The Club's Results

Lent Term 2009

1st men's VIII

Cambridge Head-2-Head (1st division), 1st men's trial VIII

1st
Time: 13:14
Potential Success. 33 days to go to Lents. 56 days to HORR. (Thomas)
My first even won race. Thanks for the ride boys :)
But seriously, I thought this was a good commited row with its ups and downs (my personal favourite was that push on the 1st leg in the Plough) All in all, well done for a scratch crew and the first high rate piece of term. There is a lot of potential to go quite faster in the future. (Sonya)
The course was exactly bridge to bridge, which I think is 50-100 yards shorter than last year. We didn't really attack it, the aim was to set up a platform where everyone could show the coaches how good they are at race pace.

There's a long list of injuries sustained in other sports that don't affect rowing. Bruised ribs is not on the list and I don't recommend it in any way. (Tom C)
A reasonable row. We jumped into our scratch crew (having redesginated the crew order in the morning), wound high and settled to something sensible. Sensible for the race distance, but a bit of a shock to the system, as the first high rate of the season always is. Corners were relatively clean, with even our new bowsider Hannes at 3 getting his catches in most of the time. At this point I was discovering the substantial personal disadvantage to the crew reshuffle; instead of being 3 seats behind Hannes' splashing, I was directly in the line of fire. Arriving at the road bridge quite wet, I put lots of kit on and we got out for the traditional bag of Haribo. The row back was still good in parts, but with some distinctly sketchy moments. Towards the end of the piece, as our succession of "up 2"s hit home, I was becoming seriously concerned as to whether I was going to retain control over the blade, as I could no longer feel my hands, and it took 4 tops and 10 minutes until they were properly back in contact, and another half an hour in the boathouse to warm up. It seems I must remember never to underestimate again either the amount of splashing possible, or the effect it can have in cold conditions... (Peter)
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Head of the Nene (Senior3 VIIIs)

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Head of the Trent (S3 8+)

Won S3, 3rd overall
Time: 15:51.5
We set a time close to CUBC's from last year. I like to think this was because the rowing was awesome. The massive stream may also have played a role though. We overtook a robs crew and a trafford crew about halfway through the race. Took a little longer than we liked to come past. The wind to the finish was also lacking, mostly due to confusion about the position of the finish, which we had never seen before. A fun race though and good practice for HORR, with the concrete banks generating some rather large waves at times. (Thomas)
Solid performance. We hadn't rowed for a week due to the Cam being flooded, yet found into a good rhythm in the warm-up. Settled onto a comfortable 34 during the race, awesome rhythm from the stern pair two stroke engine Fletch and Phil.
We are still a way off the pace looking at our aims for HoRR, and we will need to find more speed, consistency and rhythm if we really want to do well this year.
Pleasing result overall, although it is important to keep the perspective. Agecroft dicked all over us by being 40s faster over the course. CUBC in turn would have dicked on Agecroft. (Flo)
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Sparring against CULRC (Cup)

Final
klopt
1) 2000m race. Went down a bit off the start but held it level for a minute or so. By 1k we were maybe 3/4 of a length behind. The rest is history, suffice to say we lost by a considerable margin.

2) Middle 1k. This time we rowed properly and there was no noticeable difference between the crews.

3) First 500. An abomination which didn't end soon enough.

4) Last 500. Good until the wind, where they left us behind.

In summary it was about the opposite of last year; they knew how to race and we didn't. At 34-36 there wasn't much difference, but they had an extra gear or two whereas our cruising speed was also our maximum speed. (Tom C)
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Lent Bumps

Wednesday
Rowed over Head
First day nerves out the way now... (Thomas)
Mediocre row. Frantic start, suboptimal settle coming round Grassy. Really found it on Plough Reach, chunky rhythm, big boys' rowing. Fell apart a little on the reach as we got hit by the headwind, rate was forced to stay high. Need to relax a little more tomorrow.
I'm keen for the coming days! (Flo)
I enjoyed this a lot more than I expected to. The weather was good, and it's fun having lots of people around - thanks for the support.

Things went massively pear-shaped about ten minutes before the gun, when we sat around for ages rather than paddling to the start. The 4 minute gun went off in the gut, and we pulled in with less than two minutes to go. Then the real disaster: I didn't have time to put my racing shirt on, so the photos will be ruined just like Fairbairns. We had a long chat about this after the race, and I'm confident that this won't happen again this week.

In fact the shirt incident was a mixed blessing. Not wearing the long sleeves gives me a slightly increased range of movement which I estimate is worth a length for every 500 metres. LMBC were about 2 lengths behind when they were bumped around the railings. An easy calculation shows that it could have been a real treat for the spectators, but rather worrying for us.

Once again we spent the first minute of the race demonstrating that our maximum useful rate is no greater than 36. By Plough reach we had found a rhythm with sensible numbers, but it didn't survive the onset of the headwind so we sacrificed length for rate and plodded on as best we could.

