The Club's Results
Lent Bumps 2012
3rd men's VIII
Coxed by: Yining Nie
Bumped by Trinity Hall II
There is nothing much to say, we pushed hard but Trinity Hall II pushed harder. We held them for 1.5km.
I am quite angry at the moment. I went from "Ahmad" into just "mad". So listen up M3, tomorrow I don't want to row over. I want to bump Tit Hall back. And damn serious about it.
So I suggest you forget your human identities tomorrow because we'll transform into vicious masochistic animals. And we'll push the boat at a horrifying speed so they don't even know what hit them.
Edit: It was brought to my attention that Trinity Hall II are likely to bump Churchill II soon after the start, not giving us enough time to catch them so we are looking for a row over. But please this time lets not think about how long the course is going to take just think about pushing away as far as possible from Clare II.
The start was literally shaky as we were stationed underneath the railway bridge, next to the cannon. Tit Hall II gradually narrowed down upon us on the plough reach to a few feet, and which point a lift called by Yining lengthened the separation considerably. Turning the corner into the long reach I was surprised that we had rowed so far in such a short space of time. Unfortunately the gap narrowed, and after a hard effort we were bumped. Good work nevertheless, but very painful.
This was the first bumps race for all nine members of the crew, and although we had done dozens of practice starts, the real thing provided (as it surely always will) distractions and nervousness anew. An additional cause of anxiety was that we started from the seventh station, and so were adjacent to the cannons, which was off-putting not so much on account of the sound itself, but mostly in the anticipation (and, dare I admit, fear) thereof. (Would our ears bleed? Would the blast render us perpetually deaf?) These factors led to an astonishingly poor start. Almost immediately it became clear that Trinity Hall II was gaining on us, and we uncomfortably settled on a panicked rhythm which lasted us until the start of the long reach.
If we are to prevail in such situations in the future we must be more robust both technically and psychologically, and learn how to row the whole course with a crew chasing us a few feet astern the whole way.
Just saw this video...
...that was a row to be proud of boys.
One sound has been echoing in my ears pretty consistently. The boom of the cannon firing immediately before our disastrous start, despite two and I being as close as it was possible to get to the ordnance? No. Blaise's repetition of "defend your ears!"? Yes.
In the end, it wasn't so bad. In fact, just damaging enough to utterly paralyse us for the first second of the race. So we pulled away, did our standard racing start with four or so air strokes on the first draw (just to be clear, our standard racing start doesn't actually include these), and began to pull as though the hopes of First and Third depended on it. Well before grassy (the only corner I know by name), Tit Hall had pulled rather too close for comfort (for this we can blame a Churchill boat which will feature again in these reports for being bumped out stupidly early and forcing a poor line onto us), and it then became a desperate struggle to hold them off for as long as we possibly could, despite the many minutes we spent with overlap.
Before the reach we managed one major push, and lifted off their boat for all we were worth (which wasn't enough, as it happened), and there were a few blissful feet of open water between our vessels. This lasted until the reach, where our hopes became pinned upon a remarkably sluggish M2 Clare boat which had previously wished us luck in order that we could hold off Tit Hall (I refuse to call them by any other name) until they bumped them. This never happened, and Clare remained a steady and disappointing boat-length behind. Our rowing became hurried and slightly messy, and it ended inevitably someway down the reach, as we ran out of river to drift across. Alas, alack, but Simon felt we rowed well, and it was a gruelling yet character building challenge. Which will help us in our preparation for future races. And didn't leave us feeling at all disappointed. Or frustrated. Or, indeed, mad?
Bumped by Clare II
Our start was better.
I think 'crashed' would be a better descriptor than 'bumped'. At grassy corner, Selwyn had bumped Peterhouse. The Peterhouse cox steered the bow of their boat into a tree, such that Selwyn's bow ran over Peterhouse's stern, whose boat then began sinking. Yining tried to manoeuvre us around this carnage, but we ran out of river and mounted the bank. At this point Caius come fast around the corner, hotly pursued by Maggie. Maggie crashed into the bank a few metres downstream of us, and those on the bank shout 'Get out!' as Caius cut a path into us. Fortunately they didn't hit us, though their oars clashed with ours, despite all of our blades being drawn in. Quite surreal.
Today we were determined to clean up the mess of yesterday but (as usual) were set back by a sheer amount of bad luck.
After a good start, and 2 decent minutes into the race apparently all sorts of nasty things happened behind us. And our boat was forced to take a peculiar path along the river. At this stage Clare II were maybe around a length between their bow and our stern but in a very short span of time they were overlapping with our stern. Which I felt was really disappointing until Simon pointed out later that thanks to the ship wreckage behind us and our position in the river we were forced to take a path which was 10 meters longer than what Clare II had to take.
And then as the other reports explained, we didn't make it around that corner and were forced to stop and soon jump quickly out of the boat before the other crews accidentally ram into us while they are coming hot around the same corner.
