The Club's Results
Lent Term 2012
2nd men's VIII
6th, 2nd M2
We went into this race with 2 subs, neither of whom had rowed sweep for a while, including our stroke man, who admitted to not feeling very well, and a cox who had only been with this crew for 1 outing before. The ice had also limited training for the days before the race, so there were plenty of reasons to be apprehensive.
We went quite well off the start, settling to our target rate of 32 and keeping things composed and committed. Towards the middle of the race some rush crept in and power dropped off. However, we picked it up again as we approached the end.
We came sixth overall and the second M2, 8 seconds behind Christ's. (It should however be noted that Caius were not racing.)
Despite the shortened course, I think this served as useful race experience. We need to work on keeping the composure and commitment throughout the race, and seeing how much higher we can push the rate.
Beat Wolfson II easily
This crew still had not spent much time on the water together, and we knew that it was going to be very windy. We got a taste of just how challenging it was going to be when spinning before the race and trying to get lined up at the start. We were racing on the meadowside station which in principle offered some shelter, but also meant that we had to watch out for the shallow water near the bank.
From the start of the race, there seemed to be a lot of water going everywhere, and this remained the case throughout the race. Each stroke was a matter of trying to get the end of the blade into the river and keep it there until the finish, with little attention to spare for what it was actually doing there.
However, it seems that we were more successful at this on average than Wolfson II, and so we steadily gained on them and were comfortably ahead by the railway bridge. Nonetheless, merely rowing to the finish line while avoiding any boat-stopping incidents was still far from a trivial matter.
I think our cox Ellie deserves a special mention for getting the boat pointed in the correct direction at the start and keeping us going along the course without any encounters with the bank, despite the awful conditions.
Beat Trinity Hall II by 3 lengths
For this race, the conditions seemed to be slightly better than in the first one, though still far from ideal, and we were on the more exposed towpath side this time.
This time the other crew was Trinity Hall II, and they gained on us off the start. However, once we had settled into as much of a rhythm as was possible given the not altogether flat surface of the river, it did not take us long to move back up on them and overtake, and we were 3 lengths up by the finish line.
This might suggest that we have a fair bit to gain for bumps by getting our start (which we had only had one previous outing practising) more coordinated, together and confident.
Lost to Downing II by 2 lengths
We knew Downing II were likely to be fast, so this was going to be a challenging race, and they will be chasing us in bumps, so it was especially significant.
We were on the towpath side again with conditions still very windy.
Downing II moved away from us off the start, and then continued to gain ground throughout the race, finishing 2 lengths up on us.
However, I think that we gave a very committed row, and made them fight for it. I did feel that we were probably letting the worst of the conditions affect us more than was necessary, and not properly taking advantage of lulls to get in some higher quality rowing. Hopefully, conditions will be much more pleasant for Bumps, but we have to be prepared to cope with whatever each day brings - and there is no guarantee that it will not be like today.
How well we do in Bumps will depend on how well we are able to take advantage of the final week of training: there is a lot that we can do to neaten up our rowing and improve the efficiency. This will give us more distance with every stroke. Combine this with a bit more work on the start and there is no reason not to be very hopeful about Bumps.
Bumped by Downing II
We knew that the crews ahead of and behind us were fast, but we also knew that we had really improved as a crew even in the past week.
We held Downing II to station off the start, though it was not quite as composed as the practice ones we did on the way down. However, they then began to close on us and caught us on the Gut.
A disappointing result, but I think we gave a really committed row. We need to go into tomorrow confident (but not complacent) and not afraid to try to bump Downing II back over the length of the course.
If we were in any doubt as to the importance of today, the exuberance of our bow-man's 'drop and roll' getting the boat out washed away that uncertainty. The row down was probably our best rowing all term, and our practice starts were undeniably rapid (they have to be when Caius are nearby). However, I remain unconvinced that rowing the whole reach at race pace was necessarily the best of plans...
Our real race was a bit too 'Taken' - aggressive, panicky and too short. Perhaps we should have a team viewing of 'The Watchmen' before our next race, so we can be long, boring and painful. Indeed I do think shortness is a problem of the crew as a whole (I'm talking about length, not bow pair), which ought to be improved upon. So yeah, they hit us in the gut. Sub-optimal.
