Tag: rowing

Back on the (Cold) Rock!

Manuel Marques September 29, 2013 No Comments Uncategorized , , , , ,

Yep, indeed – sadly, my holidays are over! πŸ™ Hard to believe that exactly one week ago I was still melting under the Portuguese late Summer, especially after spending this whole morning at the University’s boathouse under an overcast sky and with a cold windΒ continuously blowing…

The holidays, though, couldn’t have ended better: the 2013 edition of the Douro descent (actually this year we had an ascent/descent!) was awesome! Lots of rowing (~64k overall), good company, great scenery and excellent food, what can I ask for more?

(there are a lot of stories to tell, along with some excellent photos, but those will have to wait for a later time, as I’m writing this in a hurry now! πŸ˜› )

I can do this in England, although only a couple of days per year! πŸ˜›

Anyway, in retrospective, these 3.5 weeks I spent in Porto were great, albeit they went past very, very quickly – I managed to mentor 5 high school students, train towards and run a half-marathon, work on my ^”!$!^*! paper (which is still not ready – every day we uncover new things that need to go into it, it is the sad life of a researcher!) and do lots of rowing and running (and even some cycling, which didn’t end the way I wanted to, though…).

See you next year, Summer!

Good weather aplenty!

Manuel Marques May 6, 2013 No Comments Uncategorized , , ,

Judging from the lack of lengthy posts around here, you should have suspected that already! πŸ˜‰ I’ve been too busy enjoying myself in the sun and warmth, and also doing some sort of useful work on the side :).

Last week was a bit hectic, a combination of both birthday party, some other group celebrations, house hunting and a paper in the process of being written. I mean, I can’t really complain – I am completely master of my time now, no-one depends on me and I don’t depend on anybody, so I can afford arriving home at 21h if I want/need to.

Meanwhile, the good weather has been more or less constant, which means I was able to row on both Saturday and Sunday – hooray! On Sunday it was absolutely fantastic – no wind at all, and I had the river mostly for myself, flat water aplenty! It is true that I have a few bends to worry about, and the river is narrower than some B-class roads around here, but I’m in the water with a more-or-less OK single! I am grateful, and I became even more grateful after reading this post about people rowing in the devastation caused by hurricane Katrina – my tribulations are nothing compared to theirs!

After more than one year living here in Canterbury, I finally entered the Cathedral! Shame on me…
Whitstable sea front, as seen from the big groyne in the low tide. Quite a fantastic day, people were even bathing in the sea… in early May!

Yesterday I also had a good friend visiting me. We had a great time, I showed him some of the views around here, sadly there were no oysters because we got there too late! (and it was Sunday…)

Easter extended weekend!

Manuel Marques April 3, 2013 No Comments Uncategorized , , , ,

It is always nice to have a bit of a break from work, and have a nice time with good friends and great food! Around here we have Bank Holidays on both Good Friday and Easter Monday – even though I actually spent part of the break coding and fixing my ragged piece of software, I had plenty of stuff to keep me amused!

Starting with Saturday – we had the Spring ICC! I remember fondly the last year’s ICC – it was great fun, the weather was lovely and sunny and we had a really good time (also, it was my very first race! Well… not a “real” race, but still counts as one for me!). Err.. not this year!

Boathouse, 7:30 AM on Spring ICC day. Can you spot the snow flakes falling? (I should have used the flash!)


This year’s weather has been very, very disappointing (in fact, it actually snowed today, April 3rd! πŸ˜› ), and the Spring ICC was no exception. We got out of the minibus in Plucks just to get greeted by a blizzard of snow gushing through the bus’ side door!

Gladly, it wasn’t like that all morning – there were periods of sunshine! – but I still raced under a bit of a blizzard on my first race (I raced twice, first on a single – ooh! – and then filling in a W4+ with another guy – there weren’t enough girls in the boathouse to have all-female crews, so we had to fill in for them! πŸ˜‰ ). My time on the 1x was quite miserable – 4:06 for a <1k race!! – and, predictably, I came up last πŸ™‚ . But then again, I don’t know how to go fast on a single, as I normally use them for leisurely “strolls” of 10k+! πŸ˜›


Having fun!! And at least I managed to keep the boat relatively balanced for the photo… (photo credit Ben Zeng)


Sadly, there was no barbecue this year, and we managed to finish the whole event quite early (probably the nasty weather contributed a bit to that!) – I was back at my place around 1 PM!


