The Club's Results
May Bumps 2013
The famous Cambridge University May Bumps on the River Cam
Wed 12th - Sat 15th June
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The M2 division was severely delayed, giving us plenty of time to critique the lycra around us and complain about the Chesterton marshaling. Thomas, why weren't you there a division earlier?!
We were told off for taking a practice start off the railway bridge, but it was good practice for rowing through chaos. The tailwind made our starts seem light and racy, a cruel trick of Mays weather.
Iain pushed us out late in order to deal with the gusts, and the first number we heard was "5! Square!" Despite this the start felt strong in the draw strokes, although the rate lagged and we didn't wind as high as we usually do. The rhythm call came in the chop under the bridge and it took us a few strokes to really find our racing speed. Queens started sprinting and got a whistle on First Post reach, but we didn't change our rate or pressure, having settled onto something sustainable. The crews around us appeared to be alternately sprinting and prowling as I'm told that Caius were trailing Christs by about 3 lengths, who were in turn looking like they were on for a bump on Emma. At this point we were about on station with Caius, but they soon began to move steadily away.
We kept it technical through the corners, with Yining following Iain's advice about how to steer through the gusts, and took a push into Ditton, watching Queens fall away every stroke. We were told that Caius and Christs had bumped out ahead of us and settled into the last 'hundred strokes' of the race, as I heard called from the bank.
The reach was difficult, with the headwind pushing us back and the gusts playing havoc with bladework, but we kept our heads, an action that had saved us earlier in the race, and ploughed on. We had a brief bridge call and used the corner at Morley's Holt to initiate a brief wind. We wound it down slightly before the line, conscious of CUCBC's complaints last term about racing to the finish line, and paddled through the last few metres of the race.
A good race in tough conditions that are set to repeat for the rest of the week, so hopefully also a useful learning experience.
Though the thunderclouds had been threatening all day, they were starting to break as we rowed off towards marshalling. This hopeful sign had us debating leggings or shorts. Buoyed up by new kit, shining in the sun, we were one of the first to marshalling and the disorder was behind us this time. Having declared the portable toilets 'structurally unsound' we watched the end of the M2 division, hoping to see M2 with Greenery or rowing over. Sadly things didn't work out for them today.
The first few strokes of paddling were a bit shaky, but we found our rhythm on the reach after the practice start. Our start at the plough was clean and sharp as 'Mr. and Mrs. Yining' were watching. We had some difficulty pulling into the bank in the crosswind, but the benefit of starting 9th is that there's plenty of chaos ahead to delay the 4 minute gun.
The sun was shining as we lined up on the start, but no one was able to enjoy the beautiful conditions as we squared up and hoped for a good start. Our prayers were answered, it was clean and powerful, and we strode to a higher rate than usual. Queens got their customary whistle on First Post reach, but didn't make much of an impression over the course and were bumped by Maggie on the reach, impressively spearing across almost the entire river behind us.
We rowed a solitary race in the first half, with little awareness of what was going on around us. Coming around onto Ditton things started to get exciting. Iain started calling 'On station!' as we came straight, and 10 strokes later we got our first whistle. We stuck here for a while, adjusting to the wash, and oscillating slightly. We heard a second one whistle, swiftly followed by 2, 3 and continuous. On the continuous whistle I remember thinking ' we still need another 6 feet', but by this point Alexa was making contact with Christs' stern and Yining was spearing the 7 girl's blade with our bows. We held it up, and thankfully had plenty of time to extract ourselves and clear as most people had bumped out behind us.
A gorgeous day for a great result. There's nothing like greenery in Mays.
Having started a trend amongst the women of pushing off ridiculously early, we were one of the last boats to get to marshalling and had to squeeze into an inadequate gap and stay in the boat. The divisions were running very early and we rowed up to the start well ahead of time.
Our practice starts felt really good, and we were able to settle onto a smooth rhythm to carry us up the reach. Our supporters at the Plough cheered us through another good start, and we paddled up to the start nervous but excited.
Once we had parked Richard told us that if all was running on time, we could expect the 4 minute gun in 22 minutes. We had a leisurely drink and de-kit as our bank party speculated about how early they would set us off, for only the second time in my 41 bumps races.
