The Great Escape

The Berlin Invasion

“City 3” headed out to Germany on a mission to make their last crew race a special one. After rowing together as a crew for about a year and gaining their first race win 51 weeks ago at the Autumn head in 2008, we wanted to give it all. We made our way there in dribs and drabs over two days all meeting together on Friday evening. James and John did it their way, and flew themselves out in John’s teeny tiny little Aeroplane

 

 

on Thursday, flying the popular route (more popular about 65 years ago) from South East England, direct to the Eagles Nest (Jakob’s back yard).

Far too many beers followed on Thursday evening, giving a few soar heads for the excellent city tour on Friday given by Jakob. Things started off a little late due to people forgetting about the whole time zone change thing… Jo.

The tour was amazing, we explored every corner of the amazing city, guided by a very proud Jakob. It was like being on a School trip with some people, John was told off by a security man for being a bad boy, Kate was slapped on the wrist by Jakob for not listening, Sava was trying hard to ask intelligent questions, and James was constantly going back the way we came to find missing rowers who had wondered off to look at something bright and shiny.

Pre race night preparation went ahead with Jules, Sava, Jakob and James entering an eating competition. 2 main courses, one of pasta, one of pizza. Jakon 1st, Sava 2nd, James 3rd and Jules 4th after we let him off the crusts.

Race day was soon on us. CCRC kit was thrown on, and we headed across the city to find our boat and blades… We found them… An 8+ that must have been made by the same people who made TSB, yet 20 years before, and I think when the RAF were still bombing the place.. And then we got our blades… Macons. But we didn’t care, nothing was going to spoil the last City 3 Race. Our usual Ginger boat bingo was very quickly dropped due to the acute lack of the little devils. Never mind. A new game started, spot any other crew with Macons… just one…

Off we went, close to the back of the entire 143 boat race. 7km upstream through Berlin. Sava set his normal spot-on rate, backed up by the 7 fuelled rowers behind him. Jo soon got to grips with the Bismarck and the cornering to get us on the racing line. Upstream we went with the Macons chunking through the water on every stroke. It was strong and sustained, through the 3.5km mark, well after we passed the Belfast Ladies crew, it was bridge after bridge, after bridge. By now we were all realising that 7km is a long way against the stream and with Macons it was feeling further! Jo noticed a lull in the technique and slapped us straight away, the whip was cracked and we all sat up, and regrouped.

Jo called, “only 1800m to go” and the boat lifted and we pushed on. Legs tired, lungs burning but still strong. When the finish line was in sight, Jo called for more and more, until we were motoring down the home straight. Across the line we went for the end of an epic year. 2nd in our division, and 24th overall, not bad.

As we put the boat away, the heavens opened, Sava was still trying to think of intelligent questions, Neil straightened his spine, James thanked his lucky stars his hang over had finally shifted from Thursday night, Jules found the best yellow bag in the world, Jakob was trying to find the German who gave us our boat and blades to show him the pointy, or blunt end of a blade, Tim wanted beer, Sean wanted lots of Beer, John was looking for a squirrel to eat, and Jo was putting her legs back on after removing them to fit in the coxes seat.

Sunday we all headed back to Blighty, or tried too… James and John in their little plane made it though Germany, cloud, rain, windmill, tree, chimney, hill and ground dodging through the countryside in the mist and turbulence, but unfortunately had to give up in Belgium due to lack of daylight and strong headwinds. It was a good effort. But were skimming over the White Cliffs of Dover at 0800hrs on Monday morning at 1400ft.

A great weekend, a great end, and Great Escape.

Thanks guys, 

James.

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