The Club's Results

Lent Bumps 2009

1st men's VIII

Coxed by: Emma Salgård Cunha
Coached by: Jon Davies, Tom Rose,

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
[more...]


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