DUBC Novice VIII are off the Marlow Regatta on the London 2012 course. I’ll be out the door in ten minutes. Can’t wait!
“Live by the river!”
You don’t know how it happened, but you’ve found yourself with a nine month commitment.
You can’t smoke while doing it. It’s probably best if you lay off the booze too.
The early mornings are a killer. Your body aches, and it sometimes makes you sick.
You develop food cravings, and start eating for two.
After nine months of hard work, you could still be disappointed with the result.
However, you love it anyway.
The 2012 Trinity Regatta will take place this coming Saturday at the War Memorial Gardens in Islandbridge.
This year sees a record entry, with 12 clubs competing in over 130 head-to-head races. Racing begins at 7am and will continue right through the day, until the finals, which will take place in the mid-afternoon. The day promises lots of exciting racing action, as well as free music, a regatta tea and a marquee. For the Provost spotters amongst you, he will be making an appearance; attending the first regatta of his tenure. It’s a perfect opportunity to spend a Saturday in the park with a picnic.
For your invitation, click here.
This beauty is the Diana Cooke Cup. It was presented to the best overall club at the 68th annual Dublin Head of the River Boat Race, held earlier today. That means that it shall be spending the next year decorating the Trinity Boat House. Our crews did well today, claiming the pennants in the following events:
Men’s Intermediate VIII – Dublin University Boat Club
Men’s Novice VIII – Dublin University Boat Club
Ladies’ Intermediate VIII – Dublin University Ladies’s Boat Club
Commiserations to the Ladies’ Novices, who missed out on the pennant by 3 seconds to Shannon Boat Club. But for that we’d have had the grand slam. Still and all, a good day on the river.
Well rowed Trinity!
“Yup! It’s German for “happiness at the misfortune of others!”
“Happiness at the misfortune of others.” That is German!
Watching a vegetarian being told she just ate chicken,
Or watching a frat boy realize just what he put his dick in!
Straight-A students getting Bs,
Exes getting STDs!
A fat person finding no food in the fridge,
UCD boat club hitting the bridge!
*Borrowed from Avenue Q, which is coming to Dublin next week. My friend William (who also studies English Literature) and I have booked tickets for opening night, whereby we can hum along to such numbers as “What do you do with a BA in English?”
What do you do with a B.A. in English?
What is my life going to be?
Four years of college,
And plenty of knowledge,
Have earned me this useless degree!
I can’t pay the bills yet,
‘Cause I have no skills yet,
The world is a big scary place!
But somehow I can’t shake,
The feeling I might make,
A difference to the human race!
The Dublin Head of the River race will take place tomorrow, starting from O’Connell Bridge at 12.15. With forty boats taking part, it’s quite the spectacle. Crews race from a 3.5km course from O’Connell Bridge to Islandbridge, including the challenge of 13 bridges in the city centre which must be safely navigated. You have to trust your cox.
I’m really looking forward to it. My favourite bit of the course is the start, which happens directly out of O’Connell Bridge. It’s a running start, which means that the boat needs to be up at race pace by the time it crosses the start line and then timing begins. In order to do this, boats start on the other side of O’Connell Bridge, in order to get a run at it. As O’Connell Bridge is as wide as it is long, it gives the effect of rowing through a tunnel. If you get get your boat set and moving, it produces an amazing sound as the curve of the archway amplifies the sound of the bubbles under the bow and when all the blades all strike out and square in unison, the arch generates an explosive bang. After three bangs, the boat has cleared the bridge, and like a bullet from a gun, the VIII is then expelled across the start line and up the river towards home.
The race begins at 12.15. We are the sixth boat off the start, so we should be underway by 12.20. So grab a bike, head down to O’Connell Bridge for midday tomorrow and get your shout on. “C’mon Trinideee!”
For readers who aren’t based in Dublin, I’ve included this handy map.
N.B. The temptation with Dublin Head is to think that the course is over after we pass the last bridge in the city centre at Heuston, however, as this map reveals there is the half the distance again to be rowed after Heuston. In fact, that’s where the race will be one or lost. Won, hopefully.
Men’s Novice VIII, with a time of 21:26.
