Thursday, 20 September 2007

Activities Other Than Cupcakes!

I know this may be hard to believe but this week my attention has been on pursuits outside the world of cupcakes (much to the disgust of the hungry workmates... only two batches this week and it's already Thursday).
In the name of a good cause, I have spent the week learning how to row (feel free to laugh... it has been an entirely amusing endeavour)!!!
This year our company has entered two teams in a Corporate rowing event.. and in a moment of complete insanity I volunteered to row! Why is it insanity... well because we started training on Monday and the race is in 3 weeks (and 2 days) time!!!!! Nothing like a bit of fast tracking!!!!!
To be fair I should point out that pretty much all the teams are in the same boat (pun intended).... and are equally as unskilled as my team mates and I. But this does not make it any less nerve racking nor decrease the likelihood that, before this is all over, I will up going for an unintentional dip in the Barwon River!
To illustrate my point... last night our crew was running a little late getting out onto the river; so much so that most of the other crews were on their way back in as we pushed off. Thinking about it now, I am pretty sure that they were on their way back in because someone in their boat had actually thought to look up and check the colour of the storm clouds about to engulf the entire city.. we on the other hand had not!
In our enthusiasm to put into practice the skills that we had learnt on Monday evening, we set off down the river, straight into the path of a deadly thunder storm (complete with forked lightening and gale force winds)!
We lasted about 15 minutes on the water (just long enough to get a serious distance away from home) before our cox started to get the jitters and demanded that we turn around and head back to the boat sheds. Keep in mind here that when in the boat, he faces the opposite direction the rest of us, so he could see what we could not, and his eyes were beginning to get VERY VERY large! It wasn't until we turned the boat and actually looked up at the sky that we saw the enormous wall of jet black cloud and lightening hitting the hills in the (not so distant) distance.
I should point out that we are a crew of 5 (4 rowers, 1 cox) and up until this point our coach had only allowed us to row in pairs (whilst the other pair used the oars like outriggers to stabilise the boat). Upon seeing this wall of darkness bearing down on us, we decided it was time to fast track our training and give it a crack with all 4 of us rowing... good in theory but it is easier said than done!
In our defence we were actually going okay until about 10 strokes in when a wind of gale proportions swept through behind. At this exact moment our rower in second seat caught a crab and fell off his seat, forcing my (stroke) oar into the water; at which point I lost a footstrap, nearly fell backwards out of the boat and came within a whisker of kicking our cox in the face!!!!!!!!!!!
For any one watching from the river side, this would have looked hysterical... but luckily (or perhaps unluckily) for us the onset of the storm had also turned dusk into the kind of blackness you usually see right before dawn, soooo whilst we were hidden from river side observers we were also rowing COMPLETELY BLIND!
Long story short (or is it too late) we repeated this little pantomime every 50 metres or so until we were finally able to make it back to the boat ramp... just in time for the heavens to open and drench us to the bone with the kind of rain that feels like razor blades on the skin!
So... why do I lack confidence that I will make it through this experience in one piece? Hmmm... enough said really!

...before the weather turned!

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