Friday, June 16, 2006

well fuck, that blows it.

it's friday night. i'm back from henley already. it wasn't supposed to happen this way.

here's how it was supposed to work:
we were gonna tear it up this weekend, kick ass and take names, and Rowing and Regatta Magazine was going to do a cover feature on the novices from Bristol who came out of nowhere, overcame rediculous adversity both from within and outside the club, carried on despite every possible fucking setback, and won gold in their category: "Amazing Victory for the Ultimate Underdogs."

here's how it went:
we got knocked out in the qualifier.

there were roughly 50 boats entered in the Intermediate women's coxed 4 category. because of the knockout structure of the regatta (crews pair off two at a time, winner goes on to next race, loser is done, like Final Four basketball), there were only 32 slots available, so we had to go through a qualifier round, a time trial. Crews go off one at at a time down the course at 30 second intervals. everyone is racing the clock. they time each boat, the 32 fastest are paired off to compete, the rest of us sit on the picnic tables in the enclosure by the Barn Bar and cry onto our Jaffa cakes.

I don't know what our time was. I don't know where we were in the rankings, 33rd or 50th. I don't give a shit. We lost out. We never even got a chance to compete. I'll have to wait an entire year now before I have another opportunity to alleviate my concience and wipe clean the sins of old. (ZB reckons I've got nothing to redeem, and he's probably right, but that doesn't change the way I feel, the way I've felt for the past 2 years, about the matter. It's just something I have to do.)

So that's it, then. Been training my ass off all year for this, and in 5 minutes it's all over. Fucking hell. Why do i do this to myself?

oh, and the next person who says to me (with great sympathy, of course), "But at least you got good experience. It's always good experience to compete at Henley," is gonna get my foot in their fucking face. Sorry, but losing is never a good experience.

I know it wasn't a waste. It was good training for the novices and myself (training is never a waste), and we'll be a much stronger crew next year for all the extra work we've put in, but GODDAMN IT I'M SICK OF HAVING TO TAKE THE LONG VIEW. I DON'T WANT TO TRAIN NOW TO WIN NEXT YEAR. I'VE BEEN DOING THAT FOR 3 YEARS! I WANT TO WIN NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!!

I know that when you consider how incredibly inexperience 3 people in my boat were, and that we really only just got rowing well together this week, we really stood no chance in hell. But that never keeps one from hoping/trying/believing, does it? It really was going well this past week. We were swining together, moving as a unit, really gelling. If we could have had just a couple more weeks to keep working on the finer points... well.. but we didn't. We had today. And we fucking blew it.

13 comments:

hendrix said...

HELL CB THAT SUCKS!!! really really sorry to hear about this. And I'm not going to say "well its not the winning that counts its the taking part" cos I'm of my cousin R's (age 10) opinion "It's not the taking part that counts it the winning!" But you did go. You got off your ass (not that there's much left of it probably after all that training!) and went and competed. Some people don't ever have the guts to do that just in case they're found wanting. That takes courage.
Now get back in that boat - you've got a year and the clock is ticking.

Loganoc said...

Oh fucky. that's well annoying.

Hannah said...

Bleurgh, that sucks. Not a lot more to say, really...

First Nations said...

aw shit. aw fuck. goddammit, cb, i'm sorry. you guys just couldnt catch a fucking break this year for love nor money.
alcohol. lots.
sex. lots.
ice cream.
a weekend dedicated to all three.

Timorous Beastie said...

Commiserations and buggeration in equal parts.

No Shit Sherlock said...

Aw. Poor you. Oh well, you'll get it next year!
I agree with FN.

Anonymous said...

Sorry I didn't get to say hi at the weekend...i heard you shouted for my boat, its cool hearing random voices, I was so sure I'd bump into you I didn't look!! The only sure fire way of getting the Henley you want is to be selfish! consturct your own boat and go for it, a boat was manufactured at my club a month ago...it broke the club record yesterday and we now have Henley champions at my club...but its not me! Mind you my boat did three roll ups with perfect balance at the start infront of our opposition(the favourites) we then went on to push them so hard that they fell apart during the race...it felt really good! 360 days and counting to get fitter, faster, stronger, its not long.
Nichola

Chaucer's Bitch said...

Hi, Nichola! I'm sorry too that we missed each other; I wanted to tell you how great your boat looked. You guys were really swinging along! I looked around for you on Friday afternoon but I couldn't find where the Agecroft lot were hanging out, and I wasn't around on Saturday or Sunday (for obvious and depressing reasons). A told me about the crew arrangements, and i think it's absolute SHIT the way you were treated. There's no doubt in my mind that if you'd been in that 4 it STILL would have broken the club record and won the Henley championship. I'm really impressed the way you rallied your forces and put a strong 8 together. I don't know if would have been that mature about it; you're a bigger woman than I. (That sounds kinda bad but you know what I mean.) Anyway, congrats on your performance this weekend, and thanks for the note - it's very sweet of you. Have a great summer,
S

ZB said...

