Not having rowed the Great Ouse Marathon because of marshalling duties, Trevor and Rodney were in need of some racing, so set off full of enthusiasm for the Yare Cup on 27 September 2014.
Yare RC is based on an island, so it’s not possible to get visitors’ cars and trailers there to boat, but Norwich RC and Broadlands BC both offer boating facilities. We opted for Broadlands (for one thing, it is closer to the start - so less chance of exhausting ourselves before the race). It proved a good call. We were the only visitors opting for this location; so although we possibly missed the buzz of the busier Norwich site, we were able to have a good chat with Broadlands members – their club has an ethos very like ours, and we felt at home; and were able to boat in a leisurely fashion (compared with the rather tight boating schedule we saw for the Norwich RC site).
We hadn’t expected the river to be tidal, with large sailing boats moored close to the rowing club. But facilities were geared up to this, and a tidal river through a rural setting with trees reaching down into the water presented an interesting and pleasant environment
We had a delightful paddle up to the start. The weather was calm and warm; the river is wide (much wider than the Great Ouse), so even the bends didn’t present too much of a problem. Other crews were very friendly, and it was gratifying to receive a number of very positive comments about our Marathon from other crews on the water.
Of the 97 entries, there were15 quads or 4’s; the rest doubles or singles; but there was only one other pair, so we gave up our Masters status to race them at IM3.
We were started on time, under beautiful conditions. Unfortunately during the wait for the start, my speed coach switched off (it’s designed to if there is no movement for a period of time) and I hadn’t noticed. I rely heavily on this for setting the rate; particularly under stressful conditions. So - we got our “go”. The adrenalin kicked in and we were off at the sort of rate that we normally keep for our sprint finish. And somehow we kept it up for 3.7km!
There was a slight tide with us (the water rose about 4” in the hour we were out), but we were nevertheless pleased with our time of 15min 24 sec. The IM3 pair beat us by 28 seconds, but we later had a sneaky look at what our age handicap would have been if we were racing as masters, and felt our time was a good one.
Definitely a race to do again, and as it is virtually in our back yard, it would be nice to be joined by other members next year.