On a cloudy windless morning, Typhoon gathered two boats strong on the grassy banks of the Trent River behind County Hall. This comfortable venue saw the first time Typhoon club had both Tigers and Fury teams wearing the new kit, and the first BDA this season with the team gazebo, pitched on the grass facing the race course.
First 200m race.Tigers' first 200m race saw us lined up between Cool Runnings and Pool for Life. We were one paddler down as she was still making her way up from Brighton. Even so, we managed a good start with minimum rockiness which gained us a lead, but the evenness and power tailed off in the transition into lengths, allowing Cool Runnings to pull ahead. We persevered and came in 2nd with a time of 49:41.
200m Reps race.
In our second race we faced Worcester Dragons and Thames Taniwhas. We had identified that in the first race, we could all have utilised our full reach a lot better. So in this race, we worked on hitting the water at the front of the reach. Steve from Execalibre kindly offered to be our helm for the day and he added his calls for timing, enabling Tigers to come 3rd with a faster time of 49:22.
200m Minor Plate finals.
The elements were falling into place. Concentrating together had felt good. This time we were introducing a 'restart' at the end of the race. The start was good and the restart call made a noticeable difference in our ability to gain on Thames and BA beside us. Every paddler could feel the power increase when we all put the extra effort in together. In the end, Tigers came 3rd place with an improved time of 49:08.
By mid day the sun had come out in force and several Typhoon paddlers had t-shirts hanging out to dry. Some of Typhoon were lying on a blanket beside the gazebo, while others were just on the grass under the nearest large tree. If nothing else, it was a pleasant day of hanging out with team mates on a sunny afternoon. Except for the anti-social ones playing 'Peggle' and 'IPee Drunk' iPhone games in the corner!
First 450m race.
At the hottest point of the day, Typhoon Tigers prepared for our first 450m race. It was a pleasure to have Chi Li, a Batchworth-and-GB ex-Typhoon paddler on the drum! We powered off the start gaining a lead on the other teams. We kept a good lead until our transition into length when Cool Runnings nosed ahead. But again we edged forward during our 'restart' calls, and kept nose to nose with them until the end. With just 0.7 of a second between us, we came 2nd with a time of 1:53:03.
Second 450m race.
For this race, we our start was not as fast - our Typhoon Fury drummer, Wai Ho, fell off her seat but valiantly continued drumming while clutching her hat and the drum. We redeemed our position in our restarts which put us back into the race. The final restart was so effective that we were edging forward and vying for first place with Kingston Pretenders when the race ended. It was a great race and we were just pipped into 2nd place by 0.25 of a second with a time of 1:54.66.
450m Plate semis.
We were in the disadvantaged far lane for this race. We pulled ahead at the start, but were caught soon after we went into lengths. Yet Tigers fought on and put in a phenomenal effort together during the first restart, enabling us to pull back ahead. However, into lengths again we were overtaken again. At this point we also clashed paddles with Pershore beside us and paddled less than straight. On our final restart call we powered up again, closing the lead til we came in 2nd behind Pershore, with a time of 1:52.39.
450m Plate Major final.
Tigers took up the disadvantaged far lane again for our final race. This time we planned on setting an increased rate in our lengths - as we were noticing that going into lengths were the points when other teams edged ahead of us. This made the final race much closer without us dropping back noticeably during the race. The restarts still gave us great boosts in power, and it was only in the last 20 strokes or so that tiredness kicked in. This time without the paddle clash, we left Pershore soundly in 3rd place. Again, while vying for first place, BA Hurricanes nosed 0.7 of a second ahead on the line, leaving us in 2nd place with a time of 1:53.75.
After a day of several close races, Tigers were left reflecting on what a difference we could have had if we had pulled out that 0.7 of a second faster speed in the races that left us in 2nd place by such a small amount. But despite that, the day had given us a feel for the amazing power in the boat when the team pulled together in the restarts. In those moments we came closer to the potential we knew we had in us, than in any of the other races this season.
The day had also been enjoyable with the sunny weather, the presence of both teams, the little friends a Typhoon paddler made when he splashed some kiddy spectators and they came to splash him back. Also, it ended on a positive note when two Typhoons paddled with Secklow in the ladies race and won.
Well done Tigers - we seem to have found the 'turbo button' in the inspiring restarts. Now to put it to good use!
Report by Kim Tran