The Club's Results
Lent Bumps 2001
4th men's VIII
Coxed by: Chris Pedder
Bumped Queens' III
Having experienced a distustingly greasy and lukewarm fry-up in St.John's cafeteria along with our cox, followed by some unneccessarily dull maths lectures, I strolled down to the boathouse, meeting our six man Peter Skorov along the way. As we walked along the bank past the boathouses, we were inspired by the sight of Ian (the boatman) hoisting the flag, which somehow waved resplendently in the grey miserableness of the afternoon weather.
We progressed up the stairs to be informed by Guy (somewhat less than resplendent in his lemon jumper) that we were exactly 8 minutes late, but since this meant we were 27 minutes early, it didn't really matter. The changing room was alive with the smell of mouldy kit, but more importantly, with the pre-race atmosphere of "we're going to win".
After a comprehensive warm-up/stretching session, and a crew chat with our coach Kirsten, and also Guy and Neil the lower boats captains, we concluded that although we would probably bump them fairly early, we should focus and make sure we could respond to any outcome.
So we got the boat out, and did a nice little fours warm up
(the traditional call of "next stroke, stern four out, bow four in" was as unsuccessful as always). The row down felt very nice (the boat was well sat) and also the practise start we did was very smooth and fast. We continued on, looking as hard as possible to scare the other crews past the "little" bridge, spinning, and banking at our station.
The four minute gun was surprisingly loud, but at least their timing was accurate, and we prepared ourselves, keeping calm, and making sure all equipment was working. On the one-minute gun we removed our excess kit, and with ten seconds left we were assembled nicely at frontstops looking efficient and organised.
Our start was pretty good, probably about 9/10 (where 10 is the best one we've done) and we felt that we'd really gotten good value out of it. Christ's III (who were chasing us) started well also, but there was still a noticeable shift away from them. Queen's III (who were our target) were as diabolical as expected, and it didn't take long before the whistle's could be heard from the bank. In total, we took about 35 strokes to catch them (more than John Earl's prediction of "between 6 and 10"). However, the most interesting part came when there was a little confusion about what to do after the bump. The cox-box was quiet, and the first bow four knew about it was when Queens shouted "oi! stop! you've bumped us already!!".
We knew we had to hold it up, but Christ's III were not particularly far behind (we had increased the distance on them, but post-bump, they cam up pretty fast) and all sorts of calls were being shouted, which resulted in us rowing on to early and too fast. Queen's III did a similar manoeuvre (or at least, couldn't get out of the way of ours) and suddenly there was a mighty cracking sound, as the bow of our newest boat Peter Brandt had a hearty meeting with the bank. The damage was quite substantial, but Queen's III's predicament was by far the funnier: their bow had rammed clean through a rotten tree stump, and their boat was sitting bow-up, stern in the water, with the bow jammed through a hefty looking piece of wood. A real Kodak moment.
The damage turned out to be quite bad, and bow pair had to walk back carrying their blades, while stern six, complete with greenery-based-wreaths, rowed home.
Rowing wise, very very good. But I think we may have to use a different boat tomorrow....
We knew that it would be a Herculean task to bump, but nevertheless as we sat in our battered longboat, we felt as filled by the spirit of Mars as any son of Priam. And lo! as the mighty cannon roared, our flashing blades sliced through the water, reflecting the suns crepuscular rays. Behind us, Queens' III were splattering like frightened ducklings, but we paid no heed to their flounderings. We sped on in relentless pursuit of Caius III - the day would surely be ours!
But cruel Poseidon, capricious to the last, had placed a still more inviting prey avast of Gonville's barbarian horde. For there, marooned mid-stream were Kings second boat, a crew about as coordinated as an epileptic giraffe on an ice rink. Kings by name, but Knaves by nature. Caius played the Ace and the shipwrecked crew were bumped.
O tempora! O mores! Now the treacherous Fates had not only snatched victory from our grasp, but ambushed us with the Kings landlubbers - drifting perpendicular to the stream. Our dilemma was that of Scylla and Charybdis - should we risk ignominy by slicing Kings in twain, or face the humiliation of being bumped by our erstwhile victims. But the Queens' crew proved more hospitable than wretched Antinous, for they easied momentarily while Kings pulled in.
We rowed over and honour was satisfied - but how much greater honour would there have been, had the Marxists forsaken their doctrine of lethargy. Truly, never more than today did they demonstrate their belief that property is theft, for the victory we owned was stolen from us by the most inept display ever ventured on the Cam. We will be avenged.
For the Fourth VIII, the best news of the day was undoubtedly the restoration of our boat, Peter Brandt, after the bow trouble of the day before (for more information, read the report of Tuesday's events!). We set out relaxed and confident.
We were placed third in the division. Ahead were Kings II followed by Caius III. Behind were Queens III. Queens did not concern us because we had bumped them easily the previous day, although they did make a feeble attempt to look menacing. Kings II did concern us, not because they were fast but because they were slow. It was clear that although we were sure we would be able to catch Caius over the full course, they were more than able to catch Kings early on. If Caius bumped Kings before we could bump them, we would have to row over. Who would make the first bump, us on Caius or Caius on Kings? Determinations were bared.
