Boat Club does Boot Camp

Athena Mellor gives us an insight into the perversely enjoyable training camp for UCLBC.

Athena Mellor Boat Boat Club Chiswick Racing sport Training Camp ucl uclbc UCLU

For most students, the 1st of January is a day to wake up, with a throbbing head, only to spend the remainder of the day nursing the hangover and be amazed at how little your body can move. For us, New Year’s Day was greeted with the ringing of a morning alarm, a journey in the bitter cold down to the River Thames and something resembling rowing – though tentative and slightly slovenly it may have been thanks to our own New Year’s fragility. If anyone asked for a New Year’s detox or resolved to ‘get fit for 2013’, then this week wouldn’t have disappointed. For us, however, it is known as Training Camp.  We are the Boat Club.

We were supposed to spend the week in Marlow (not far West of London), where we would have been staying in un-heated huts closer to the river than the toilet block. The news that this could not go ahead due to flooding was met with relief for the majority of us, who had not yet finished (or started) Christmas homework and still bitterly remembered the icy cold showers, burnt porridge and continual shivering from the year before.

Instead, we would spend the week at Chiswick – where we regularly train – commuting backwards and forwards daily from our houses, adding another 100 miles of cycling to the week’s horrors. More rain, more wind, more cold.

The week saw 60 rowers, novice and senior, training up to three times a day. 12k UT2, 3x500m at rate 24, 20k technical, circuit training… and on and on it went. Knowing we could go home to a hot shower and warm bed made it easier to get through the days, though harder to begin the days – leaving the warmth and comfort of our beds for the cold, harsh seats of our boats. Back pain, aching legs, blisters that wouldn’t disappear… and on and on it went.

Now you are probably thinking that we are all mad (you’re probably right) for doing it. But the momentary appearance of sunshine to remind us of summer rowing, the feeling of the boat moving when it suddenly ‘clicks’ and knowing that we’re all (literally) in the same boat keeps us going through these long, winter months.

We train hard so we can proudly wear our purple lycra at the next race (or at Moonies…), representing UCL doing something we all love. There is a strange addiction to rowing which I can’t really explain. But hopefully, by the summer, when we are all tanned and toned and the results of our training are finally showing, it will all make sense. We will remember that week of Training Camp and realize it was all worth it…

Well, that’s what I tell myself anyway.