Having done a deal with Laurence to compete in one race in return for him writing some articles about his and Mike’s forthcoming Devizes to Westminster race, I found myself beside the canal at Gailey Canoe Club, along with Adam, Aaron, Mike (in a spectating capacity!), Nigel W, Dave and Laurence, my hopes that the entire thing might have been an April Fool’s prank having been cruelly dashed.
Naturally, I made sure all my excuses were deployed early: I don’t race, I’m not competitive, I haven’t done any training, and I’m still recovering from the lurgy. Still, we need the points apparently. And points mean prizes. Or something. (Actually, points mostly seem to mean the chance to compete in still more races, but then I never really got the hang of this stuff).
As an odd numbered Div 9’er, I started my race alongside Aaron. For someone who used to complain about being bored well before bridge 2 on the Coventry Canal, his progress is remarkable. He caught up with me and moved into third place, and soon caught up and passed the girl in second place. I caught up with her too, but as I was attempting to pass, I had an unfortunate encounter with a paddler on the return leg and had to slow and veer away to try to avoid a collision (we got away with a glancing blow). That cost me some time.
Unfortunately, Aaron lost his position in the turn (more competitive turning practice needed?), and was unable to regain it. I caught up with him shortly before the end, and we were neck and neck, with Aaron just beating me to the finishing line to claim third place, a medal and a cream egg. Both our times were fast enough to earn promotion to Div 8. Dave came in 5th.
Adam failed to pace himself properly and won his Div 8 race far too convincingly, earning promotion to Div 6! Now he has to do 8 mile races!
Nigel W came 2nd in Div 5, and Laurence came 4th in Div 4.
The full race results are on Gailey Canoe Club’s website.