Our novices, on a lake in Wicklow, in January. If it comes down to trying to explain to some tall young man why he should join the college boat club, I think that this picture alone is more persuasive than any wily argument that I could make. I mean, look at it. Teamwork, good craic and the splendor of nature; all in a sport. What more could you ask for?
Dublin University Boat Club 2011 – 2012
From what I can remember of it, it was a great night!
I feel that I am struggling with fitness at the moment. From a starting point of basically zero in September of last year, I managed to build up a remarkable level of fitness through a grueling rowing regime. Within the space of a few weeks, I had gone from a weekly hike on the hills and the occasional saunter around town on the bike, to three-mile-runs, thirty minute erg sessions and circuit sessions – just for basic fitness. (Well basic fitness, by rowing standards.) Then there was water work on top of that, which I suppose, is the point of the whole thing.
By the end of the second term last year, I was in great shape; fit and fast, and eating like a horse. I was putting away massive amounts of food, as needed to be done, just to fuel the engine. However, come the end of the season, we had to cut our squad down to one VIII and one IV for Nationals and unfortunately I didn’t make the cut. The level of exercise suddenly dropped off, but the appetite continued. I didn’t turn into a complete slob; I tried to keep up a bit of running; but still – a twice a week run is nothing in comparison to eight hard sessions a week and one should not continue eating as if one is still on the former regime. What then happened then was a phenomenon that I think only happens to off-season rowers – “summer weight”. Still, let’s just say that my carriage became more ample.
So when we started back this September, the first week nearly killed me. I was hobbling around the library like an elderly man. My body was in shock from the rigours that were suddenly imposed upon it. It was a struggle to try and lose the weight, and I’m not sure I was successful. I always seemed to have spare fuel tank strapped to my middle, which was resolute that it would not shift. However, but the end of the term I was back to fitness – as evidenced by an excellent end of term erg test and a lovely head race at the national rowing centre in Cork – this despite the tank, so I felt that this was just going to be part of my make-up, and perhaps I would lose it in time.
However, then came Christmas and exam time. I was careful not to indulge at Christmas, but the Christmas/exam break lasted nearly four whole weeks. What was gained in term one was obliterated. Far from being reduced, the tank has been reinforced. The time has come to banish it once and for all. Flat stomach here I come!
And so it started this evening in the sports centre, with an hour on the spinning bike; cross training. I’m not sure if you’ve ever used a spinning bike, but they are the most boring pieces of equipment in the world. You cycle and cycle and cycle until your arse hurts, and you still end up going nowhere. Today however, I thought I’d be a bit different. Having climbed on to a spinning bike, I selected the Classical playlist on my iPod, set the timer for an hour, closed my eyes, and began to cycle to Beethoven.
Cycling with your eyes closed is not to be recommended on a normal bicycle – but on a spinning bike, it’s the business. It allows you to blot out the gym and you can focus instead in the music. What is that piano doing? Listen to the chords, the melody, the base; it’s amazing. I found that my right hand was moving along with the music, conducting it, whilst my left dangled down by my side. I must have been quite the sight; spinning, eyes closed in the corner, head and hand moving to the music. It’s amazing what good classical music can do though. It wells up inside you and pulls out your emotions; there were turns of phrase that just made me smile – no words, no sights, just the music.
So the challenge I have set myself is to do that for an hour a day for a month – for the music, and once and for all, to lose the tank.
Weather permitting, our usual weekend training regime involves water sessions on the lake at Blessington, which is about 30km south of Dublin. Getting there tends to be something of an ordeal, as we struggle to accommodate people into the limited pool of cars that we have available. The amount of cars available varies from week to week, which is not ideal. Drivers feel coerced into to drive to training as they are required to provide lifts for others; sometimes on occasions that, for one reason or another, they would prefer not to. This is further compounded by the fact that drivers were not being reimbursed for the costs of their petrol, which when it involves two 60km round trips every weekend, soon mounts up and places an additional, financial, burden on the drivers. This all led to a rather heated debate as to the best way to organize lifts; and if, and how, the drivers should be compensated.
The end result was this terrific email, put together by Nilgiri where he outlined the various ideologies that could be adopted by the club.
SOCIALISM: You have 4 seats. You take four people. The richest member pay 10Euro; the poorest member has their seat subsidised by the Club.
