The early bird may catch the worm, but the early rower is perhaps more likely to catch a cold. As droves of MUBC members arrived in sub-zero temperatures for the 6am journey, the mood subdued. A quick nap on the coach for most and before we knew it, we were stood in a frosty field in York, rigging boats and kitting up, ready to be on the water for 9:25am.
Paddling to the start gave us chance to warm up, as well as some assurance that the previous few weeks’ practise seemed to be paying off. Tensions grew as dozens of other boats came in to view behind the start line, and we took our place in the queue. Issues with the cox box weren’t going to put us off, and Simon Hird (5) did a sterling job of relaying cox Emma Carter’s instructions to bow four.
Our boat was called forward and suddenly we were heading towards the start line. Three on the legs. Three on the arms. We were up to rate and crossed the start full of enthusiasm. Technique felt good, sequencing about right, and power was being put down – even putting distance between the boat behind us.
A lack of experience of the 3km distance meant that Emma’s halfway call came as a bit of a shock to eight novices who felt perhaps that they were nearing the finish! An unfortunate crab caused the whole crew to pause and there was a rush to get back in to the nice rhythm we’d had.
Back up to speed and on the home stretch, we later found out (thanks to Vice Captain Jim Miller) that exhaustion had taken its toll on our technique. Crossing the finish line was a huge relief – despite the fact that half of the boat wasn’t aware we actually had finished!
Despite our general good feelings about the race, our time was not what we had hoped for. Putting it down to the crab felt like passing the book, and we came to the conclusion that our technique was not up to scratch. Lesson learnt.
On the whole, the experience we gained and the fantastic time we had meant that we took many positives from White Rose, and the whole crew are eager to get back on the water.
93 members of MUBC raced at white rose head, with wins in the Senior Men’s 8+, Senior Men’s 4+ and Senior Men’s 4x.
Thomas Davies is a novice man who joined MUBC in September.