Goblin Combe, Cleeve was this year’s setting for our annual pre-season training camp, which as usual provided an opportunity to not only get our Varsity campaign underway with some quality training, but also to build team spirit, select suitable nick-names for innocent freshers (DBJ), and introduce some new crew-date rules. Drop snake.
We arrived on Friday afternoon, unpacked an entire Tesco van of food and then headed out to stretch our legs with an orienteering session in the local area. The evening was filled with introductions, general chatter and card games, plus an emergency trip to ASDA for missing dinner ingredients. Tinned tomatoes and navigational mishaps aside, it was a successful first day and everybody seemed to be getting along well. There was some concern for Luke Cotter’s health after he had earlier initiated a mass washing up session completely voluntarily, but probably even greater concern for the health of Miles Chandler’s car, due to the rather inconsiderately steep hill that we were staying atop.
On Saturday morning we travelled to Ashton Court for a tough interval session on hilly terrain. Everyone worked hard and it was great to hear lots of encouragement being passed around within the group. The rest of the day was filled mostly with ‘I’ve just found out I have Michaelmas collections’ revision and a hotly contested game of rounders in which Alex Howard complained approximately once per minute that his team were being unfairly treated. Saturday evening’s entertainment was the greatly anticipated Quiztofi’s Quiz, a masterpiece by the legend himself including a round devoted entirely to matching up athletes with their English Schools finishing positions some four or five years ago. With exhausted minds we all slept well and woke up full of energy for Sunday morning’s long run. Maps were studied and landmarks memorised, but with team orienteers Jamie and Aidan both absent, success was looking unlikely. Nevertheless all athletes returned in one piece to be greeted by a calf strengthening workshop from Lesley and, thanks to Laura’s injured ankle, a spotlessly clean kitchen. The evening meal at local pub, The Star, provided great entertainment and food for all. Much to Christofi’s dismay it also provided alcohol, something that a few members of the group indulged in to a greater extent than others. Despite a late night for some, everyone was up and ready to run on Monday morning with the sound of ‘Libby Libby’ still ringing in most people’s ears. Circuits and a second run were followed in the evening by perhaps the most repetitive game of ‘fish-bowl’ to have ever been played. Fortunately CSS was on hand to break up the monotony of ‘Paget’ and ‘DJ’ references with his unique and rather confusing entry, ‘do a legless pig’.
All too soon Tuesday came around and it was time for the final session – some flat grass at long last as we ventured down the hill to the village cricket pitch. Now a training camp classic, the 1/2/3/4/5/4/3/2/1 set went down a treat despite the rain. Throughout the afternoon numbers gradually decreased as amidst the packing, cleaning and eating all of the leftover food we one by one departed for the station and headed home. Thanks must go to everyone who came along and made it such a fantastic trip, but particularly to Miles for organising what can only be described as a highly enjoyable five days of miles, Miles, maids, maps, massage and merriment. We look forward to welcoming more freshers into the OUCCC community over the coming weeks. Until next time, drop bear.
Laura Fenwick, Lady Margaret Hall