The cannon fired and the race began. Draw, wind, surge...all strokes went cleanly. A good solid start followed by a big push. Sirens and whistles were going all around, but alas, this was down to the ineptitude of the erstwhile wooden-spoon-meisters Kings II. Sure enough, they had guffed up their start and Caius had hit them effortlessly. The good news was that we had closed significantly on Caius III (and would easily have hit them had Kings not been total dorkburgers) and the other good news was that we had advanced on Queens III. Chris the cox (who's blue-and-gold jester's hat was on the way to Davey Jones' locker by this stage) called for a new race and it was down to us to hold off Queen's for the remainder of the race. We did this fairly comfortably, and there was a good distance between the crews at the finish, although to be fair, Queen's comfortably avoided being bumped themselves.
Tomorrow it's our turn to take a shot on Kings. Unless we decide to back it down from the start, we should catch them within about 30 strokes. We therefore encourage them to heed the advice on the backs of our T-shirts...
Bumped King's II
The course of the fourth boat is beset on all sides by the ineptitude of Queens' III behind and the travesty of King's II ahead. Blessed are we, who in the name of charity and good will put them out of their misery and cast them into everlasting darkness, for we are TRULY our college's keepers and the finders of lost hats. And we will bump down with GREAT VENGEANCE and FURIOUS ANGER those who would attempt to ROW OVER and DESTROY our chance of getting blades. And you will know our name is 1ST AND 3RD when we lay our vengeance upon thee!
<gunshot, rowing, bump>
Gunnar's just disappointed because there are no whales in the Cam for him to hunt, and there isn't enough snow for him to go Nordic skiing on the toe-path.
SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE SINGULAR CASE OF THE FORTY STROKE BUMP.
It had been a dull week in London, with only reports in the Times of First and Third Trinity's successes in the Lents staving off ennui at 221b Baker Street. During tea on the 28th I ventured to suggest to Holmes that a day trip to Cambridge would enliven our routine and enable us to observe our heroes in the flesh.
So it was that Thursday found us shivering on the banks of the Cam, eagerly awaiting the starting cannon. Snowflakes were floating down in the gentle breeze.
"I anticipate a thrilling race, Holmes," I commented, "one doesn't often see a fourth boat chase a second."
"Ah, but Watson - I see you haven't been observing as carefully as I - those are purple blades. That means Trinity are chasing Kings; I deduce therefore that - " he was cut short by the reverberating boom of the cannon.
Two was halfway through aligning the boat, and failed to participate in the first draw stoke. Despite this, Trinity were soon accelerating cleanly. But Kings seemed to be struggling. I asked my companion what could be the problem.
"You will no doubt have noticed the controlled way that First and Third took their draw strokes. Kings however panicked and ripped their blades through the water - contributing little to the boat speed. An elementary error, common amongst the less well drilled crews, my dear Watson."
But as we broke into a jog, I was not satisfied. Clutching my hat with one hand I pointed with the other:
"But Holmes! Why haven't Kings settled into a rhythm? Each man seems to be rowing as an individual."
Holmes did not answer at first. His brow was furrowed with concentration.
"I say! you're right, Watson. Even a Kings boat shouldn't be this bad. I detect a mystery waiting to be solved.... Just look at how short their strokes are - contrast with the technically strong rowing of their pursuers."
As the boats came into the first corner it was clear the a bump was imminent. Whilst I strained to note every catch, Holmes was engrossed in his bumps programme.
"Is the stoke length important Holmes?" I queried, "surely if they were taken more rapidly...?"
"Oh... ahm... yes, very. I wrote a short monograph on the subject in my younger days, which... erm... you may care to look up." replied my confederate. His thoughts seemed to be elsewhere. I was aghast that he should have lost interest in watching our favourite boat, fourth Trinity, as Kings finally acknowledged the bump, barely forty strokes from the start.
"Bump!" I exclaimed, my voice squeaking embarrasingly, "Ra Ra First and Third!"
"Ra indeed Watson, but I believe there may be more to this case than meets the eye. As you were cheering our blue and gold friends, it occurred to me that yesterday Caius III only escaped the Trinity juggernaught by virtue of Kings conscipuously poor rowing" countered Holmes, striding towards the birthed Kings boat. Then, bold as a barbary ape, he addressed the Kings cox:
"Weak coxing Mr. Taylor, yet I fancy you performed better today than yesterday. If I am not mistaken, your perpendicular antics were a purposeful rouse to thwart Trinity in their quest for blades. I deduce that you pretended to be abysmal all term in order to force Trinity to row over yesterday, and then intended to pick up the form today. Is this not so?"
"Curse you! Our duplicity is exposed at the final stroke." retorted the Kings cox.
"But you reckoned without Queens' gentlemanly conduct, and the fact that when a crew pretends to be dire for so long it soon becomes the thing it sought to mimic. Well done First and Third!"
"Brilliant!" cried I.
"Elementary" said he.
Full May Bumps Lent Term 2001 results
Full 4th men's VIII Lent Term 2001 results
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