Bristol 2008 - Heads you win

A brief heads up on the day at the Bristol races.

Firstly... let me head off these rumours of some kind of wierd love affair between our boat and Amathus - we're just friends I assure you. And, while the Dads Army video made me chuckle I really don't know what you're trying to imply... no really.

With grim memories of the deluge of 2007 Batchworth were going prepared this time - re-arrange these words for a well know phrase: horse bolted after door stable close.
Anyhow, it was gazebo heaven this time, and what a jolly good idea they were - despite the lack of rain to truly test them. Having seen all the other crews with these for countless years it's odd how we've only just managed to cotton on. We only had the one side panel but at least we had a head on them.


A late entry from Captain Evans meant we had a grand total of 18 paddlers - you'd realise this was a good haul if you'd heard the discussions on Tuesday. Still, we had our heads held high and we were off to battle.
The 200s went well... right up until the split second after the hooter of the major final when, literally, heads started to turn and all eyes were focussed on the yellow and the blue boats sitting in a space where, in reality, only one boat should have sat. Which boat that should have been is anyone's guess. Fortunately our dragon head crossed the line a second time as it was rescued by the race marshalls launch - thanks.
Drat, second - but at least we'd had the measure of those Kingstony types in lane three. And we we still had the fastest 200m time of the day - our semi-final time was a good 'un - just the wrong race to do it!

Q: How many water bottles does it take to replace a head?

A: Three

This is the grand conclusion we came to after much debate with Jo and Nic, the chief official and race organiser. So, armed with our extra water bottle load we headed off to the 500's.
Thames Taniwhas in the heats and both Thames's (Raging and Taniwha) in the semis saw us steam headlong into the major final. The yellow and blue boats making cooey-cooey noises to each other and lots of fluttering of eye-lids - and the Royals sitting regally in 3 again. BA taking the fourth spot ahead of intense rivals Typhoon and Raging Dragons - who, incidentally, were no strangers to the crossing of swords/lanes themselves.

We've got to stop meeting like this

And so to the second Clash of the Triviums (Trivia??) as this time the Blue Righties got to meet the Yellow Lefties for an exchange of pleasantries. Fortunately no damage was done (we had nothing left to damage!) and it was (just) after the finish line - but, again we were not the ones in front and to make it worse those smug guys and gals in the blue and pink had beaten us too, having declined the invitation to a threesome at the finish and kept themselves to themselves.
So much for our new motivational speaker - obviously we respond better to heaps of gratuitous swearing during the warm up.

Mercifully the journey home - and, hence, the 'band game' - was much shorter than from Exeter and a box of jelly babies helped keep us buzzing.
Here's a test: How many ways can you describe/mime "Happy Mondays" without the person actually managing to get it? Despite knowing that it begins with 'H' and guessing every possible synonym for 'happy' (even though they didn't begin with 'h').
Oddly enough no one came up with 'Talking Heads' :-)

All in all, a very enjoyable day out. Wrong result, of course, but we'll be back. Thanks to all involved including the officials and helpers and our newest temporary recruit "Bristol Shaw". And every race was bang on time too - good show.