Today it wasn't anyone's fault. And I enjoyed the race much more than yesterday. I was surprised that someone in the crew seemed a bit disheartened about this. First, this is not how M3 work, if someone makes a mistake, everyone else shares 1/9 of the mistake. Second, It really wasn't anyone's fault. This is BUMPS for you where everything is expected to go wrong. Let's all forget about today and restore our previous levels of cheerfulness. And if I find later (God forbids) that someone is still blaming themselves for the accident then I will not be happy.
Oh yes, and wasn't this fun? We start better, and thing seem to be going ok. Clare gain on us, which after Tuesday didn't seem earth-shaking, or even particularly worrying. Further away from the cannon, perhaps? We push them away, they get back again etc. So far as I remember, it all started going wrong. Well, that much was obvious; I simply mean that before the approach to grassy, we pass a triumphant Tit Hall crew who had just bumped a miserable and generally useless Churchill boat, neither of which pulled in sufficiently fast as to give us a clear shot, forcing on Yining a weave, losing us yet more unaffordable distance.
What we didn't realise (eyes in the boat!) on the approach was quite how congested grassy was. As unlikely as it sounds, picture Selwyn and Peterhouse on the inside of the corner, before the houseboats, with Selwyn's bow over Peterhouse's stern, submerging the coxes seat and soaking the poor lady. Their boat was sinking. On the outside of the corner sat an unhappy Magdalene boat - I forget what had happened to their bumper but they probably got in our way before the corner (everyone else did, why not them?). This narrowed the corner such that turning was impossible: grassy was not made to fit three boats, let alone the additional two of us careening around the bend at full race pace. So, we hit the bank with a jolt and a cracking sound, and Clare just rowed on by. Sickening.
So the race is over. We feel depressed and Simon begins talking about the stochastity of bumps when Caius rocket forward. In a daze we hear Ian's call to get out of the boat. Nothing happens. The bank party yells the same with ever increasing urgency and we realise that the Caius boat which had seemed so adequately steered was in fact not going to miss us. We understand what Simon means when he says a crew can leave a boat and pull their blades in, in a good two seconds, all at once. Except Yining, who was left a couple of feet out from the bank with no easy way to get out. Somehow this happened anyway, and Caius whizzed past, scraping everything possible to scrape as they did so. Still this was more successful than their pursuing Maggie boat, which, as I recall (but please correct me because this doesn't seem possibly right) which approached the corner at full tilt and slammed into the stern of the parked Magdalene boat (or the bank. Bit of a blur).
Edit: Yining assures me that the true state of affairs was that Peterhouse bumped Magdalene, then Selwyn ran over Peterhouse because they couldn't stop in time, and the Maggie boat bumped Caius at the corner, causing the aforementioned chaos.
Bumped by Hughes Hall
Hughes Hall, being significantly faster than all the boats in the division and starting at an even-numbered station, naturally were hoping to see as many boats as possible bump out in front of them so that they could coast into a spectacular overbump. Accordingly they set off at a leisurely pace and allowed us to gain on them over the start. We did our best to oblige them, and rowed out hard in pursuit of Clare II. Unfortunately Clare II and Churchill II were exceedingly uncooperative and bumped out after a minute or so. As a result Hughes Hall were reluctantly forced to bump us in the gut. I fear that for them the prospect of going up only four must be rather dismal after going up eight in last year's Lents.
It was nice to see that the crew have put the gloomy results behind their backs and looked rather cheerful during the crew pasta yesterday. Even though at this point in bumps, we were in a very sorry state, and it seemed unlikely that we can recover our position. So why not just enjoy the rest of bumps and do the best we can?!
The LBCs told us that Hughes Hall are a powerful first boat and the only reason they are rowing in the 3rd division is because they are a recent club and have not had the time to climb high up the bumps chart. So Simon's plan was simple... "Don't surge!". The idea was that we are most unlikely to row over with Hughes Hall chasing us so the second least likely thing was that we bump Clare II before they bump Churchill II. BTW, congratulations to Churchill II for making sure that we never had anyone to chase and bump on every single day of bumps. Well done indeed.
According to Simon, we had 90s to bump Clare II before Hughes Hall bump us, which meant that we should row at a very unsustainable speed for 90s. Since no other crew have held Hughes Hall for more than a minute. e.g. King's II were bumped by Hughes Hall only 6 lengths after the start.
So there goes the cannon, and M3 are absolutely nailing down every stroke, the rate was incredibly high causing the strokes to go out of sync, but nevertheless the power was awesome. We gained on Clare II initially, before Clare II quickly gained on Churchill II, and started to push frantically high themselves in order to bump Churchill II fast and get it over with. And as expected they bumped Churchill II too soon, leaving us to the slowly creeping Hughes Hall.
The sight of Churchill II and Clare II parked on the side was like a signal for us to give up especially that we were reasonably dead at that point. I experienced a familiar numbness in the head which I have had only twice before during the most extreme workouts.
Anyway Hughes Hall quickly came to overlap with our stern. Their 2-man was about to bash Yining's back with his blade when Yining shouted at Hughes Hall: "Hold it up!". FaT M3, being completely disciplined and obedient, also held up their boat upon hearing Yining's command! But thank God Hughes Hall held up their boat much faster, so nobody was hurt.