COMMUNISM: You have 4 seats. The Club takes your car and gives you a lift for free.
FASCISM: You have 4 seats. The Club takes your car and charges you 2.50 Euro for a lift.
NAZISM: You have four seats but it doesn’t matter because only Max and Mathias get to drive, the rest of us take cattle cars.
BUREAUCRATISM: You’re still filling out paperwork on Monday morning.
TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM: The drivers collude and refuse to take anyone for less than 50Euro, which works but by February no one can afford to go. Therefore the drivers start offering “free” rides on credit. The driver’s buy Ferraris and start selling “seat” backed Club securities; no one asks any questions. By Uni Champs everyone is leveraged to the gills. The bubble bursts. We all walk to Nationals.
SURREALISM: The Treasurer suggests we take the bus.
I saw this trailer whilst at the cinema last week. It was really something to watch it on the big screen. It really captures the majesty of the VIII, especially with the silhouettes in the mist. It’s a subtle hint that rowing is a sport that mostly happens at dawn. It also really gives you a sense of the raw power that goes into making an VIII go fast.
I’m not sure about the stroke technique though. There seems to be an awful lot of splashing. Granted, the director probably requested those for dramatic effect. As for the small boy coxing; turns out it’s a small girl coxing. Whoops. I’m not convinced about her method to be honest, but I that’s the point of the ad really. She’s not supposed to be Sam Winter-Levy.The premise of the ad is that she’s a very sick kid, and that this a special treat for her; a Make-A-Wish, if you will. In that context, it’s the expressions on her face at the end which really make you smile.
This are the fruits of my labours from Blessington earlier. Jesus wept*.
*For Jesus, read blisters.
Sun was shining. Lake was like a sheet of glass. No wind – conditions were absolutely perfect.
We were literally thrown together into an VIII 30 mins before the race began, but it was some of the best fun I’ve ever had rowing. We put in a decent enough row too, considering that half an hour earlier, none of us had sat together in an VIII. A 5km race is bloody tough though. Still, great craic.
I’m aching. My legs are in bits. Today’s training was really tough, compounded by the fact that I did effectively a triple session in one sitting.
Firstly, I had a 90 minute sculling session, which was good. I’m beginning to get the hang of sculling, and the new training boat is fantastic. But still, a 90 minute session is hard work, and requires both physical exertion and proper concentration.
Next up, was Neal’s latest invention is a 30 minute ergo piece, pulling hard, at 24 SPM. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever done 30 minutes of solid, without-a-break exercise, but it’s rather daunting. To do 30 mins on an ergo is worse than let’s say, running, yet I’d still choose it over, say, swimming, because you’re not going to drown on an ergo. Pulling hard and keeping a 24 SPM rate, well that just adds to the fun. Also we had to make note of the metres covered and the average split (7736m at 1:56.3) and this will be used in future to benchmark our progress.
With about 27 minutes left on the clock, I wanted to give up. Similarly, I had enough with 21 minutes; and then surely at 15 minutes, halfway, it was ok to give up; and then at 11; and finally at 4 minutes, when I was nearly finished, I was sorely tempted to just drop the bar and say “Enough”. But I didn’t. And that’s really what ergos are about; it’s a mental battle. The body can do it, but ergos test the mind. I’m fit enough, I don’t like it, but I gotta force myself to do it (and I will feel great afterwards). Sheer bloodimindedness.
Finally, the last piece of today’s mini-triathlon was a four mile run in the Phoenix Park, completed in 30 minutes flat, with an average split of 7:30. It was a good run, especially in the context of all that had gone before it, but as I’m sure you can appreciate, I’m shattered!
As of this minute, my alarm clock will go off in exactly five and a half hours and it’s time to go to college for a 7am ergo session. This life of mine is great fun, and I’m so glad I do it, but my God! It’s hard work!
This, rather epic, photograph was on the College website today. It’s a shot of the mid-section of our VIII in the recent Trinity Regatta. Will and Dermot just look exhausted (we’d just finished a balls-to-the-wall 2km race) as they hold their heads in their hands. Hugo, who is in the middle looks like he’s in real pain. Notice that he’s taken both of his hands off the blade. If everyone did that, then the boat would capasize and I can guarantee that then he’d definitely be in real pain!