Easter lunch: Great company, good food and wine – what else can I ask? πŸ˜‰

On Easter Sunday I also had a great time – a lovely lunch-which-was-then-extended-to-dinner with my Portuguese friends living here in Canterbury, with a gap in between to get to the pub to watch the Boat Race on telly with the guys from the club (Oxford won quite cleanly – quite a change from last year, rowing-wise, and I also enjoyed being in the pub with a pint in hand watching the whole race, instead of freezing to death on the banks of the Thames! :P).

A great time, indeed – I now fully recharged my “batteries” for some weeks’ worth of hard work!

UKC Rowing Ergathon!!

Manuel Marques March 19, 2013 No Comments Uncategorized , ,

UKC Rowing Ergathon!

The cheerful chaps at my University’s rowing club are hosting a 3-day competition with charity purposes, the Ergathon (basically a rowing marathon in an ergometer, aka the machine of death πŸ˜› ).

This year we will attempt to row the distance between Canterbury and Paris, which apparently is around 285 km as the crow flies. We have two teams of rowers competing to see whoever gets there first, and they will be rotating in 30 minute slots trying to put as many miles as possible during that time.

The event will take place in either the University campus (this Thursday) or down in the city centre (apparently it will be next to CafΓ© Rouge, just off the High Street) in Friday and Saturday.

If you’re in Canterbury be sure to stop by to cheer (and perhaps donate a few quid! πŸ˜‰ ), and you might get lucky and see yours truly here, the leisure rower, actually doing something on the erg (quite a rare sight, I should tell you).

Part of the donations will revert to our club to get some much-needed equipment, and the rest to the Strode Park Foundation, a local charity working to provide high quality services to meet the changing and individual needs of people with disabilities.

May the best team win! πŸ™‚

And so it begins!…

Manuel Marques February 9, 2013 No Comments Uncategorized , , , ,

pile of reportsSpent all afternoon printing a fresh batch of lab reports to mark :P. And now, let the fun begin!… (apparently tomorrow the weather will not be as inviting as today, so I really have no excuses for not starting… πŸ™ )

Anyway, I shouldn’t complain that much, this morning I had a brilliant outing on a single scull – no wind, no rain, had the river all for myself (and its banks, as I kept hitting them πŸ˜› ). It was quite chilly, though… (couldn’t feel my hands for more than a quarter of the outing) Ah, I’m eagerly waiting for the warmer months…

And, finally!,…

Manuel Marques February 3, 2013 No Comments Uncategorized ,

… I had what I can properly call a “rowing weekend”. Had outings on both Saturday and Sunday, and funnily enough I’m actually getting up earlier on weekends than on weekdays! (well, my lab is only a 10 min bike ride from where I’m living now, so I can afford to take things easy while getting ready for work – eg I can have my breakfast calmly whilst looking outside and admiring the wildlife that seems to be attracted by the lovely garden! (can’t blame them, though, I’m also attracted by it!))

Anyway, I’m drifting from my original topic at an alarming rate (I normally notice that when I have to close two separate sets of brackets… πŸ˜‰ ), let’s get back into what I had initially planned, OK?

Back to the rowing… on Saturday it was absolutely terrible. I filled in for an absence on a novice men’s crew and we took a 4+ out – we actually spent more time in the bank trying to set ourselves free from the overhanging tree branches, since the wind was continuously blowing us against one of the banks (the Stour runs to the East, and sadly that day the wind was blowing from NW… and quite strongly as well!).

This photo is quite deceiving – it does look calm and perhaps a bit bucolic, but have a look at the rippling on the river’s surface: it was *really* windy!!

So, yes, we did 3k and called it a day (outch). During the afternoon we had the aforementioned capsize drill at the pool and I came back home feeling a bit tired and all (definitely not due to physical exertion, as I had done absolutely nothing that day! But my sleeping levels were quite low as the day before I had been watching Silent Witness and the episode in question was actually quite thrilling πŸ™‚ ).

This morning I had to get up at 0600 and we arrived at the boathouse with the day just breaking. Much nicer than the day before, not only was the wind noticeably milder but it was also blowing from the west – it was a bit tougher on the way back but much, much better than being stuck in those tree branches!! πŸ™‚ Ended up taking the very same single in which I capsized the day before out for a 10k outing – quite nice, indeed, even though I still miss “my” old Aylings (bah, I know it isn’t mine, but I’ve developed a bit of an affection for it and I tend to be a bit overprotective when someone else is using it… πŸ˜› ).

And here’s a proper pict of UKent RC’s blades. I like the design! πŸ™‚

OK, I think this basically sums up my weekend: plenty of rowing! I think I’m probably compensating in advance for next weekend, given that a pile of reports to mark is looming ahead!…. πŸ˜›

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