried to Kill Me
Leaving behind the sights and sounds of my new home, Melbourne, we cruise our way towards Ballarat for the 2016 Victorian State Championships. Having only half prepared for the weather (packing a jumper was a stroke of genius) the first thing I noticed was the temperature and the wind. I don’t think anyone could have missed how cold it was.
As I prepared myself mentally for my one race of the day, I witnessed some amazing performances from the Richmond team. The girls racing in B grade over 2km showed great skill, spirit and stamina. The highlight of which was Sophie, Michelle, Ainsley and Gerry coxed by Mike pulling away to victory over Melbourne in the quad scull, a crew against whom they had been battling with all season but waiting until the state championships to assert their dominance.
Ainsley and Sophie also secured a Bronze in the B Grade double Scull in one of the closest finishes of the day. Michelle and Caroline both having reached the final of the Lightweight Single Scull on the previous day raced off again in the B Grade single. Congrats to Michelle for a very tight second adding a silver medal to her collection. Laurent, Matt, Jon and Nick coxed by Sarah made the final for the D Grade coxed four. The girls in the C Grade coxed quad put in a strong performance after finishing second in their heat to qualify for the final and came away with a bronze medal. Congrats to Karen, Stef, Lindsey, Lisa and Derek. Not to be outdone the mens D grade quad also qualified for their final and fought right to the line also to take home a bronze. Well done to Andy, Michael C, Leigh and Andrew coxed by Mike.
The quote of the day goes to Stef. When returning from her race as the coxswain of the Female D Grade coxed four she was heard telling a lady that her heart rate was well over 100. When the lady mentioned that perhaps her rowers might have an even higher heart rate Stef’s response was “okay, but who cares, I am the Cox.”
The longer the day went the less excited I got, until a stroke of genius by Sarah R when she put a lolly snake in my hand. From that moment my efforts were no longer in doubt. As the boys began to get excited for the Men’s D Grade 8, we couldn’t wait to show the competition how strong a crew we are. As we jostled in the wind at the start line, Dave may have gotten some ideas about how best to beat the other crews. No questioning his enthusiasm as we launched down a very windy, rough course. This is when our illustrious stroke attempted to kill me.
As a larger gentleman, my preferred stroke rate is around 20ish on a good day but Dave’s short legs and ample enthusiasm had us hurtling up and down the slides at well over 36 strokes. Not one to let stroke rate do all the work, my legs started burning after the first 20 strokes. I think the whole crew was hoping that Christine’s call to lengthen would perhaps slow down the punishment to a more measured pace but to no avail. We rowed in a respectable 4th in a strongly contested race. Once we returned to the pontoon, I had nothing left. Falling out of the boat and moaning while trying not to vomit, I had to let Christine take my place carrying the boat. What a Cox. In my impaired state, I somehow agreed to write this blog. Thanks Shern.
After recovering with some ice-cream I joined the rest of the Tigers to watch Andy compete in the D grade single scull final and Lee and Barry take to the course for the final race on the schedule, the D grade pair. Finishing in a flurry as a rival crew almost collided with the boys only meters from the line.
It was quite a day, thanks to both Barry and Tim who between them towed the trailer to and from Ballarat and a special thanks to the ingenious supplier of the cold beverages to help with the efficiency of boat unloading on a Sunday night.
I would like to thank all of the Richmond Rowing members for welcoming me into your club so warmly and giving me the opportunity to get back into the sport I love and have missed for so long. The atmosphere and comradery around the boat house and club tent is second to none. I am proud to wear the Richmond colours and be a Tiger.
The Day Dave Tried to Kill Me