P.S. I’m in Three Seat, behind Dermot, to the right of the picture. Obviously the photographer didn’t have a wide enough angled lens to capture my Radiant Beauty.
The DUBC Novice Triathalon
4km run – 6 km rowing – 10 km ergo - 1 hour 35 mins of constant exercise
All in a good morning’s work!
Watching DUBC win the Gannon Cup.
But after that, I’ll probably go to Pantibar for some shenanigans. This ad was so funny, I nearly choked on me tea!
As some of you may know, I was recently in a crew that was in a boating accident, whereupon a Trinity VIII was swept over the weir at Islandbridge. As a result our VIII now lying by the boathouse, roughly smashed into a III and a V. Naturally, the wanton destruction of the the boat, and the trauma that that has inflicted upon the cox and crew, has been a subject of much discussion in the last few weeks. As the discourse on great rowing smash-ups developed, reference was made to this spectacular crash at Henley.
I suppose what makes this video so funny and amazing to watch is the the cox is entirely oblivious to the danger which she is placing her crew in (which rings very familiar for the crew of that infamous Trinity VIII). The coach in the launch can clearly see the post ahead of them, and is bellowing “COXSWAIN, CHECK YOUR COURSE” repeatedly, but to no avail. Eventually, realizing that it’s too late to get her to steer out of the way, he screams “STOP ROWING! STOP ROWING! YOU’VE GOT TO STOP ROWING”. Still, nothing.
And then, with amazing succinctness, the VIII ploughs straight into the post, snapping all of the oars on bowside. The poor crew, they had obviously no idea it was coming, and you can see the shock as the blades are snapped in their hands. Also funny to watch, is Three Seat, who gets physically turfed out of the boat, and ends up going for a swim. The coach in the launch going “Oh my God!” They were so lucky they weren’t seriously injured on killed, but it makes for one funny video!
I wonder how long it was before that cox was given her P45…
Today I got some rather good news. In view of my financial circumstances and my commitment to my rowing, I received a sports bursary from the university. This is both fantastic and hilarious; anyone who knew me prior to starting in Trinity would have thought that I was the least likely person in the world ever to receive a sports award – and yes, that list included Stephen Hawking. But amazingly, I have and I’m absolutely thrilled. In fact, once I got the cheque, I briskly limped to the bank as quick as I could, before the university realised they’d made some dreadful mistake and tried to take it back off me. Rowing has changed my life (for the better) and now I’m getting a bit of extra encouragement to stick at it and to take it up to the next level. So I’d better start winning some stuff for them, to make sure they get value for money.
So great was the grant, and so monumentous an occasion was it, that I was determined to go out for a slap-up dinner (which meant starters, and main courses and possibly dessert) and I would bring a friend – and most importantly: I would pay for it myself. Since going back to college, I simply do not have the money to afford to eat out, let alone bring someone to dinner. This was very special; it was going to be my treat. Therefore I harangued Joanna into meeting me for dinner, so that I could tell her my good news and she could discuss Schols. And so we headed off to Le Bon Crubeen.
Once there, I could not resist the temptation of a starter of “Quail with quince and foie gras”. It just sounded so ridiculously decadent that I had to have it. I don’t think I ever had quail before, nor quince, nor foie gras; fois gras was something that, until recently, I regarded as a rather disgusting concept, rather than a culinary achievement. It turns out that quail are absolutely tiny. So tiny, in fact, that I felt that I was eating a budgie. My Nana used have a budgie. His name was Joey. He was delicious.
Anyway, as I tucked in to the quail/budgie, I couldn’t but think of Hugh Dennis’ wonderful Mock the Week newsreel voiceover of David Cameron as he goes about, meeting the plebs. “Incidentally, I’ve cut your pension by 90%. Barely have enough to live on, but remember we share your pain”. – Hmmm, I wonder if Samantha’s cooked quail for lunch?
P.S. As I stood outside the restaurant I noticed their wonderful sign; whoever taught it up was a genius. It read:
(All main courses 10 – 12 Euro).
Brilliant; utterly brilliant, and really good food too!