Too much water, not enough water - the race is off, the race is on - every year the same merry dance! This year I didn't bother to do any training for the annual adventure - so when I found myself in the lead after the first weir it became an experience like sitting in a traffic jam in a London Taxi with very little money - how far can I get before its all over? Thoverton was the answer - the fit young man that bounded past me could have been only 25! Had my brain/body combination not been in DW-Tideway mode I might have considered tactics but blood-sugar was far too scarce - I tunnelled home to Exeter and nobody else came past me - not even Kelvin who had so skilfully outwitted me on the final weir of the Avon a week before.
Of the other Richmond stalwarts, Richard H and Doug SA started badly in the K2 - Doug being unaccustomed to the high revving rate of river racing Richard! - The pair settled down and managed to pull up to fourth place in the end - had they started better a medal would have been theirs.
In compliance with advertising standards I have to advise that other Hendrons are also available and on this day it was helmetless Henry who led some poor unfortunate on a spiralling zigzag - I passed them just as they went from broadside to reverse on one of the smaller rapids - had they remained broadside as I approached they would have felt the lash of kevlar upon glassfibre - as it was, assisting their rudder to fold under the hull was enough for me.
Also caught in another crazed broadside incident were Richard and Milosh - pouring through the narrow fish steps on the first weir - no sooner had myself and Kelvin gone through than a paddler known technically as a Pillock lodged himself broadside across the route, taking out half the K1 field, My! how he must have chuckled as his brothers in sport engaged him in a banterous discourse before he dislodged himself!
Richard's progress became even more exciting at Broken Weir, where he discovered the weir is in fact not broken - but instead his boat now was. Having been foolish enough to allow Peter B prepare his descent boat Richard now found himself in an exciting new experimental craft. Some years back when slalom boats were appearing with flat decks that enabled them to dip under the gates, it was suggested that the next great leap would be boats with a hinge in the middle, the paddler simply having to flex his legs to change the shape of the boat. Peter B has obviously been watching too many Bond films and it was left to a hapless Richard to ultimately report that the idea doesn't work!
Nick G and Russ entrusted their not inconsiderable weight to some fibres of glass that had seen better days - but in fairness to the garnered experience they made it, albeit sans-rudder - and with extensive use of foot pumps - Russ's legs doing more work than his arms!
All in all a good day out for the hard men of RCC.