This April, CSRC had probably the best organised trip anyone can remember. With laminated diagrams of what went where and a spread sheet of who was responsible for what, we loaded up our trailer with more boats than you could shake a stick at and headed off to Chester for a weekend of learning and fun.
With tents pitched around our fabulous club gazebo, we settled down for a night of listening to the wind and rain pick up around us and the friendly ducks at Chester Lakes occasionally saying "Quack!" near our heads. Undeterred, we arrived at Grosvenor Boat Club in the morning only slightly late. Crews had been arranged to spread out the coxing responsibilities and to give novices a chance to row with more experienced members. With much excitement we headed for the water.
We were fantastically lucky to have not only our own fabulous Vicky and Janet coaching this weekend from cox seats but also Rosie (Technical Director of British Rowing) and Naomi Ashcroft (Olympian Lightweight Rower) coaching from the launch. Over a well deserved hot drink and snack, we had some feedback from the coaches that as a club.
We were failing to suspend all the way to the finish. Some fun times were had squeezing our bums and trying to levitate above rowing machines before we headed back out to the river to try and prove we could indeed all "fire our glutes" and "press the finish" just like the super duper rowers we watched on a training video.
Big gains were made in terms of boat speed as the penny dropped for many of us. Ah yes, a whole new muscle group to engage!
Following more tea, cake and lunch, we all made an attempt at crew rowing on moving rowing machines on runners which were connected. This was harder than it looked and was very helpful for getting the feeling of the boat running under you and your feet coming to you.
Then, back on the water again. Another outing, another crew!
We watched the Boat Race together in a crowded boathouse and felt grateful that our tideway events were over a number of weeks ago.
After hot showers and a change of scene, a huge amount of food was eaten at the carvery. With some members having burned 5,000 calories from the rowing they had done, ice cream was in order.
A better night's sleep was had after all that fresh air and food and we returned to the boat house on Sunday ready for more bum aching drills on the water. But alas, the weather was against us! The wind was too fast for an outing and so indoor training ensued. Janet gave some very useful advice on training as we age (being light, maintaining flexibility and power, adapting your outing plans) and lead a session in the gym around mobility and strength.
It was great to see members who attend Strength and Conditioning Training coaching others on how to get the most out of these exercises.
There was one capsize, but nobody drowned. A blade was broken but no bones were. The weather wasn't great on Sunday but we had a really useful land training session. The recording equipment had some problems but we got to watch people who are better at rowing than us and to visualise how to be better. Overall, a roaring success in terms of rowing, not to mention the social aspect, which is always strong as CSRC.
Events like this are what keep many of our intermediate rowers interested - a focus point, progress, feeling that we've learned something valuable that we can take forwards and work on. The motivation which comes out of that cannot be underestimated and a huge amount of gratitude was expressed between members that we are lucky enough to have advice from such excellent coaches. Money literally could not buy the coaching we had on camp!
Massive thanks go to Catherine McDougall for creating and carrying "The Folder of Responsibility" all weekend and for all her work as top organiser of the camp, to Gareth for being the safety officer, Rosie Cowen, Sarah Houldsworth, Piers Turnbull, Ciara O'Hagan and John Johnson for their many contributions to the smooth running of the weekend, to Vicky for towing and of course to Vicky, Janet, Rosie and Naomi for their invaluable coaching.