Saturday, 27 September 2014

Tour du Leman 2014: How we went Dutch... and won!

The start: I just love a good melée.
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One of the questions I find I'm most often asked after completing a major expedition row is "Would you do it again?" Which, on closer analysis, is faintly irritating. I mean: if the answer's "No", does that mean my achievement this time is somehow reduced? However, in the case of this 160km race round Lake Geneva, the answer keeps being "Yes", and so it was that in early July I turned my attention for the sixth time to the challenge of finding suitable crewmates.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Have you got the long-distance rowing bug?

Take this quick 10-question test to find out whether you're a normal rower who merely likes reading about expedition rowing, a potential addict, or a full-on raving long-distance rowing loony.

Be warned, though, once you know the signs, you'll find yourself starting to exhibit them. And once you've got the bug, there's no known cure, you simply have to indulge...


Sunday, 10 August 2014

10 top tips for coxing an expedition row

The successful completion of an expedition row boils down to the rowers taking a lot of strokes. A LOT of strokes. But good coxing can play a really valuable part in helping them with that. Follow these tips to keep your crew fast, informed, and happy.

They're in order of importance. The first three are purely technical. After that coxing creativity comes into play, but don't be alarmed if you're not an experienced cox: there are several helpful tools you can use to squeeze the most out of your crew. Not literally, obviously.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Sulkava Rowing Race: 15 have fun in Finland

A 60km rowing race, in a historic style of wooden boat, through beautiful countryside, in the height of summer. On reflection, our hastily-thought-up team name, "What's Not to Like?", said it all.

And to make it totally irresistible, the boats are coxed 14s (and no, the 1 is NOT a typo – I don't mean coxed 4), with bowside and strokeside sitting NEXT to each other. I mean, really, what's not to like?!

Although actually, there WAS something that was definitely not to like about some of the boats...

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Going Just Some of the Wey: A Mini-Expedition Row

Expedition rows can come in all shapes and sizes. And fond as I am of more epic challenges, there are only so many of those you can plan and fit into a year. 

But that still leaves the odd spare Saturday when a short, slightly out-of-the-ordinary row can be fitted in. And so it was that a small party of just six of us, including two who had only been rowing a single-figure numbers of times, set off on a 14 mile round trip up the Wey Navigation Canal in Surrey.

Oh, and did I mention it basically involved going to the pub?

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Posture Pixies and their relatives

For most of us, long distance rowing is demanding on the back. The good news, though, is that help IS available, and I don't just mean taking a couple of 12-hour Neurofen before you start (though I am a strong believer in doing that). There is no need to struggle to sit up, keep your back flat and engage your abdominals on your own.

The Posture Pixie is there to help.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The "Rules" of Expedition Rowing

Expedition rowing is not like "normal" rowing. Sure, you sit in a the same kind of boat, and do the same kind of stuff with the blades. That's not what I mean. Expedition rowing requires strict adherence to three key rules. Ignore them and not only will you suffer, but your crew mates will suffer too, and there's every chance that you won't make it to the end of your chosen expedition.

However, I'm not sure which order they belong in. Maybe they're equally important? 

Friday, 18 April 2014

Meander 2014: How the Thames grows up from baby to teenager in four days

Although I'm happy to be accused of stretching an analogy too far, the 124 mile journey of the River Thames from its rural source to the point it becomes tidal, is rather like the development of a child, from wriggling infant to grown man, ready to head off to sea to seek adventure far from its home shores. 

Along the way it leaves its toys  lying around, got into technology and even acquired some brand-name accessories. Oh, and don't get me started on the state of its bedroom....