Boarding a plane to Basel only a few hours after sitting in a Chemistry lecture was, to say the least, a little surreal. But there was a buzz in the atmosphere as we made our way to one of the most exciting races of the year.
Arriving in the dark in Basel meant we didn’t get a chance to see the city; however, many of the Senior Men grasped at the chance to practice their German, though according to them the word ‘Bahnhoff’ (one of the first German words they saw) became the word for everything. Nevertheless we found our way to the Hostel and went quickly off to our beds to get some sleep before an early outing tomorrow.
On the Friday morning, we headed down to the river to practice the ‘dreaded’ turn. The outing gave us the chance to get used to rowing on this foreign river and it gave us the sense of the intensely strong stream we’d be up against the following day – we were no longer on the Tideway that’s for sure. In the afternoon we had time to explore the German side of the city, which saw us enjoying the City’s architecture and of course some Scholadenkuchen and the Senior Men helped build some pontoons for the race the next day.
It’s not every day you find yourself paddling to the start line with international crews and some of the crews got a little too close for comfort, with the Senior Men finding themselves attached to one of the Czech crews whilst making their way up to the start. The race itself was not only a battle against the other crews but a fight against the stream on the way up to the turn; however, once round the aid of the stream seemed to give a boost to tired legs to make it across the finish line. With the women finishing a respectable 8th out of 10 crews in the Female Elite category, whilst the men finished an admirable 11th and 14th out of 15 Male Elite crews.
Due to the high spirits after the race, UCLBC lived up to expectations at the after-party (it was our Senior Men that were on the after-party flyer after all) and showed our European competitors how to celebrate.
We returned home tight squads and looking forward to the races to come!