Starting in a new position must have disoriented us slightly, as our start was comfortably the worst of the day. The boat crashed from side to side under the motorway bridge as we caught and recovered from mini crabs. Christs took advantage of this to get a whistle just after the outflow.
We began to settle on the straight and found a long powerful rhythm. This was then destroyed by the cross-head winds at Grassy and half of the crew believing, with unshakeable faith, in Yining's calls that we were coming into Ditton. Through the corner Eva was insisting that we were actually at Grassy and bowside were struggling to get their blades in, causing a call for early squaring from the bank.
Our rowing on the Plough Reach straight was more effective, and Christs started to fall away after gaining slightly round Grassy. We moved into Ditton praying for an improvement in technique on the long glorious straight of the Reach.
We really settled into our racing rhythm here as Christs started to worry more about being bumped by Maggie than trying to get us back. Having held them off at no less than a length across the course so far, we were building confidence each stroke. Maggie bumped Christs at the railway bridge and, having been granted this bit of relief, we wound it down and settled onto a long loose rhythm, paddling across the line.
Definitely our worst row of the week, but thankfully it got the job done. Yining commented after the race that the commitment was really there today, so we can now go into the final day knowing that we have the technique to get us over the course effectively, and the guts to hold off a sprinting crew. Let's just hope we can execute the plan with more style tomorrow.
The fact that I actually managed to park properly (twice!) probably should have forewarned us about the inverse proportionality between the quality of the row up and the race down. The bladework was scrappy and our shoulders tense, though our legs were nonetheless effective, especially into the headwind. We actively tried to reclaim rhythm and looseness on the row back, and Preeyan (subbing in for Fordy who was subbing in for Jason) noticed this, calling our row back "classy." I'm confident that we can translate that same classiness into our race when we approach Pembroke and Maggie tomorrow - let's bring it, girls!
It poured with rain as we all made our way to the boathouse, and extra layers were recruited for marshaling. However, by the time we had the boat on the water the rain had stopped and there was a glimmer of sunshine breaking through the clouds.
We watched the top of the M2 division row over, speculated about possible potential shoulder injuries in the crews rowing over. We gathered in a huddle for a calm collected pep talk from Chris, and clambered back in the boat, sure of what we needed to do, and how we were going to do it.
There was less wind than in the past 3 days, and our starts and paddle up were a little disturbed by this. By the time we were at Grassy we had adjusted and were paddling regally to our station. We stayed loose with jokes and jazz hands and I said a silent thank you to fate and Iain for giving me a dry, roughened handle to work with.
The gun fired and we went hunting for a bump. The start was calm and powerful and we strode to a long 34, inching up on Pembroke every stroke. We were all expecting to bump early, some earlier than others, and there was a terrible 10 strokes after the start where there were no whistles and we weren't sure whether to settle in for a long race, or maintain a sprint. Thankfully, while we were making this decision we got our first whistle amid cheers from our bank party and a call, in finest Fletch form, of 'YOU OWN THEM GIRLS!'. We were waiting for 'OUR RACE' but I'm not sure Chris thought the sprint was going to be long enough to require much thought about whose it was.
On 2 whistles we hit the wash and our rhythm suffered slightly, but this quickly became 3 and we struggled to keep things the same. On the overlap whistle Yining called a Bumps push and two strokes later we were holding it up just before First Post corner.
There was mad celebration, posing for many photos and a palpable sense of relief at having accomplished what we set out to do and not let anyone down. We rowed back amid applause from the spectators and the sun shining on our greenery. We congratulated everyone we passed and wished Homerton, our boys and Caius luck. It's amazing how animosities which drive our actions so definitively during competition dissolve in the happy glow afterwards, sharing in the success of others.
There comes a point every Bumps where I'm cycling to the boathouse and I pass the non-boaties, wandering the streets of Cambridge in pretty clothes, with picnics and nothing to do, and I am intensely jealous. However, this feeling is always far diminished by the feelings of pride, both in myself, my crew and the club, for the epic battles we undertake on the river for these 4 days. Knowing that you have spent your time in the pursuit of something, as Ali said last night, is indeed a rewarding feeling that I am so grateful to be able to share with everyone at First and Third.
