This weekend I went off on another rowing adventure to Hobb’s Island Regatta in Huntsville, Alabama. Before leaving Dejean reminded everybody that Huntsville is the home of this guy:
And I realised that I am apparently doing a tour of viral videos with the rowing team because three weeks ago I was in Oklahoma City where this lady lives:
Unlike last time where we had a coach, this trip we went via cars and I was in a big-ass ‘Merican pick truck with Will, Dejean, Mikael and Christina. As always the journey went surprisingly quickly, I fell asleep and woke up at a Cracker Barel in Mississippi. At first I was excited because I really wanted pecan pancakes, then I was suspicious because I was pretty sure that we were at the same Cracker Barel as last time except I knew for a fact that we weren’t in Texas….
The rest of the 8 hour trip involved a lot of sleeping…
Dejean throwing bread at the other cars…
At about hour five everyone started playing a game without me called “copy everything Megan says in your best attempt at a British accent” and by hour nine on the way to the motel things had gotten a bit crazy and there was a bit of dubstep and Dejean started headbanging…. We got to Huntsville Friday afternoon to rig up boats but the trailer had had some problems (standard) on the way so was delayed by a couple of hours. I spent this time trying to do a fishtail braid on Emily’s hair and admiring Susko’s transformation into a pop icon after he found a snake.
After pissing about a lot, rigging boats and having dinner we scouted out where we were staying for the night. Apparently it’s called “America’s best value inn”, I have re- Christened it “Rapeville”. If we hadn’t been hiding our kids and wives before we definitely were now… I’m not even going to start on the mysterious blue stains on the bed…. But it’s not a rowing trip without some budget cuts and I slept scarily well considering I was closest to the door and was probably supposed to be on watch for rapists or something.
5.30am was our wake up call and I was really nervous because I wanted a medal and I needed to make up for how bad Oklahoma City was. It was a bit chilly when we rolled up at 7am and I felt reasonably smug that I had ignored my mum’s advice and brought thermal leggings with me to America, but I also felt like I had grown up in the Arctic because I didn’t think it was all that cold. For my Americans reading this, this is a photo of my friend Sarah who I row with at home at BUCS head in Peterborough, England. She looks cold. In fact, I can remember how cold I was that day which proves just how cold it was. She is also drinking water out of a milk carton because, if I remember right, she couldn’t find a decent sized water bottle. I also very clearly remembering cowering under the trailer to try and get away from the wind.
Anyway, back to the adventure! Hobb’s Island is really ridiculously pretty! As much as being at LSU has trained me to hate Alabama, it’s a really beautiful place that is ruined only by the fact that it is full of people from Alabama (although when we were getting food a woman told me she could listen to my voice all day so I guess that gives them some brownie points).
This makes me sad at the idea of ever going back to the bleak windswept moors of Peterborough or “too windy to be an airport” Holme Pierrepont. Having said that, once you pass the shelter of the island the waves are notoriously big, our boat was lucky (we were racing at 8.30am) but Alabama’s men’s open 8 sunk within sight of the finishing line during their race at midday…. I love rowing drama!
Also, apparently rowing and hammocks are a thing out here. I am not complaining, I was completely in awe of the three tier system that University of Georgia had going on at their trailer.
And in the end? My boat got the most incredible silver medal I’ve ever come across so now I’ve got some American bling to show my grandchildren while I bore them to death with play by plays of every race I’ve ever been in.
The men’s open eight also came second, men’s four just mised out on a medal in fourth place and the novices did SO much better than in Oklahoma (I always measure novice success on how much crying there is because I know that if someone had made me race after a month of rowing then there would have been tears). It was an awesome day and I was (cheese alert) very proud to be part of the club.
Coming home was also an adventure topped off by everyone being… over-tired? high? excited?… at a random petrol station on the Mississippi/Louisiana border. There was also an incredible 90s jam going on in our car (Will bought ‘My Heart Will Go On’ on itunes “Tell nobody!”) and when we woke up in Baton Rouge Dejean was kind enough to let Mikael and Christina know that they had been snoring.
I’m ridiculously excited for Pumpkinhead regatta next weekend now, Pumpkinhead is a costume regatta in Austin, Texas. I’m ridiculously excited for everything except racing twice… I’m scared about that part…. But a wise person once said, “If in your first race you’re dressed as a flamingo then your second race will be fine.” Or something along those lines.
Over and out.
“I love your accent” count: 19
Food I couldn’t finish count: 5