We held Hughes Hall for about 2.5 minutes, which is much longer than anyone had expected. Tomorrow, we need to avoid being bumped at all cost. It would look really bad if we get spoons, and I guarantee that the results so far are not a representation anyway of how good M3 actually are (maybe only for how terribly unlucky they are). Better luck for tomorrow.
Had great fun today. We were massive through the start and pulled away from Hughes Hall, though Churchill II once again ensured that we had to go wide around First Post corner. Most of the other boats bumped out very quickly, and we did well to keep powering through. Hughes Hall were certainly as swift as the coursing river and had the force of a great typhoon, but the strength of a raging fire could be implemented in holding it up after a bump.
Well, obviously we all settled into this race thinking that we a very reasonable chance of pulling ahead of Hughes Hall and, obviously, easily catching Clare II before they bumped Churchill. Obviously.
We rowed past Hughes Hall on the way to the start and took another gawp at their Blues' splash jackets and Lights' insignia which was resplendent and certainly helped the old university patriotism, yet for one reason or another did nothing to inspire us to be self assured. They were huge! All we could do was write a couple of alternative lyrics to one of Disney's finer creations and try to let music calm our nervous demeanours (we never quite seemed entirely sure whether we were writing a song about Yining making men out of us, or whether we were attempting to belittle people who have made enjoying pain their life, but hey, it seemed to work). On the flipside, however, while they might have had, according to Simon, around fifty years more rowing experience, immeasurably larger and fitter bodies and all the confidence in the world, they had managed to break their racing shell and were in a knackered vessel which was clearly bound to sink before the motorway bridge, while we had our very own gorgeous Black Prince.
We pulled away from them at the start, to our everlasting pride, and put up more of a fight than any other crew that week; our ninety second race plan, designed to sprint us up to catch Clare II had to be radically extended, to two and a half minutes such that we got to Grassy before finally being caught. Damn that Churchill boat, again, for being so bloody awful! If they had but held off Clare for but a little while we would have been in with a chance. As it happened, they merely screwed over our racing line again. It was hard work but with no hope of victory and so nothing to lose, quite good fun, really. They were nice about us too. Certainly, that King's boat had nothing on us ("you stupid cox!"). Well, luckily, they'll be well out of our way next year...
Bumped by St. Catharine's II
I don't quite understand what happened today, the start wasn't bad, and it seemed to me like things will be fine today as St. Cat's II were hardly gaining on us for a while. Then for some reason our speed suddenly dropped, the boat started to feel quite heavy, and St. Cat's II gained on us unusually quickly, then we overlapped, then they bumped us, all taking place so fast. Nothing seemed to help the situation, not even the epic long roar from Tim.
Even though Pembroke regatta results suggested that we were one of the fastest 3rd crews out there, we nevertheless got spoons for the Lent Bumps. Oh well, we really gave it everything we had but unfortunately it wasn't enough, sorry...
Our final bumps race began in the knowledge that Hughes Hall M1 were going to bump Churchill M2 within seconds of the race beginning, such that to avoid spoons we needed to row over. Furthermore, Catz M2 behind us were chasing blades.
As Ahmad mentions, I too am surprised we were bumped so quickly (about the same distance in as the bump from Hughes Hall the previous day). There could be a variety of reasons, including fatigue, Catz's zeal or just the stochastic nature of bumps. I wished to provide some encouragement mid-race and shouted 'heave!'. I rather surprised myself by the length and volume of this exclamation, which sounded like a roar to Ahmad.
Despite spoons, I think the crew has much to be proud of, and we are still the highest M3 in Lent Bumps.
Yining has the right of it. Such was our anticipation for receiving fabulously coloured and elegantly decorated, ah, wooden spoons that our race speed dropped off part way down the course with instantaneous and disastrous consequences. On the plus side, they are a lovely shade of navy blue, with little gold ribbon tied at the end of the handle (thank you Simon!). Apparently, we were bumped by Hughes Hall II as well!
So, psyched for the race by a heartwarming and cheering email from Julia (bless!) who reminded us that not only could we row over if we pulled ourselves together, but that she would really rather appreciate it, we paddled up to the starting line. Nothing strange about that; it happened every other day too. Hughes Hall were back in their racing shell. We share resigned glances and wish them luck. Sure enough, Churchill set what may be a new record for speediest bump, and decided that their favourite activity, of a Saturday afternoon, was to get in the way of a demoralised FaT crew with nobody to chase. We held Catz II very nicely for a considerable while before, as the others have elucidated, we dissolved and ended up bumped. How annoying. At Grassy, too, in front of all the spectators and at much the same distance as we had the previous day when being chased by the boat race crew of yesteryear.
Yes, you might agree, but not half so annoying as what happened just ahead of us. Cast your mind back to the reach on the first day where we were desperately holding off Tit Hall, praying that Clare would push just that little bit harder, squeeze it through, and bump our neighbours. Now it really doesn't take a genius to guess what happened the second time Clare found itself taking an antagonistic role. If only Clare had fulfilled their potential on the first day, we wouldn't have ended our first season quite so calamitously. Such is bumps.
Full Lent Term 2012 Lent Bumps results
3rd men's VIII Lent Bumps results archive
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