The Club's Results
Lent Bumps 2011
2nd men's VIII
Coxed by: Penelope Jenkins
There have probably been closer races in the history of bumps, but a reckless attitude to alcohol at the dinners often results in the finer details not being remembered or recorded. Thus for the benefit of generations to come I will say this:
"They got pretty damn close, but didn't manage to bump"
I think this sums up not only physical facts, the speeds and distances between the boats, but also the mental attitudes of both crews.
It could be said that first day nerves and a lack of practice start led to us spannering it along with no real sense of what we were doing for the first two minutes and that we shouldn't have even let them get that close. However I think we adhered well to our race plan:
"set off, don't worry too much about rowing well and take it easy to begin with so that you have enough energy for the second half."
The start was certainly not as together as it could have been, not everyone's thoughts being focussed on the task in hand. However once we had finished solving the maths problems posed by our captain at the start of the week we noticed that Sidney had gained significantly and we decided to have a go at rowing in time. A concerted push as we came onto "THE REACH" saw us bring our boatspeed up to something approaching respectable and we began to move away. We crossed the line just outside station.
Overall I was pleased with the effort put in by everyone, although maybe Josh should skip lunch before our next race so that he doesn't have to deposit it into the river, or possibly take some sea-sickness tablets, it does get quite choppy out there.
I saw this race going round Grassy, and it looked pretty close there. Some serious balls shown to escape from overlap near Ditton, good work boys.
One of the most exciting bumps races I've been involved in *and* known about; there might have been more exciting rowovers in M1, but I was usually hiding in the bows and didn't know about them. Sidney closed fast, and at the plough I was starting to wonder whether I was going to get to take more than another 30 strokes.
However, the two key elements of the off-season training kicked in.
Firstly, my enormous cookie and Coca-Cola consumption over the summer meant that Aaron and I were taking stern pair substantially above the 60kg average weight of the rest of the crew and digging the stern into the water.
Secondly, the interminable weighted pullups our weight trainer had us doing meant I was able to pull really, really hard while finishing like a spanner.
The combination of the two meant that once Sidney got inside 1/4 of a length of us, they looked to be struggling in the wash/uber-puddle combination and we got to hold them in the scary position of only-overlapping-by-6-feet until they started going backwards again.
From the P&E onwards they gave up and let us have a bit of recovery for the last 300m of the race.
Two days rest, and then time for more of the same!
Mindful that I was yet to find a sufficiently combinatorial solution to our Captain's pre-race maths problem, I rowed to the start wearing fifteen different colours of clothing to aid my thought, none of which were gold, and quite a lot of which were red.
Emma indignantly asked me when in my life I was planning to start wearing 'actual kit'.
I replied that I didn't know who she was, nor what she wanted; that if she was looking for a navy and gold long-sleeved tech top, I could assure her that I hadn't participated in the latest kit order. But what I do have is a very particular set of kit; kit I have acquired over a very long career. Kit that makes me a nightmare for people like her.
I'm not sure why people seem so excited about this race. I was never worried. Lads.
Bumped St. Catharine's
This amuses me intensely. Lolcatz
In keeping with the meme... "Steer, I need you to steer".
Ok, someone should probably write a slightly more gracious report.
I was pleased with the start, faster and less spactastic than tuesday, Sidney didn't gain, some say we pulled away a bit. Catz were faster through the gut, I think our pressure dropped a bit when we saw Sidney go out and we weren't really expecting there to be anything to chase up ahead. The rythm felt good down past the plough, then coming around ditton I heard our bank party screaming "Catz have crashed". This seemed a good time to call for a wind and unsustainable push, we had no idea how badly they had crashed but its bumps and you have to take every chance you're given. Then we rowed past them, stuck in a bit of hedge/reeds. There was some confusion in the crew as to whether we'd actually bumped or not but their bank party throwing his bike down in anger said it all.
Not the most satisfying way to do it... [that's what she said]
Oh you boys, always getting yourselves into trouble...
Very good row from M2, which saw them putting a decent amount of distance onto Sidney from the start. An excellent turnaround from the first day and very good rowing from them.
Catz were very unfortunate, as they didn't just hit the bank they were also trapped there by an evil tree so they couldn't get out again.
An odd race to row in. I was pleased we showed that yesterday's race had been an aberration by rowing away from Sidney from the start, but down Plough reach I was starting to think about how boring this was going to get; Catz were steaming off into the distance, Caius had bumped Sidney behind and we were going to have to row the course in a big gap. Then midway round Ditton an explosion of excited noise came from the bankparty; I had no idea what they were saying, but in most circumstances it seemed like cranking the rate was a good idea (maybe Catz had crabbed?). We did this, and then rowed past the stationary Catz boat feeling rather confused. After maybe 20 more half-hearted strokes as we tried to work out whether we'd *really* bumped them, the sight of Steve Fuller throwing his bike through a hedge in disgust convinced me we could stop.
Bumped by St. Catharine's
While they may do some fairly bizarre things from time to time, Catz are fairly fast when they remember to stay on the river. Settling to 42 allowed us to make it to the Gut, possibly having closed a little on Selwyn before Catz mowed us down.
From there we watched Jesus investigating whether they could manage some manslaughter as well as spooning, after Wolfson decided to join Newnham's garden party.
--edit: It seems I caused much hilarity on the messageboards by conceding vigorously from the stroke seat. The result was obvious, and given the apparent standard of Catz' coxing I didn't want to give them any more chances to crash into things.
It left me wondering why strokes conceding isn't a more normal thing to do; we have a better view of when an 'overlap' bump happens, and can in almost all cases get our hands higher in the air than the cox.
Bumped by Caius II
After the cox box wiring snapped, we discovered that Barrell couldn't, after all, simultaneously row and pass on my commands to the bows. Grassy thus saw a couple of air strokes and possibly the beginning of a crab, which meant that Caius easily gained on us. We'll take them down next year though.
Josh, please promise me not to stroke again any time soon - I haven't felt this miserable since the beginning of Michaelmas.
Last day race reports never seem to get written. Too much celebrating/commiserating/general drinking.
We thought this would be an epic battle for the M2 headship; sadly we were wrong. In spite of an effective and aggressive race, never dropping below 40, Caius had no difficulty munching up the distance and taking us down at the exit of First Post. In spite of a prompt easy from them, Caius' bowball got ripped off on first contact with a bolt on our shell, and the remaining pointy metal thing had a second stroke to rip through Penelope's sleeve.
This made me unduly angry about the stupidity and negligence of boat manufacturers, and I unfortunately went and complained about this to Caius' bankparty. Hopefully my out-of-breath rambling was sufficiently incoherent they weren't too offended.
Thanks from me to the crew and coaches who made this a very fun fortnight, far surpassing my expectations when I was parachuted into the stroke seat 10 days previously; both in levels of entertainment and rowing.
PS To explain Penelope's cryptic comment: We talked about doing a complete swap of crew order for the row home, but decided we couldn't be bothered and ended up with Josh stroking and me trying to be a big 6 man. I was quite happy to paddle back spackily at 60% of our previous length, but Penelope seemed to find this unpleasant.
Full May Bumps Lent Term 2011 results
Full 2nd men's VIII Lent Term 2011 results
Compare this crew with all Lent Bumps crews in the archive