The Club's Results
May Bumps 2011
The famous Cambridge University May Bumps on the River Cam
Wed 15th - Sat 18th June
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Rowed over Head
Bumped by Caius
Bumped by Downing
Bumped at the entrance to Ditton
Bumped by St. Catharine's
This set of bumps has been intensely disappointing, I've spent a great deal of time and energy getting myself to a standard of coxing such that I am in the 1st VIII, and unfortunately, on some levels, I have arrived a year too late. Losing headships is pretty awful really, however the manner in which this one was lost does give significant room for hope of a rapid return to form. This VIII was not 'bad', it may have been slower, but it was by no means technically bad. It is encouraging that without the huge amount of experience of previous years, without many weeks of JPD and other bufties, we still produced an VIII which was (in my perhaps dubious opinion) technically good enough to row over head. This shows to me that the system now in place with Lianne will, physiology allowing, produce eights of the required speed to put this club back where it belongs. It is now up to Jacob and the MLBCs to find these physiologically gifted people, and current members to train until they are pulling the required times, such that in a few years time, it's FaT, not Caius, who rock up to bumps with eight massive ergos, and a technically excellent crew.
|1. Rowing Over|
2. Rowing Over
3. Rowing Over
Bumped by Clare
We may have strode too early, but the rhythm felt nice, racy and powerful. We attacked the corner, and I heard someone say 'They're moving' but wasn't sure if this meant Clare or if Jesus had pulled away. We began to worry coming around Grassy that we hadn't had any whistles, and this was really where Clare moved up on us. They seemed to take a strange line coming up to the exit of Grassy, but it obviously worked as they soon bumped us.
Not what we wanted, but we raced our race, and I couldn't have hoped for better first day rowing. I'm not foolish enough to attempt to predict any Bumps race outcomes, but we're going out tomorrow keen and "fierce", to quote Ms. Poseidon.
Bumped by Queens'
Another good row with another disappointing result. Queens picked up a lot of speed from yesterday, bumping us around Grassy, but we were about on station with Clare, who were in turn on station with Jesus.
Rhythm was nice, chunky and long, but obviously rowing nicely (while wonderful for Doug's photos) isn't helping us in the bumps department.
Liz advised us to just start enjoying it and go for it tomorrow, which is what we'll do. Glad I didn't try to predict anything in my last report.
We were determined to row over, and though I don't recall much of the start as I was concentrating on feathering, it seemed nice, and our pushes were effective. We pulled away from Catz quite quickly, who then fell under pressure from Tit Hall, and soon bumped out. With nothing chasing, and unsure where Queen's were in front of us, we fell off a little in the middle third of the race.
It was nice to finally get onto the reach, and having reached a state in which I couldn't imagine what it felt like to be dry and being amused and somewhat perplexed by the sloshing of water in the boat, we put in a strong finish. The course seems remarkably short finishing at the Railway Bridge, which was a pleasant surprise. I feel like this row-over has helped us find our feet and we're going into tomorrow in high spirits come hell or (more likely) high water.
|1. Catches In|
2. Coming to the Railwa...
3. At the Catch
Bumped by Christ's
Credit to Christ's for a clinical performance. Some evasive steering on our part bought us an extra 10 strokes or so, but unfortunately we just didn't have the power to get away.
Plan for tomorrow: row over ahead of Churchill. Having sparred with them earlier in term, we know that our speeds are similar - it should be an interesting race to watch!
Bumped by Robinson
Bumped by Downing II
This set of bumps has been entirely representative of the second VIII rowing this term, not good enough.
We have been improving all term, but not nearly fast enough, a poor initial result at Head 2 Head should have shown that we were behind where a second eight needed to start the term. Without rowing a lot better our result at Champs head was a definite improvement, gaining ground on many of the crews around us in bumps. We then got hammered in 99's regatta by a good Catz crew.
Our best race of the term was definitely our Met regatta race. While the start wasn't excellent, we stuck with it and rowed reasonably ending a mere half length down in 4th place.