"Here's how it was supposed to work:
we were gonna tear it up this weekend, kick ass and take names, and Rowing and Regatta Magazine was going to do a cover feature on the novices from Bristol who came out of nowhere, overcame rediculous adversity both from within and outside the club, carried on despite every possible fucking setback, and won gold in their category: "Amazing Victory for the Ultimate Underdogs."

Never going to happen. Not at Henley. Sorry.

"I know it wasn't a waste. It was good training for the novices and myself (training is never a waste), and we'll be a much stronger crew next year for all the extra work we've put in, but GODDAMN IT I'M SICK OF HAVING TO TAKE THE LONG VIEW. I DON'T WANT TO TRAIN NOW TO WIN NEXT YEAR. I'VE BEEN DOING THAT FOR 3 YEARS! I WANT TO WIN NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW NOW!!!!!"

Get four girls with 2k erg scores of 7 minutes and start training now for next year then. It's the only way that it's going to happen. Rowing isn't won by death or glory charges by the rank outsiders because its not a flair sport. It's a sport that rewards consistency and hard work. THe best prepared crews win. If you haven't got four girls at your boat club who can pull 7 mins for 2k then winning Henley in any category is going to be almost impossible in sweep oared categories. Consider sculling instead. It sucks and I hate it 2 that I can't get my erg much below 6-30, let alone Pinsent's 5 -40 but there it is.

ZB said...

Okay. Just read that back and realise that I look like an unfeeling dick. It wasn't meant to. You're obviously committed to rowing but I just don't think that the club you are with is going to offer you a platform for that kind of success. If you're struggling to get four people together for a boat let alone the four BEST people then you're up against it before you've taken a stroke. I know how hard you work. You're prepared to do the work and you're prepared to commit and hurt yourself, miss out on the fun things in life to hit the water at 8-00 am on a cold day but you can't do those things for the other people in the crew. That's where Henley fell down this year. It's not your fault. You were prepped and ready to go but you can't give the others in the boat your experience, technical ability or fitness and neither can you make up for their lack of it.

Consider sculling or consider moving to another club. Even if you get a shit hot intake this september, university rowing clubs that aren't Oxford and Cambridge (who have an awesome system for developing talent) are up against it. Every year good rowers leave to be replaced by inexperienced novices so its a constant battle to get a good boat together. (Mind you, it's not just uni clubs with this problem. Agecroft used to have a great system for developing talent and now it's fallen to rat shit. No coaches, no provision for training...people are leaving for other clubs...man, it's enough to make you weep). Consider your options. Consider how much you want to make the weekend races at Henley and what it'll take to get there and then decide whether its worth the cost. Athletes have a short lifespan. In ten years, you won't be physically capable of making the physical and technical improvements you're going to need to make to get there. Now you are. Go to it and kick ass.

If the four are around I suggest you hit some more regattas asap and see how you do.

Chaucer's Bitch said...

The reason I was at Henley with 3 novices was because I was the only senior rower left in the club. 2 were injured, the other 6 quit. So i'd love to have 4 women with 7 min 2K's, but we went with the only 4 women we had.

As for other clubs, the only other clubs in Bristol are UWE and City of Bristol, and they both blow monkeys. We kick their asses regularly. (My 4 beat the UWE 4 in the Henley time trial.) The thing is, UBBC is a really good club for men. Our head coach is outstanding, he's constantly raising money and buying new equipment, his coaching is superb, but we just can't seem to hang on to female athletes. He's working on raising the mulah to buy a new club single for me to race in. Right now our only single is rat shit and not seaworthy. Or Thamesworthy, as it were.

And no, the 4 aren't around for the summer. They've all buggered off bloody undergraduates. Coach is letting me use his single for some regattas this summer tho, so I keep in shape. So i'm doing that and working on getting my erg time down. (new pb: 7.35)

Loganoc said...

7:35, damn... I did a 2k yesterday (the first one in about 4 years) and was actually quite proud of my 8:40 :( oh well. I wanna learn to scull.

ZB said...

2k's are mental.

Not in the sense that 'you don't have to be crazy to work here but it helps!!!!' mental but in the sense that the battle is always in your head.

Just when you think that you've reached your limit, you're dying and that you have to stop is the time to grit your teeth and take it up. Your body is trying to fool you...