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PTRC Masters E 'A' boat, VHoRR, 2016

Another day of excellent results for PTRC at VetHoRR

Senior Squad 8+ Report

Having raced HoRR the previous day, the squad then proceeded to demonstrate that with age does not come wisdom, as in a fit of insanity we decided it would be an excellent idea to race the Vet’s head on as well. After all what better way to get rid of a hangover than race 6.8km at rate 34? A high start number of 11 put the pressure on the perform on the day.

The line-up on the day consisted of cox Alice and stroke 4 from the previous day, joined by Ewan and Dan stepping up from the second 8, John switching sides and Rob Janiczek making his first appearance in a boat for >3 months. Despite having no practice outings as a crew there was confidence that we could put in a decent showing in Master’s B. This seemed to be at least somewhat deserved as we sprinted off the start at 38 settling onto a strong 34/35.

The crew held onto a strong rhythm through the middle of the race, quickly moving to within striking distance of crew 10 from Lymington. We continued to battle against them past another crew and on down the race course, alternately taking and losing half a length of overlap, as the idiosyncrasies of the tideway favoured first one crew and then the other. As we passed Barne Elms and moved into the final section of the race there was a sense of renewed purpose in the crew with the rate rising steadily up to 36. Try as they would to hold us we started steadily taking seats off Lymington, pulling level past London RC and pushing our bows in front just as we crossed the line.

An exciting and enjoyable race which was made all the better when, despite crew changes and the excesses of the night before, we found we had managed to come within 15 seconds of the day before, putting us in a strong 22nd place and beating crews from Vesta and Team Keane (featuring Saturday’s 4-man Dave).

Veteran Men’s 8+s Report

On the back of much improved results in the recent Hammersmith Head, expectations were higher for both crews in this year’s event. Both Vet crews raced in Masters E (average crew age range 55 – 60), and with 33 entries, the E division was the largest of the entire head by a good margin, which says something about the average age of vet rowing perhaps?

Much like Hammersmith Head, the 1st VIII had, once more at short notice, to call on super sub, Paul Debois, following an unfortunate muscular injury to Richard Fryer and potential alternate sub, Nigel Toussaint, falling of a skate board and dislocating his shoulder a week earlier! Vets and skate boards….a discussion for another day?

The 2nd VIII had no such tribulations and in the run up to the race had pulled out all the stops, changing commitments to boat the selected racing crew on at least three consecutive coached outings – a record for vet rowing at PTRC?

The 1st VIII endured further tribulation on rowing to the marshalling area, being washed down by the Starter’s launch going far too quickly as it arrived way too late to its Chiswick bridge mooring point resulting in a loud outpouring of badly chosen phrases from those in the crew most affected.

The worst of the wash hit Geoff Metzger’s 7 seat who then spent the remainder of the marshalling period bailing his foot well periodically with a small, white 10 inch handkerchief that was passed up and down the crew as required. No sponge in the boat? School boy error!

Geoff’s pre-race preparations continued positively just prior to racing as the last minute ‘tops off’ revealed another school boy error with his one piece on back to front requiring a dextrous and speedy undressing. At least he was now warned up.

And so to the race. The 1st VIII were second off in division and by the Ship’s red buoy were already looking to pass Tyne, having to row wide costing valuable seconds, as Tyne hogged the inside racing line.

A good steady rate at 30 was soon grooved with the desired rhythm and run achieved as the earlier liberally quaffed energy gels and bananas kicked in down the boat.

The race passed largely without incident or clash thanks to The President’s clean lines. However, as the 1st VIII cleared Hammersmith Bridge, John Comer was heard to remark that the PTRC Masters women’s crew were in sight and on passing noted that history was likely being made with a PTRC masters men and women’s crew side by side in a Tideway head!?

Despite the 2nd VIII having a number of the crew making their inaugural VHoRR, at number 135 they overtook 133 Peterborough by Barns bridge, were then overtaken by 136 Aniene Roma at Chiswick steps but fought back valiantly to retake them at Barn Elms, albeit that the Italians just squeezed in by a couple of seconds at the final count.

The crew had a much improved race and narrowed last year’s 2 minute gap with the 1st crew by 30 seconds in spite of the 1st VIII going 30 seconds faster themselves!

Back at base the results were soon downloading revealing the best VHoRR finish for a vet 1st VIII in many a year, finishing 12 of 33, thus achieving the crews target of coming close to the top third in the E division, beating last year’s top half finish with a time 30 seconds faster.

The crew was also fastest PTRC crew on the day by 4 seconds after age handicap adjustment!

Both crews’ thanks once more go out to John Comer and Simon Maxwell for steering excellent lines over the historic course. Out thanks also go out to our committed and inspirational coach, Doug Parnham, who despite the squad’s best efforts to make him swim more of late, has been diligent in looking to instil a more focussed training environment that is clearly bearing fruit for many in the squad.

Masters women’s 8+ Report

A test of how focused a squad is presents itself with comparable head races just two weeks apart and thus the Vesta Veteran’s Head gave us the chance to learn from our WEHORR outing and maintain a momentum.

Benign conditions with a slight head wind helped the crew maintain a steady pace from start to Corney Reach digging deep and rowing long to cut through the wind and waves, followed by a negative split from the Island to the finish line (roughly 3K) helped in part by holding off the masters  Men’s E crew from Hammersmith bridge, and then crossing the line in a powerful 1K PTRC finish!!

Results were 15 seconds slower than WEHORR, but only 13 seconds down on the gap with the division winner and reflected the squad’s peak 2 weeks before.

This has been one of our best VEHORR result for several years (gaining 50 seconds on last year) and demonstrated the commitment of the squad to exercise their improved fitness base.

This race wraps up a very successful winter training and racing regime that has the squad excited about their prospects as we head into camp and the summer training and racing beyond!

PTRC Results:

MasB                  19:50.67       5th out of 12 in category, (22nd overall)
Women’s MasD   23:07.42      10th out of 16, in category
MasE ’A’Boat       20:51.35       12th out of 31, in category
MasE ’B’Boat       22:25.34       28th out of 31, in category