"Hit by Downing II. Pulled in on the inside of grassy. #bumped #FaTproblems"
Anyway, to quote arguably the best rowing coach of all time: "Yeah, but they have to go back to Downing"
Disappointing result to be bumped on the first day, however I felt that the rowing was committed and particularly strong on the way up. Downing were clearly always going to be a fast crew, and unfortunately off the start we panicked slightly and never quite had the opportunity to settle.
We will definitely have that opportunity on Thursday. Being chased by a slower crew and with a bit more calm at the start (though I am going to be inventing ever more inventive commando rolls for getting the boat out) we can settle into a steady state rhythm, settle down and give Downing a run for their money over the entire length of the course.
A long, committed race. Well done keeping composure through the course and some great lines from Ellie. So you might have been helped a bit by Jesus' exploratory lines Jesus behind you, but you should be proud of a strong row. More of the same tomorrow - go for Caius!
Off the start we remained roughly on station with the crews around us. At about First Post Corner, Jesus II were closing a bit on us and apparently they got to within a length of us. However, they then took a very poor line around Grassy Corner (narrowly escaping the outside of the corner) and another poor line around Ditton, while Ellie steered us very tightly around the corners, giving us a bit more breathing space, and we rowed over about on station with them.
The rowing felt more confident and in control today, and we did well to keep calm throughout. However, our cover was not as good as it has been, so we have room to improve that and gain boat speed through efficiency.
Tomorrow we again have Jesus II chasing us. After today we can be very confident, but we mustn't be complacent. They will be looking to go harder off the start and take tighter lines around the corners, which may put us under more pressure. We need to stay in control but push out the cover more, and see if we can catch Caius II.
Josh's miserably failed attempt to limbo under the boat (it's not like he doesn't start close enough to the ground) epitomised a low-key day of racing. In a very deliberate, pre-meditated reversal of day 1, we decided to paddle down to the start like absolute spanners and save our decent rowing for the actual race. Smart decision lads.
Fear was struck into us however, when while marshalling we observed about half of the women's crews returning with fewer than 9 people in the boat. Not knowing what women-eating dangers lay in the waters ahead, we proceeded cautiously, being careful not to row too fast, for fear of losing our cox.
Our start was a bit scrappy, but adequate. Jesus II behind us closed slightly, getting a probably optimistic whistle from their bank party. Credit must go to Ellie for not letting her curiosity get the better of her, as the Jesus cox decided to explore the previously unchartered waters of grassy and ditton corners. So we rowed over without too much drama, staying on station pretty much the entire way. Credit should also go to the whole crew for accurately judging the level of exertion of their opposite man in the Jesus boat, and matching (without exceeding) it.
Having now mapped out the entire Cam (in a collaborative venture with Lolcatz and the Newnham garden party) we can expect Jesus to take more of a 'racing' line tomorrow: "Make straight the way of the Lord" (John 1:23). We must be prepared for this, and not panic if the gap is slightly less comfortable.
I feel that we did not row as well in the race today as on previous days. Our practice starts had been good but our actual start was not so good. Jesus II were evidently having a big push to try to catch us early and they did manage to get quite close. I think we reacted with panic and shortening up, and never really settled into a proper rhythm or got much cover. Nonetheless, we did hold them off until they faded around Grassy (as well as taking another interesting 'line'). We had a better patch of rowing on the Plough Reach when we moved away from them and they were then bumped by LMBC II. We then rowed rather messily to the finish.
What was encouraging about today is that despite Jesus II getting a lot closer behind us this time we stayed committed and held on, and when we had an off stroke we managed to recover and get on with the next one.
Tomorrow we really need to focus on staying calm, keeping the focus in our boat, keeping the length in the stroke and pushing out the cover, as LMBC II are not going to give us any slack. We need to make sure we finish on a high with no regrets.
To continue the theme of the week, our race was reflected by Josh's boathouse showpiece, this being a very long and tedious way of achieving what should have been a fairly easy task. I hate to say I told you so, but for some reason we once again decided to row down to the start quite well, storing up all our bad rowing for the race. When will we learn?
In comparison to our very tidy practice start, our actual one was about as wild as Silvio Berlusconi's leaving party. Thankfully no-one caught crabs though (you can, and indeed we did, make a full recovery from mini-crabs.) With Jesus keeping a close eye on us, it would probably have been wise to stop this nonsense and behave ourselves, but we carried on regardless.
