Report from Waterside A

Great Bedwyn to Newbury, 31 Jan 2016

A team of 17 Cambridge paddlers made their way to Wiltshire for the first of the Waterside series of marathon races. At 13 miles with an exhausting 22 portages (plus one bridge to duck and one fence to negotiate) this is the shortest in the series but often sees the biggest entries and is known as a very tough early season challenge. Despite the constant rain and epic mud the warm temperatures and tailwind made sure that everyone had a good day on the water.

Our top result came from Rodrigo Hortal and Freddie Purcell (aka "Fredrigo") who produced a great performance as a newly formed crew to finish second overall, a great start to their DW buildup and a good marker to improve on.

Also in Senior Mens K2, Ryan Taylor and Pete Vaughan battled with the portages to produce a solid mid-table performance, chased hard by Jake Elsegood & Thomas Cullen, who finished just 50s slower despite a minor portaging mishap.

Nanette Kelly & Lucia Vale had a clean and efficient race to finish 3rd in the Ladies K2 race, narrowly missing out to two strong Nottingham crews. In the same race Ali Limentani & Steffi Niekamp finished their first ever Waterside in high spirits with a very respectable time.

The mixed K2 race had a large, high quality field. Alice Clarkson & Paul Brear had a great run to finish 5th in the race, pipping Oliver North & Ceri Salisbury by just over a minute after chasing them hard for the entire race.

Maria Worrall, Richard Stagg and Dan Reynolds were mad enough to attack the race in K1s. This was Maria's first race back after the heartache of training for but ultimately missing out on DW last year. It's great to see her back racing and she'll be looking to continue working her way back to full DW fitness.

Richard showed his experience and strength to finish an impressive 15th out of 40 in a strong field of Veteran K1s. The final mention must go to Dan, who broke his rudder 15 minutes into the race but ploughed on to the finish line with his trademark good humour. Over two hours of paddling with no rudder - we salute you!