Downing were inside station on us when they bumped LMBC, so we expect an exciting race tomorrow. (Tom C)
Thursday
Rowed over Head
Much better row than yesterday. Less tense, more confident, more trusting in each other and ourselves. This is what First and Third rowing is about. Cleaner, sharper start, nice settle, good dealing with the headwind on the reach.
There is still lots of room for improvement, but seeing that we have not prepared for these races we can be reasonably happy with today's performances.
To be repeated Friday and Saturday. Job done for today. (Flo)
Contrary to expectations, the drama kicked off early today. I had left my shirt hanging up in the drying room after the morning paddle, but when I turned up in the afternoon it was gone. My immediate thought was that it was a conspiracy invoked by someone more concerned with winning than pretty photos, but it was soon found elsewhere in the 'shed. An honest mistake, perhaps, but I wouldn't recommend owning up to it if there are sharps in the vicinity.

The rowing up to the start was shite so I wasn't expecting an easy race. However, the logistics were perfect, and I was ready to go wearing the correct racing kit for the first time in many years (gold socks, black shorts, Fairbairn top, not necessarily in that order). As remarked yesterday, this slightly reduces my power output, but it really inspired the other guys to lift it up a "nodge" or two.

Downing were about on station in the gut, 2-2.5 lengths down at the Plough, and adhered to a gentlemen's agreement thereafter. Our stern crossed the line at 8:25, their bow followed a third of a minute later. Tomorrow we'll reduce the rate cap to 16 to really test the guns; no need for technical pairs at this stage. (Tom C)
Friday
Rowed over Head
At the beginning on the week I was hoping that Jesus would have made it to 2nd place by today. Then we could have asked them where our Fairbairns medals are, and enjoyed the captains shouting at each other in what I can only assume is a foreign language.

The race was a definite improvement. We found a smooth rhythm on the reach for the first time, but shortly before the railway bridge we were knocked over to bowside by the crosswind and mysteriously never recovered. The finish time was 8:19, 15 seconds clear of Downing who appeared to row at a more even pace than yesterday.

Later we discovered an explanation for the strange happenings in the last third of the race. Hannes has been using Fordy's over-geared gimp blade, affording him 2cm less inboard than everyone else. The effect is similar to Commodus stabbing Maximus before their duel; victory is still assured, but at what cost? (Tom C)
Saturday
Rowed over Head
Last day nerves out the way...

A really spectacular race for those on the bank around grassy and the plough with downing closing to about half a length (depending upon who you talk to this may vary). They were working very hard for this though and this showed as we came onto the long reach and moved away with a less front loaded race plan. (Thomas)
Many good stories, and lots of terrible ones, have a twist in the final chapter. This campaign has been a good story of that ilk, and the twist manifested itself as two middle-aged pedestrians whose imbecilic meandering across Victoria Road caused me to ride into a bollard. While the bike was unscratched, considerable bleeding and swelling was caused to the finger which absorbed the impact. I wasn't at all sure I was fit to row, but any potential subs were still racing or already on the lash.

The practice starts on the way down weren't good, with my ability to feather declining sharply. To remedy the situation I spent the minute before the gun shouting loudly in the manner of Ron Coleman, hoping that some adrenalin would dull the pain. It worked a treat, and the start was great.

The race was more exciting than previously. Downing had a three minute race plan, but our Head focused training had effectively imposed a rate cap of 36. The only option we had was to assume that they weren't quite fast enough and dig in; there was no extra gear to use if they got too close. Luck was on our side, and they faded at Ditton. We finished in about 8:10, with Downing at least 20 seconds behind but still outside station on LMBC.

The times are quite slow compared to last year, but the winning margin is about the same. Whether this reflects a decrease in quality or an increase in stream, only Marcus Aurelius knows. And, sad to say, that burden eventually killed him. (Tom C)
From Travisty:

Tom Coker
Bump'n'Grind

It's often remarked that college rowing is primarily about looking good and banter. Back in 2007, the standard of chat in the "First and Turds" boathouse was declining sharply, and a preponderance of unshaven graduate students masked any hint of sexual magnetism. So we abandoned the traditional ethos, and instead set about winning lots of races. Within a few months both the men's and women's first boats were at the top of the Lent bumps charts having rapidly overpowered Caius and Clare respectively. The club's dominance was underlined by a spectacular win at the prestigious Champs Eights Head, a 1500m time trial in May. The prize pot included 18 bottles of "champs"; no-one remembers if we finished them all, but the taste of victory lingers.

Just in case the above makes little sense, and you're still reading, I'll tell you what rowing is about. Winter races are usually time trials, with the more exciting side by side events in the summer. The river in Cambridge, however, is neither very long nor very wide so the usual racing formats don't work too well. Back in the early 1800s, some chaps put their gin bottles down and invented the bumps race. The crews line up (like a grand prix, but with bigger gaps), start at the sound of a cannon, and try to catch the boat ahead. If contact is made, the two crews involved stop rowing, and their places in the starting order are switched for the next day. The protocol may seem somewhat reckless, but the top speed of a rowing boat is less than 15mph, and fatalities are therefore extremely rare.

