British Raft Race Series – Llandysul 2014

It was that time of year again, when the few, the brave, the Oarsome took to the water (fewer than usual, but not few enough to give the opposition a chance). The weekend started in classic Oarsome style with a dress rehearsal of everyone’s favourite international consumption rules in Cardiff on the Friday night.

The team this year was a scratch group of heroes; Captain Oarsome, beard of justice and little Tid led a ruthlessly efficient team of mercenaries that included; handsome Jo, Mr Sam Matthews and Pete ‘earth worm Jim’ Macey – none of whom had a stitch of experience between them, but luckily had packed  bags of beginners luck.

Let the rafting begin….

No sooner were the team assemble and kitted up than the first event started – the Sprint setup this year being on flat water did not play to Team Oarsome’s ‘go with the flow’ team ethos, meaning that they started the weekend in the traditional ‘leading from the rear’ fashion, taking two 3rd places and a resounding 2nd spot (in a 3 rounds race which featured 3 rafts).

Next came a free for all massacre, where once again the team wrestled defeat from the very jaws of victory due to some spectacular, though not unexpected, navigational errors and an impromptu swimming lesson by little Tid and the beard of justice.

Enduring the wacky

After a through debrief back at HQ involving a cuppa soup and meat based pastry products it was back to battle in the enduro, this year dubbed ‘’the wacky races’. This race has always been a surprising strength of the team through the years, with many a position gained and consolidated. This year was no different, the team led by veterans and filled out with rafting virgins (in a break from the norm) completely screwed the practice run and then 100% nailed the actual race.

Buoyed by their rousing performance in the wackey races Team Oarsome stormed back onto the water and promptly succeeded in getting the perfect lane draw in the head 3 head (that’s right people 3 rafts in the river at the same time battling it out in a testosterone fuelled frenzy of a race to the finish line). By the simple expedient of not really knowing/caring where the team wanted to line up the decision was made for them. Team Oarsome had, through cunning tactics (and maybe hangovers), managed to expend almost no energy in the early rounds and were as a result coming to the fore. So like a leviathan waking form the deep, Oarsome charged past a rival team straight from the line and then proceeded to use a (definitely) planned rafting manoeuvre on the leading team, alas the river was not wide enough for the amount of ego contained on, the reborn, raft argo that carried Team Oarsome.

Flushed with their second place in the first heat, the ever ready team hurried to repeat their performance in the second and final round, but due to yet another navigational oversight by the beard of justice thinking he was steering them to an inevitable victory in some clear water, the other idiotic teams tried to steal a win. The legion of Oarsome found themselves becalmed in still water just long enough for the other teams to turn, laugh and then extend their lead. However Team Oarsome’s effort was not all in vain, as they came away with a consistent 6th place finish.

Thus concludes the rafting for the first day of combat and at the end of play your very own Team Oarsome had clawed their way up to a commanding 6th place overall, which lest we not forget was following a dominant 5th place in the wacky races over even the mighty team Palm (no one was more surprised than us).

P.A.R.T…Why…………because we’re Oarsome

And so to the part of the weekend that is the perpetual domain of the brave and ever ready heroes of Oarsome, the party. This year however in a shock upset Oarsome seeded victory of the party to ‘Escape water sports’ on an injury count which included a badly bitten nipple.

During the night one of our team member became too Oarsome and transcended this plain – Macey is now in Odin’s hall until called upon again in a time of need, so the rest of the team continued undeterred into the smoke of battle banners flying and drummers drumming.

Dawn of Llandysul……..the battle to the end

The next morning dawned and was yet again unseasonably bright and clear, with all involved quivering with anticipation for the slalom to come and the culmination of another great event.

However dear readers, despite a truly Herculean performance, which included a double up-stream gate combo and only a single highly technical gate (again not our strong point) missed on each of the two slalom runs, the engine of destructive beauty known as Team Oarsome was unable to avoid the rocks long enough to obtain a higher spot than 8th.

So, in conclusion after a weak start, strong middle and ground breaking, yet inadequate ending Team Oarsome took a well-deserved share of 7th place with red rose rafting.

Its not over yet

The excitement was, however, not over. At the prize giving our very own Little Tid was awarded the prestigious ‘turning heads’ award. The clue as to the reason behind her award is in the name and nobody would dare disagree. Well done Tid, and thank you British Rafting for bestowing this accolade upon us

So until next time, Smoke us a skipper, we’ll be back for breakfast.