Bumps was representative of our rowing all term. We rowed the same we had been all term and weren't fast enough. The possible exception was the decent 3 minutes on the Friday to hold off Robinson to the plough. Racing isn't an opportunity to find speed, it is the opportunity to demonstrate the speed you have already found and mastered in training
Learning involves 4 steps.
1) perform the task
2) analyse the task
3) suggest changes
4) implement the changes
Our biggest failure this term has been a failure of learning. Criticism or analysis tells you that you are doing something wrong or doing something well, it tells you that you could be better. It creates pressure to improve, but it can also damage confidence and morale. Criticising people who are down because they know they are doing badly is difficult, if you are in a bad mood and under pressure you are less likely to respond objectively. Working out what is wrong then relies upon a plan to change it. Finally we need to implement the plan.
I feel it is better to analyse and look to improve, which will generate better morale, than to take the easy option of being relaxed with the criticism and hoping morale improvements will benefit the rowing. I think we erred on the side of muted criticism and paid for it in reduced levels of improvement.
Problems which I don't feel we addressed:
1) Multiple rowing styles. I don't think we were moving together either during the drive or on the recovery. I never felt we knew what we were looking for in terms of a unified way of rowing, despite many terms of rowing for the same club, and in many cases for the same crew. I think we had identified the problem, but didn't come up with any workable solutions.
2) Acceleration through the drive. This was identified and we did work to suggest changes and it did improve, but was never cemented in and I think at race pressure we went back to tanking the boat around the catch. I think here we failed to implement the change properly as a crew despite really attempting to address the problem.
3) Stability on the recovery. Probably linked to the lack of uniform rowing styles, but I felt all term that I had no clue how the boat was going to change after 1/2 slide. Not everyone in the boat even agreed we were suffering this problem, which I frankly just don't understand. I accept that finishing badly causes the boat to recover poorly, but that doesn't mean that all poor recoveries are caused by bad finishes, which seemed to be the belief in the boat. I think here our analysis was flawed meaning we never looked to suggest a solution.
4) Length means getting yourself to the front. No, it means you trying to be controlled coming forward so everyone else can get as far forward as possible, making it difficult for 7 other people will have more effect than the extra speed you as an individual can generate. I have always thought of length as the attempt to be the last person to the front and the first to put the blade in the water. A demonstration that implementation relies upon a consensus between rowers, coaches and cox on what they are looking for, which I don't think was achieved.
5) Pressure solves everything. No. It doesn't. It is helpful and makes you faster, but doesn't mean you aren't slowing the boat on the recovery.
6) Race preparation. We race regularly, unfortunately we seemed to treat this as a requirement to learn to rate high before each race, to improve our performance for that event. A longer term view of our training to achieve a race pace for bumps may have suggested that a more solid lower rate is easier to convert to race pace than a rate close to what we are looking for, but one where we are rowing poorly.
Strong opinions means strong feelings. I am frequently critical, and I suspect not always to everyone's liking. This is because I want to do as well as possible, and that means improving as best we can. It does not however mean that I am angry with other people, even if I disagree with their critique. Ditching objective crew discussions because there are strong differences in opinions seems to me to be counter-productive because it is likely those differences in opinion that are hindering the better rowing as a crew.
Learning for the future.
1) Decide how the crew is going to row. It doesn't matter so much on the style, as long as everyone agrees on it and changes it together. If individuals don't like it then they need to be brought into line.
2) Discuss what is going well and going badly and why. We had good outings this term, but failed to identify what we did well, so struggled to return to it. Equally deciding that an outing is badgering awful is insufficient as you have not suggested how to make the outing better. I want to go away from an outing knowing that by doing X,Y and Z that I will be making the boat go better next outing. I rarely had that feeling this term.
3) Other rowers will be rowing as well as they can. If they are doing something you don't understand, ask them or tell them. The most neutral feedback is simply to tell someone what they are doing. More often than not they are not aware that they are doing something you think is odd, and hopefully they can learn from it.