For the first placed crew, the affair is more mundane. With nothing to chase, the aim is simply to avoid being caught by the crew behind and thus retain the headship. This year the Trinity 1st men's boat started first, chased by St John's and Downing. On day one both crews set off very hard, but the pace was too much for the men in red and they were bumped halfway down the 2400m course. The three remaining days were a two horse race between Trinity and Downing. Our crew is considerably more powerful, but lacking smoothness over short distances. So Downing's best chance was to try and end the race as quickly as possible. On the final day they closed to within half a boat length after three minutes of racing, but their pace proved unsustainable and they quickly fell back, finishing some six lengths behind.

Trinity's women were less fortunate, being forced to field a very inexperienced crew. Last year they defended the headship magnificently, from a strong Emmanuel crew who came within six feet of the bump. This time they didn't escape, and fell to third place after a poor performance on day two. But a crew lacking experience improves very quickly, and they reversed this result to bump Jesus back on day three. Regaining the headship on the final day was a bridge too far, but most of the crew will be back next year and hungry for success. [by the webmaster]

1. As Close As It Got
2. Rowing Over Head
3. Headship medal
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Kingston Head (S3)

Won S3, 9th overall
Time: 15:47.1
An aggressive start. A good first couple of kilometres. A poor middle of the race. We feel we rowed badly, possibly because we remember the second half more.
Positives to take from the race: It is good to attack the first part of the race.
Negatives: Catches and finishes were shoddy and we shortened up while we were rowing badly.

Pleasantly surprised to have won S3.

Let's do it next week. (Thomas)
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Head of the River Race (Senior3 VIIIs)

Winners of the Halladay Trophy, 53rd, 2nd in S3
Time: 18:45.08
Well done! Great result (John)
A fantastic result which we can be hugely proud of! This is the highest an Oxbridge College has ranked in a while, and it is based upon hard work and excellent coaching! Thanks in particular to Jon Davies, Tom Rose and Iain Law who have contributed a great deal to teaching us to row, and to keep on pushing us to our limits!
Personally I enjoyed every single stroke of this race, because there had been such a build-up to it. This was it, this was what we had been training for all year. We had ups and downs in our preparation, but to go out on the day it really counts, and to just do it feels incredible. Stern pair set a crystal clear rhythm which perpetuated through the boat like an epic rowing rave, awesome. Thanks for this guys, it has made every single minute on the erg, in the gym and on the water worthwhile.

This is only the start of the FaT epic domination, May term here we come! (Flo)
Well done guys - fantastic result. Great to see First and Third doing so well at a national event! (Dan)
No one has yet commented that St Paul's finished 171st and 230th, so the three-year old target of beating them on the Tideway has finally been achieved. (BJ)
Nice one, well done!! (Erica)
Came off the water feeling a little ill, alcohol after the race didn't help, but some food did.
I enjoyed the row, felt like I was rowing well within myself, until I blew massively about 10 strokes from the line.

A mix up with Bristol University Boat Club entries has got us the Halladay trophy.
It is awesome to get the club some nationally recognised silverware, however this is tempered by knowing that Bristol Uni were faster than us, and had they not made a paperwork mistake they could have had the trophy. (Thomas)
Conditions were excellent, calm water and very little wind. It felt more like the Cam than the Thames, which really boosted our confidence. We started with some schoolboys right on the stern, but moved away fairly easily. In the middle of the race we suffered from being in a competitive vacuum, and maybe didn't work quite as hard as was needed. On the plus side, there was enough in reserve to really attack the second half. The push off the bridge was almost too big when combined with the extra adrenalin imparted on us by the cheering crowd, but no-one actually blew up. We met some rough water from crews ahead around the football ground, but were rewarded with the opportunity to overtake Glasgow University just before the line. For me it was a very well balanced row, with the legs, lungs and forearms suffering just about equally.

The result is a good step forward from last year, reflecting the term long focus and the extra week after bumps. Unfortunately we just missed out on the top 50 target, but it was always a tall order, especially with the strong overseas contingent this year. Compared with recent college results we did pretty well. For the record, the best results by other college crews in the last ten years are: Oriel 55th in 1999, Emmanuel 71st in 2000 and 80th in 2001, Christ's 74th in 2002, Goldie 68th in 2005 and 56th in 2006.

How fast can a college go? With the whole crew training from September and 50% increase in volume (ie similar to top universities), I reckon top 30 is doable. But with the Temple so far out of reach it would be rather pointless.

We also won a trophy. Apparently it's more because of technicalities than speed, but then the whole notion of awarding prizes to lots of crews that didn't come first is quite ridiculous, so we might as well enjoy it. (Tom C)

1. Next year's prizes?
2. Miles posing before ...
3. The real cox gets to...
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