Amidst forecasts of high winds and snow for the 2017 Trial Eights races, the 18 squad members were out on the river, pounding in more kilometres of race preparation in their crews. Thanks to the hospitality of Leander and local residents, both CULRC and CUWBC athletes were able to spend the weekend in Henley, acclimatising to the milieu of racing in terms of water work, mental preparation and the all-important weight management. Patience with the weather was contrasted with desire to run through a mock boat race, and a practice race was run on Saturday, in case of the forecast high winds for Sunday prohibiting racing. ‘Legs’, with president Zenas Van Veldhoven in the 7 seat, was set against ‘Lower Backs’, which contained 6 returners from the 2016-17 squad. Expectations for a hard-fought contest were exceeded when ‘Legs’, predominantly composed of newcomers, jetted out of the blocks and set a strong rhythm, grinding out a 1 length lead 750m into the race. Although both crews struck out a hard pace down the course in remarkably calm conditions, ‘Legs’ edged out more distance to be almost 2 lengths ahead on the approach to Temple Island, and a twilight surge from ‘Lower Backs’ made little dent on the gap, ending with victory for ‘Legs’ by 2 lengths. Thanks go to Leander, our hosts and coaching and support team who stepped into umpiring duties to ensure racing went ahead. This crucial experience is always formative in approaching the boat race with confidence and mental composure, and the trials of splitting the squad into two competitive crews bonded the athletes closer together with certainty that competition for seats is as tough and exciting as ever. Join us on the bank on 18th March to watch us take on OULRC, with CUWBC lightweights racing OUWBC Lightweights earlier on the same day.