The girls should be very proud of what we accomplished. With the help of many many bufties and boaties we made a boat that was competitive in Mays, and that continued our rise through the charts. However, as in Lents, I'll offer my plea, both to those who rowed this term and to those still around. The women's side will only grow stronger if we all have the loyalty and dedication to the club that I have known in the past. We need a strong W2 to feed rowers into W1, we need returners to keep raising the bar for each other. We need to get back where we belong.
And, of course, thank you to the girls of W1 who gave and gave and never stopped giving. I better see you next year, 'cause there's no way to go but UP.
Bumped by LMBC II
As we then neared grassy we were comfortably away from John's with a hideous looking sandwich developing behind us. Unfortunately this was when the curse of Grassy struck and before we knew it we were stuck in the outside and desperately trying to push off again and avoid being hit. Alas, it was to no avail, a painful inevitability loomed over the 8 or so strokes we managed away from the bank before Maggie bumped, much to the dismay of Caius behind them. We'd barely got back into the racing position and found ourselves pulling in again, this time intentionally.
In retrospect Wednesday's events were a foreshadowing of what was to come...
Bumped by St. Edmund's
Bumped by Christ's II
As we waited in marshalling we noticed a disturbing amount of uni stash in the Christs boat, apparently some sort of boat club politics had lead to a worryingly stacked M2, damn...
Sure enough as soon as the guns went Christs started to move, but we reacted. A valiant if inevitable chase ensued. The crew finally clicked after a very uncertain term and as Christs moved to two whistles we started to hold them, they stopped gaining for a while; maybe we could do this. We didn't have to spoon...
Then Christs, spurred on by the thought of blades, raised it to another gear. We had nothing to react with, we tried, we made it round Grassy and even held a foot or so of overlap for a while. But alas it was in vain, eventually, as we approached the plow, it was too little too late. And so we completed our spoons.
SO there it was, 3 years, 3 sets of spoons for Mays M2. I know it might not have been the result we wanted, but I sure enjoyed this term so thank you to everyone involved in project M2. And hey, at least we got a good song out of it, so it wasn't all bad
Bumped by Selwyn II
After laughing for a while at the crews trying to manoeuvre around us we were eventually allowed to marshal and Tim kept us warm with various dubious bits of science and classics. Back in the boat we were told that due to the delays practice starts were disallowed. To make up for the lack of starts we had two crisp bursts down the reach and, feeling good, spun and pulled in with plenty of time to go.
Our quiet confidence was undermined by our nerves, and some rather quick opposition. Our start was certainly the worst we'd done for a long time and we never really hit a proper rhythm. As a result Selwyn bore down on us fast and by the middle of the gut it was all over.
Dispirited though we were, we knew that our chasing crew the next day would be slower and, with the first day nerves out of the way, our own race would be much crisper.
Bumped by St. Catharine's II
Our practice starts, despite the lack of coxbox, felt good. Perhaps they weren't the best we've ever done, but they were powerful, together and we were certainly moving the boat at a respectable speed.
After a lot of faff giving Chris a megaphone and working out how he was to hold the speaker, the bung and the rudder strings we pushed out into a howling wind. Although our start yesterday had felt panicked, today's was immeasurably worse as we succeeded in rowing utterly out of time which led to a boat-stopping crab. Catz, surprised to have caught us so fast, were rather slow in holding it up meaning that my blade jammed under their bows and had the unintended effect of turning the boat sharply across the river. Any mild fault on their part was, however, utterly eclipsed by our own incompetent failure to clear in any meaningful fashion. Thanks to the inability of anyone past 6 to hear Chris and a stream of mostly inaudible and contradictory instructions from the bank the rest of the division was klaxoned and a re-row ordered.
In our angry and dejected state our row back was poor and the subsequent chat rather curtailed. We need to go into tomorrow with a collective will to produce the sharp rowing of which we know we're capable. We're proved that we have a fast start, faster indeed than many of the crews around us, and if we can produce it tomorrow then Catz had better watch out.
Bumped by Emmanuel II
The upside? It was sunny enough that all our splashing created rainbows behind us. Very pretty.
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||-30.00|
Ineligible after entering fewer than 3 crews:
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