I do not believe that this was the year the second eight had to fall from the first division, however, I feel it is important to say that however disappointed with my performance I am, I appreciate all the time and effort the crew and coaches have put in this term. If we can learn and improve from it, then a bad term will be more useful for those developing to first boat standard as a 'good' term where those involved win trivially and there is no incentive to step it on. I am as ever, proud to have been part of a First and Third crew, and wish everyone all the best in the future.
|1. Rowing Up|
2. Rowing Up
3. Rowing Up
Bumped by St. Catharine's II
We gained on LMBC 3, but Lolcatz 2 gained faster. Had we made it to Ditton we might have stood a chance of rowing over, but we were caught at Grassy. Were we rattled by the the 'collision' that snapped our stroke man's blade? Perhaps. Would we have been faster had our two-man not got so drunk we had to cancel an outing last week? Potentially. But in the words of M3 last year, at times like this I wonder: just what is the point? I might as well go to Cindies and get battered.
The start was panicky, I suspect as a result of the unfamiliar environment of bumps, but not disastrous, and it took us a while to settle onto a rhythm. Once there the rowing felt alright, and we moved steadily on LMBC III. However, St. Caths II were moving more steadily on us, and coming into grassy they put in a bumps push to which we had no reply and caught us.
Over the next couple of days we've got to dig deep to give ourselves another chance regaining the M3 headship.
I hope the Caius cox gets shouted at, and then learns from his mistake and never makes it again. I assume no one in Caius was injured as they did the race. I hope they're okay anyway.
So onto the race itself. We knew before we started that we were faster than Maggie following nines regatta, we also strongly suspected Catz II were going to be faster than us, we just didn't know what the margins would be.
We didn't start great, I know I personally didn't row very well initially, though we got it together after a bit. But Catz were gaining on us rapidly, we were also gaining on Maggie, but not quickly enough. We were down to 3/4s of a length when Catz hit us.
Did Caius hitting us affect the result? probably not, as far as we're aware all damage was repaired on the spot, and everyone was fine. Psychologically sure we we're shaken a bit by the incident immediatly after it, but there was a big gap between that and the start of the race, and it probably didn't affect our performance much.
All things told not a great row, but a fairly okay one cut a bit short, it was dissapointing not to get Maggie but unfortunately this is the nature of bumps, sometimes it isn't sufficient to be faster than the crew ahead.
Bumped by Hughes Hall
This race went better than yesterday, the loudness of the cannon under the bridge made us jump a bit and the first 3 strokes wern't great, but we recovered quickly. Although we made one or two mistakes these were also fixed quickly, and all things told I'm far happier with todays race than yesterdays.
All our best efforts wern't enough to hold hughes though, and we were bumped going into first post corner.
Tomorrow we MUST row over to give ourselves the chance to make the bump that we deserve. Our start will be saner, with a stride and everything, and then we will have the advantage of a clear river ahead (assuming Hughes/LMBC clear promptly...)
Some say Hughes Hall actually is a genuine place, and that at least one of their crew really isn't a middle-aged land economist. All we know is they were badgering fast.
That said, a much better row than yesterday. Rowing down to the start with all 8 blades intact might have been a contributing factor to this. To change the result however, would have required a lolcatz fail of an even greater proportion than lents. Surely not even they could crash before first post? Perhaps Newnham could give them some tips on that.
Onwards (yet not so upwards), to Peterhouse tomorrow. I don't know who they are. I don't know what they want. If they are looking for a bump, I can tell them we won't give it to them.
Massive effort tomorrow, so we get the headship chance that we deserve.
Bumped by Peterhouse II
Cheeky overbump on Hughes for M3 headship tomorow =P
Spoons tomorrow? No thanks.
Bumped by Robinson II
Today was a good row, a hard sprint of the start, unlike on previous days we didn't panic as they got close, and held them well. But they steadily gained and bumped us on the exit of grassy.
All in all a very disapointing week. But perhaps we can take some solace in the fact that although we might not have blades with FaT III written on them, four other colleges will.
Totally didn't accidently add this to W2 instead of M3...
An unfortunate result, and not how I would have chosen to end my time at First and Third, but no matter. We worked hard this term, and by the time of bumps the crew was unrecognisable as the crew who lost to Christs W2 at Champs Head. We should be proud of the progress we made, on the erg and in the boat, and not be too disheartened that a high starting position and an inexperienced crew prevented us from converting that progress into results.
|1. Rowing Home|
Bumped by Pembroke III
Bumped by Selwyn II
Great row for all involved and many thanks to Katie for subbing!