Behind us, we were expecting Jesus to be caught fairly quickly by LMBC, which would have given us a bit of breathing space. However, the sneaky Jesuans realised this too, and decided to implement a very short race plan. Coupled with our very short strokes, this led to Jesus getting within a canvas of our stern around first post. We pulled away with a push at grassy, as Jesus went wide again then seemed to blow up, allowing John's to bump them around the Plough. We laboured to the line with no pressure from Sidney behind, and no realistic expectation of catching Caius ahead.
Job done today, but a big improvement needed for tomorrow.
Several (at least 2) mini-crabs near the start let Jesus get closer than they should have, but we held them off until Maggie bumped them. We didn't row well, but we did row over.
Bumped by LMBC II
It's often noted that final day race reports rarely get written. It's because we're too busy celebrating/commiserating. A good week's racing lads; shame about today's result though.
Sent from my iPub.
We knew that we had a rather fast LMBC II crew behind us, and that we needed to really increase the quality of rowing from the previous day.
Our start was still rather messy, and LMBC II quite quickly got within a length of us. They then continued to close on us, albeit more gradually. In the Gut as they got very close, we had some strong pushes that picked up the boat speed and held them off for a bit longer; however, we ended up getting bumped just as we were approaching Grassy Corner.
Our quality of rowing was better than yesterday but probably still not as good as on Thursday. I do feel that we were persistently tidier in the practice starts and bursts on the way down than in the actual races, so calmness is definitely something that we can work on.
Nevertheless, I think that we can be pleased with our effort and commitment, and we probably did as well as we could from our starting position in Bumps. It should be remembered that the first outing we had in the actual Bumps crew was just before Pembroke Regatta, and we did really bring things together in the 10 days between then and the start of Bumps.
323rd overall; 28th in Novice category; Halladay position 94
Marshalling was a very interesting experience. About 10 stroked after pushing off people started complaining about their seats, and we discovered I'd put all 8 of them on the wrong way round, so whilst attempting to row to marshalling we tried to put them the right way around, which wasn't helped by the fact half of the crew didn't know how to take a seat off, only 6 of us were sucessful. Our attempts at marshalling were further handicapped by Josh's weak bladder meaning bow pair wern't always available to take strokes, and the fact a start mashall misinformed us about whether to cross the river resulting in us being on the wrong side. Ellie dealt admirably with all the chaos and somehow got us to the start line in the correct position.
So anyway, we row down towards the start and the race is on, we find outselves (despite the start order) being chased by Christ's II with Clare II behind them. After an initial burst we settle to rate 31, which we kept consistantly through out the whole race.
About 3 or 4 minutes in we find ourselves overtaking somone, this was an entirely novel concept to me, and was most enjoyable, we gained some speed pushing into, and then off the crew. About 4 minutes later the same thing happens again and we overtake another crew.
All this while christs have been gainingly slowly but steadily on us, they're still a comfortable distance away, however either they seem to take the speed up or we lose some speed, as they start gaining on us more rapidly, we go for a push to keep them off, and find ourselves overtaking another crew. Christs are gaining on us considerably now, and we end up with us and Christs sandwiching the other boat, and rowing 3 abreast.
Christs pull ahead and we continue overtaking this crew, however our boats drift closer together, and we find our blades overlapping, for a few strokes we are beatuifully in time with the other crew, us recovering as they drive, and our blades dance gracefully around eachother without colliding. However the inevitable blade clash happens, and I catch an overhead crab.
With JSBs assistance I recover within a few strokes, and we continue rowing through the other crew. However Clare who untill this point were a very comfortable distance behind have taking the opertunity to considrably close the gap.
Around this time the cox box has run out of batteries, and ellie is limited to shouting at the top of her lungs for stern 4 to hear. Around now I'm also feeling very tired and I have no indication of how long we've been rowing for due to the timer having died, and not knowing any of the tideway landmarks. I begin to worry about how much longer we have to row.
However in a couple of minutes we realise we're not far off the finish, and have a big push for the end. Clare have taken a bit more distance out of us, but we fight to keep them away and cross the line still ahead of them.
Our result wasn't excelent, and our race could have done with one fewer crab, and about twice as much cox box, however I feel we had a good row together (Though we did lose some speed in the third third as we got tired I'd say). I found my first experience on the tideway very exciting and enjoyable, and would say it was worth getting up at 4:45 for.
Full 2nd men's VIII results archive