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Jo rowing her half marathon at Ilkley Bandstand

Jo rowing her half marathon at Ilkley Bandstand

You don’t have to read much of this blog to know that my relationship with the erg is less love-hate and more hate-hate. I erg only because I have to. Which is why when I heard about Jo Moseley’s rowing machine challenge I was beyond impressed.

Jo’s mum died of cancer (lymphoma) on 21st December 2013, and her dad has also suffered from cancer. Both received invaluable help from the wonderful Macmillan nurses. So Jo, who’s about to turn 50, was amongst the many who wanted to do something to thank Macmillan for their help. Continue Reading »

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BL Awards Highly Commended Blog Badge foil copy

We’ve all entered races we knew we had no chance of winning. When you find yourself against a boat made up of people half your age and twice your height, when you’re in a scratch crew that can’t even begin to sit the boat, when your opponents steam past in the warm-up looking slick and strong… All you can do is dig deep and row your heart out, hoping that at least you can console yourself with aching legs and the knowledge you tried your hardest. Continue Reading »

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So, I’ve covered the juniors and the women, and now it’s time for the men. I don’t know about you, but when it comes to Christmas shopping I find the men in my life impossible to buy for. Craft fairs and cute little local shops get the girls sorted by mid-November, but however good my intentions there’s always a last-minute dash to find something for the guys.

Happily, if the man in your life happens to be a rower that makes the whole thing easier. Here are five great gifts for the male rower in your life.

Christmas gifts for male rowers Continue Reading »

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There’s just under a fortnight until Christmas now, and I am starting to get a bit twitchy about my abject failure to get my Christmas shopping done. If you’re in the same boat and need something for a rower (or indeed a cox or coach) in your life, or if you just need some cheering up yourself, you’ll love this giveaway, generously donated by Rowperfect.

Prizes Continue Reading »

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I hope you don’t think it’s sexist to post different gift guides for male and female rowers, but our approach to kit and caboodle – at my club at least – does seem to be quite different. I’ve never, for example, seen a woman rower stripping down to her knickers to row because she’d forgotten her kit. And I’m fairly certain none of the men carry their stuff down to the river in an adorable fabric handbag (admittedly women rowers at other clubs don’t either, but hey).

Of course, guys, if you want to buy anything from this list for yourselves, go right ahead and kit yourselves out (especially if the alternative is rowing in your pants). I will have a gift guide just for you coming soon, though (and of course have already posted a gift guide for young rowers).

Untitled design Continue Reading »

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With the festive thang still going strong chez Girl on the River, I have more Christmas goodies for you! This time it’s a Crewroom beanie worth £12, and there are two up for grabs so you have even more chance of winning.

Crewroom beanie men cropped


I’m a big fan of the hat for winter rowing (and coxing, naturally). As someone who feels the cold, I’m not one of these people who can saunter about on a cold morning clad only in a thin layer of lycra. Although I’m reliably informed that it’s not true that you lose 90% of your body heat through your head, nevertheless the beauty of a hat is it allows you to wear fewer layers, so you don’t end up looking like the Michelin man, which is always a good thing.

These beanies are made of a nice, light fabric which (and I haven’t river-tested them, but have felt them) would be a lot lighter and more breathable than the usual wool or acrylic.

Crewroom beanie woman cropped

So, how do you get your hands on one of these beanies? As before, follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. You have a choice of ways to enter and can do any or all of them (you get more entries, the more things you do).  What are you waiting for?

Open to UK and ROI residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

P.S. I have not been paid for this post, in case anyone’s wondering, but the hats have been kindly donated by Crewroom.

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Whey-Better-Cookies-&-Cream-750g (1)

Girl on the River is in a pretty festive mood this year. The first gift guide is already up on the blog, I’m planning my Christmas video (oh yeah – watch out Band Aid) and I’ve even done some Christmas baking. So it’s definitely time to start giving and receiving. In the first of my Christmas giveaways, I’m delighted to say that Bio-Synergy, who do a fantastic range of supplements and sports nutrition products (including the ActiVeman supplements I reviewed a few months back), have offered a generous tub of Whey Better – a whey protein isolate powder –  in the highly popular cookies and cream flavour.

Whey Better is a seriously classy product. Not all protein powders are created equal, but this is one of the best. It was voted the No.1 most powerful whey protein isolate powder by Men’s Health, and it packs a huge punch in protein terms, with around 90g protein per 100g (ie a lot).

Excellent as a pre- or post-workout shake, it would be perfect for recovery after a tough erg session or a long outing on the river. It’s not just good for rowers, though: anyone doing weights will love it (and bodybuilders will approve of the high protein/low fat element), as will runners, triathletes – anyone, in short, who’s active.

To win a 750g tub of Whey Better worth £38.99, you need to follow the Rafflecopter instructions below. You can enter once by commenting on the blog post below (saying why you’d like to win this product) and you can get yourself several more entries with various Twitter options. What are you waiting for?