2. At the Catch
3. Draw Strokes
Bumped Churchill II
There was some excitement post-bump, as we managed to swing Churchill round so that they were blocking the river, but despite Homerton's best efforts no-one was injured.
Hopefully tomorrow will go similarly. Up and up we go (hopefully!)!
Down 4 - Bumped by St. Catharine's III, Clare III, Trinity Hall III and St. Edmund's II
Bumped by St. Catharine's III
The start felt a bit panicked, and the stride seemed weak and indistinct. A fair amount of rush remained throughout and balance was not really there. Catz 3 kept moving up on us, and bumped before First Post Corner.
This is a disappointing result, but it is important to remember that we have a lot of potential for improvement. The very first outing after so much time off is unlikely to be ideal, and for most of the term we have been rowing much more cleanly with better rhythm and balance, so we should be able to get back into it if we approach things more calmly.
We need to approach tomorrow with a positive mindset to be ready to take advantage of any Lolcatz incident that may happen ahead, and also for the possibility of chasing Selwyn 3 for an overbump in the case of a bump ahead of us.
Bumped by Clare III
The start felt much better. The stride was still a bit indistinct, but we managed to find a fairly solid rhythm, and initially held Clare 3 at a roughly constant distance.
Unfortunately, when Clare began to get a bit closer, it seems that we responded predominantly by rowing shorter, leading to a loss of boat speed and thus a bump before long.
Despite the result, we need to realise that we are improving rapidly. Tomorrow we just need to keep our improvements from today and focus on retaining our composure, avoiding rush on the slide and getting out to full length every stroke, even when under pressure, as this is the only effective way to keep the boat moving.
Bumped by Trinity Hall III
As we were pushing off, there was a slight problem with the cox box leading to a high-pitched electronic sound. This was fixed before the starting gun, though it might have left some of us feeling a bit startled.
Nevertheless, the start seemed reasonable, and it felt like we were getting more length right until the end. This was unfortunately not long after the motorway bridge.
We still have improvements to make: we were not always quite in time, balance was variable, and the stride could have been stronger. Let us keep up the improvement and finish off with a last day of Bumps that we can be really proud of.
Bumped by St. Edmund's II
We went off powerfully from the start, moving up on Trinity Hall 3 and holding station with St. Edmund's 2.
The stride felt stronger than on previous days and we kept going hard, apparently closing to between 1/2 to 3/4 lengths off Trinity Hall 3. This represents a huge improvement considering that yesterday they gained on us and bumped.
Unfortunately, not far after the motorway bridge, I (at 7) scraped my blade against the bank. This took some boat speed off in itself and also disrupted the rhythm, which took a couple of strokes to fully recover, leading to a further loss of speed. By this point we were also beginning to tire after the previous push, and thus seemed unable to accelerate the boat back up to speed. The bump from St. Edmunds 2 came before First Post Corner.
Overall, a disappointing set of Bumps results, which I think above all shows the importance of keeping the training up. If we had rowed on the first day like we did today, Catz would probably not have got the bump. More outings, especially just before Bumps, would have helped us to do this. More ergs throughout the term would probably also have helped to improve power and fitness.
I urge everyone not to be disheartened by these results, and to keep training over summer, looking to get into M2 or better next term.
On Thursday, let's see the same start, some stronger corners and a bump!
Bumped by Homerton II
Let's go for a row-over tomorrow!
Bumped by Pembroke IV
We're starting under the motorway bridge tomorrow which means two things:
1) We'll be protected from the rain.
2) We'll have 0.1 seconds on the crews ahead/behind us because we're that much closer to the guns.
Bring on the last day of Bumps!
Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the following information, note that the results are unofficial.
Michell Cup points
|1st and 3rd||-36.00|
Ineligible after entering fewer than 3 crews:
|Cambridge weather:||Wednesday||text or graph|
|Thursday||text or graph|
|Friday||text or graph|
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