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MONTFORD CHALLENGE RACE (Shropshire) 12th March 2016

MONTFORD CHALLENGE RACE (Shropshire) 12th March 2016

Saturday 12th March 2016

Our Wisey Crews

MONTFORD CHALLENGE RACE (Shropshire) –  12th March - And so the 2016 Season begins with the first race of the year was the Montford Challenge, a gruelling 11 mile time trial on the River Severn in open countryside from Shrewsbury, rowing upstream to the Montford Bridge, predicted to take between 2-4 hours.  The race was hosted by the Shropshire Adventure Rowing club and this was to be the first time they have hosted this event.  This was going to be a real testing contest for Wiseman`s, as due to really bad weather conditions over the winter months, very few rows or training sessions had actually taken place on the water, although the indoor ERG training proved to be invaluable  for those who took part in this experience.

Three boats were entered for Wiseman`s, covering categories of ladies, mens and a supavets team.  As planned on the Friday afternoon the teams, accompanied by our long suffering loyal supporters, made the 3.5 hr journey across the mountains to the Holiday Inn Express in Shrewsbury.  Not only were we celebrating the beginning of the season but also the birthdays of one of our very own coaches (Mr. Neil Cross) and our very own Princess (Lady Rodders). However, sensibility prevailed and we were all safely in bed by midnight ready for the activity of the following day.

Saturday morning came all too soon and as planned we were all on our way to the start of the race by 8.30 am, with boats in tow.  Wiseman`s was the first to arrive on site, and a very warm, well organised reception awaited us by the Shropshire members. The atmosphere was a combination of excitement and apprehension, and as other rowers arrived a real buzz could be felt in the air.  Boats were unloaded and prepared, our Welsh flags erected, tea was drank, and rolls eaten, fingers taped and we were ready for what we did not know then was probably going to be the longest hardest 3hrs + we had experienced for a long time.  The Cox’s brief was held as scheduled and the plan was for all 24 boats to leave in 3 minute intervals due to the narrowness of the river.

The ladies boat at number 3 was first to leave from the Wiseman`s collection, followed later by the supavets at number 9 and men’s at number 21.  The row was everything we had thought people had exaggerated it to be, with its narrow bends, protruding beds, debris and fast running currents, this certainly was not a leisurely row up the river.  The view was bland and as we turned each bend the appearance was the same, with no landmarks to identify where we were or how far we had to go.  The row was a long painstaking one, and for most of the journey we could have been the only boat on the river.  There were, at intervals, fishing men, who obviously did not realise that with 24 boats plugging away down the river, they had very little chance of catching any fish, but they seemed amused at our efforts to make it up-stream against the tide. 

All three crews arrived at the Montford Bridge in under 3.5 hours, the ladies boat coming in prior to the other two boats, only 21 seconds behind the winners of the ladies Porthmadog boat, the supavets  boat came in second, and finally the men’s boat appeared with Simon dressed in his bright yellow daffodil costume. We were all absolutely exhausted, and most of us covered in blisters, but full of sheer delight and a real sense of achievement.

As promised, the Winfield Arms Pub provided us with lovely hot food, and a well deserved pint and of course the Rugby, the 6 Nations match between Wales v England, but perhaps we will not talk about that as the results was not as promising for Wales as the results of the rowing!!!!!!

 

Dirty Gertie – Rod, Neil, Nick, Libby and Gareth – Time - (02:57:13)

Oarsome – Bryony, Gabi, Moira, Caroline and Diane – Time - (03:10:17)

ROK – Simon, Johnny, Nigel, Andy and Gary – Time - (03:03:36)

 

A really big thank you to all who rowed and to our wonderful rowing family who cheered and encouraged us on.  Special thanks to our towers Andy & Gary, for towing in rather difficult conditions and for Dan our men’s Captain, who could not be with us in physical form, but of which this weekend would not have been possible without all his support and organising.