Please note that this giveaway is only open to people living in the UK and ROI.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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If you have a young rower in your life, you may be scratching your head over what to get them for Christmas. Kids, teenagers and young adults are tricky to buy for, but I bring good tidings of great joy. You no longer have to fall back on iTunes vouchers. Here’s my definitive guide to what to buy your young (or young-at-heart) rower this Christmas.



1. Roman centurion all-in-one, from Godfrey Sports, £55

OK, stay with me here. It may be that your youngster would run a mile from this, but if your teenager is flamboyant by nature (and let’s face it, lots of them are), then this could be just the ticket. I know one young rower who is apt to wear his at every possible opportunity, whether appropriate or not (YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE! And no, my kitchen was not on the appropriate side of the line.) As many of you know, I have one of Godfrey’s über-fabulous leopard-print all-in-ones and it’s beautifully made and cut. Highly recommended.

2. Eat, sleep, row, repeat T-shirt, from Rock The Boat, available in fluorescent orange or pink, £16

Eat, sleep, row, repeat pretty much sums up every rowing camp your young rower will ever go on (plus much of their life in between, maybe with a bit of homework thrown in). I love the fluoro colour ways – great design.

3. Muscle recovery balm, from Sporting Balms, three sizes available, from £6.75

Anyone who rows gets sore muscles – fact. This heavenly-smelling balm – like a solid massage oil – has arnica and St. John’s Wort in the blend to help ease the pain, and is scented with lavender, rosemary and patchouli. I have a pot of it and it has made the aftermath of those first, painful erg sessions of the season much more bearable.

4. Bowside/strokeside socks, from Rock The Boat, sizes M to XL, £6

You’d be amazed how many people can forget which is which, even after years of rowing, so save your youngster from this embarrassment with socks that leave them in no doubt (assuming, that is, they put them on the right feet in the first place). If they’re coxing, be sure to remind them to put them on the opposite feet!

5. Row hard or go home silicone wristband, from Square Blades, in black, £2.99

This says it all, really, and will appeal to their competitive streak. (They don’t have one? Are you sure they’re a rower?) A nice little stocking filler for anyone who moans about the lazy arse in the boat who doesn’t pull their weight.

So there you are. Christmas sorted. You’re welcome.


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So with Evesham Head cancelled, I was feeling a little bereft. Happily Evesham wasn’t the only rowing jaunt that we’d lined up for the weekend. Our women’s squad is on the look-out for a fabulous new eight; our existing Janousek is getting on a bit and is distinctly on the heavy side. We’ve been trying out various boats for size – a Hudson here, a Stampfli there, and this weekend it was time to try a newer, lighter Janousek. Llandaff Rowing Club has one, and had kindly invited us to come and see if we liked it.

So off we trooped to Llandaff. I’ve never been to another club outside a regatta or a head, and it was fascinating to see what it was like in Real Life. Llandaff is smaller and quieter than Monmouth, and at first sight appears to have a rather fabulous infinity pool in front of it (on closer inspection it turned out to be a pretty terrifying weir).

Anyway, the point was this. Remember that moment when you were a kid and you realised that other families did things differently from yours? Their house smelled different, they ate different food, went to bed at a different time, had different rules, different jokes, different catch phrases? It was a bit disconcerting, right? Well, it was a bit like that at Llandaff.

We hadn’t been there long before I realised quite how idiosyncratic we are at Monmouth. Do members of other clubs carry their bits and pieces down to the river in a darling handbag, hand-sewn for them by a talented crewmate in a fabric to suit their personality? Er, it would seem not. Do they refer to the compartment under the seat as the wardrobe? Unlikely. When numbering off from bow, does the person at seven always shout, “Se-VEN”, Len Goodman-style? I doubt it. And does any other club make quite so much noise as we do? Definitely not.

Exclusive to Monmouth...

Exclusive to Monmouth…

Suddenly seeing our squad through the eyes of outsiders, I was unnerved and felt strangely protective of our quirks and eccentricities. I could only hope that our technique, which didn’t feel too shabby, was more conventional than the rest of our ways.

But, you know, whatever. We may be a bunch of noisy kooks, but I love my nutty Monmouth shipmates like sisters. You can’t ask for better than that, can you?

Not like other clubs...

Not like other clubs…

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Which one is you?

Which one is you?

A rummage through the Girl on the River archives unearthed an old post about health and fitness Twitter stereotypes. I thought it might be fun to run it again and to add a couple at the end to bring it up to date. Can you recognise yourself?

1. The Caveman

This tweeter is All Man (even if she’s a woman). Tweets about heavy weights, even heavier muscles and, of course, the macho food that gives strength to the ultra-ripped body posing for the profile pic. Almost certainly on some form of paleo diet, it’s steak and greens and shifting tin all the way. Raaarrrrr!

Most likely to tweet: “Totally pumped after insane weights session and triple steak dinner!! Feeling STRONG!!!!!”

Least likely to tweet: “Cupcake? Don’t mind if I do.” Continue Reading »

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