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Head of the Amstel – Amsterdam 2012

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On the 17th of March at 6 am in the morning 17 rowers, two coxes and our coach Lars hit the road for Amsterdam.

Once we arrived there one bus as well as one car including one of our coxes had to park quite far away from the Boathouse since there were so many Rowing teams arriving. Too bad we forgot Matzes wheelchair in the other bus, down at the Amstel. Luckily Anne had her bike with her and Matze soon had a new favourite vehicle.

We deloaded Frieda and rigged the boat. Lars decided to cut off our rudder, since the curves of the river are very tight and a shorter rudder would make the steering easier for our coxes. Very pragmatic!

The mens’s team went out for training right away, while the girls made our way to Albert Hejin, a nice dutch Supermarket. We all bought lots of nice dutch waffles. Mhhhh…
Then the girls went out on the water and the men’s team went to get some food. The training did not go as good as we expected from our previous outings on the Lesum in Bremen. I believe we all were a little distracted by the pretty houses and especially houseboats.

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By the time we got back to the dock almost all the other rowing teams had arrived. It was very impressive to see so many boats from so many different places in Europe. A Jacobs student simply had to feel at home at once. That was when we learned how our coach just had “bought” two new boats! The “price”: A crate of beer!

On our way to the Hostel: StayOkay one of the vans lost the other cars and had to find the way to the hostel on its own. Luckily a very nice man showed the lost rowers the way, biking in front of them all the way there. Amsterdam is definitely a very friendly city!
After a shower and dinner some rowers went to the city center of Amsterdam and had a nice walk through the streets.

The morning of the race all team members met in the canteen of the hostel for a large breakfast. Especially large for our coxes, who still had to gain a little weight, just a few kilos to fulfill the requirements.

Since the men’s race started at 12 am, they had to go running to get warm and then go out on the water straight away. The girls took care of one of the new boats. It was derigged and put on the trailer, which now seemed terribly small considering, that now three boats would have to travel back on it.

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At the time the men’s race started all girls gathered on the terrace of one of the club houses and on the dock to cheer. Robin brought our new favourite instrument: A Vuvuzela. We were most likely the loudest spectators that day. Later we were checking on the men’s times on the large screen and had to find out that they had been disqualified right from the start. Which was very disappointing, having seen them fight so hard out on the water. The boys explained what had happened when they came back. Right at the start they had passed under a bridge which they were not supposed to because it was under construction. Such bad luck!

In the meantime our trestles had disappeared…The boys found them later on. Another team had stolen our trestles!

Once the boys were back on the dock, the girls went out on the water for their race. Since we were a little early, we still had time to train on one of the “grachten” on the way to the start. By the time we finally were at the start, we had already been on the water for more than an hour and it was cold and raining. Two girls had to use the bathroom and a dutch Rowing Club, which had their boat house right at the Amstel at the starting line allowed the two of them to dock and use theirs. Again: Amsterdam, a very friendly city.

Since we were the last boat to start we made it perfectly in time to the start where Lars was standing on a bridge supporting us, as he would be doing for the coming 8 km, biking next to us. The race went very well. We kept a an average stroke rate of 29 throughout the race and had a nice balance. Even though we did not overtake any other boat, they were always in sight for our brave cox Hassan, who managed all curves and bridges without difficulties. After the finish line we were very exhausted but really extremely happy! The mood in the boat was really great. To quote a spectator here: “You looked best and you were the prettiest anyways!”

After a shower and derigging the boat we set out for Bremen, already looking forward to next years race in Amsterdam!

The final results of the race:

http://www.headoftheriver.nl/content.php/de/286

Unfortunately our men’s team was disqualified and no official time was published.

The girls placed 12th out of 15 competing crews, with a nice time of 29.41 minutes.

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