Easter weekend.

Nearly every Good Friday since 1999 has been spent by me in a preparation frenzy for competing in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race.
125 miles long, non stop, through the night, it’s been called ‘the Everest of canoe races ‘ ( and I thought it was til I did The Yukon 1000 mile Race in 2009 ), and is very, very hard.
Eleven times I’ve been in it and managed 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th places, as well as winning the Mixed Doubles one year with Roxanne.
I’d like to thank Henry, Piran, Rox, John, Randall and Stu for partnering me.
Three times I’ve not finished it, the most notable being the time I went virtually blind in my left eye two thirds of the way through, and felt compelled to stop, fearing for my eyesight ( which did recover 12 hours later ).
I’m one of a small group to be in the 1000 miles Club, by virtue of 8 finishes.
Yes, the Race was an obsession for me in some ways, and this is the first year in many that I’ve had no input into it at all.
I’m guessing that it’s now impossible for me to partake in,given you’re not allowed ‘assistance’. There are 77 portages, where you jump out and run with the boat around locks/ over islands, before putting the boat back in and jumping in it again.
It’s usually very cold at night , and falling in the river Thames is an omnipresent danger ( though in the 1200 miles of it I’ve canoed, I only fell in twice I think ), once I recall after a light was shone in my eyes, dazzling me, after which I stepped straight off the tow path into the deep river at 3am. I remember it taking 3 hours of canoeing before I stopped shivering.
Good luck to the 200 plus canoeists who are
doing it this year, at least it’ll be a ‘warm’ one, being a late Easter. Most of my former partners will be involved in either competing or supporting other crews.
One things’s for sure, if rather be suffering in a boat this weekend than being trapped in this wheelchair
My annual obsession with the race is something that drove Dani to her wit’s end, me invariably training most days at 5.30 am for the 3 months before Easter.
Again, she’d far rather me be doing that than havin the daily grind of looking after me, post accident.
Either way, I’ve not really made it easy for her, have I ?

2 thoughts on “Easter weekend.

  1. Russ, I once met a man skiing off piste in Montana. He had somehow lost his wife. I said to him “you’ll be in trouble when she finds you”, to which he replied “when it comes to my wife, I’m always in the shit, it’s just the depth that varies”. True story.

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