The Club's Results
Lent Bumps 2009
The famous Cambridge University Bumps on the River Cam
Tue 24th - Sat 28th February
In the press
Cambridge News articles can be found here.
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Rowed over Head
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.
I'm keen for the coming days!
Rowed over Head
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.
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.
Rowed over Head
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?
Rowed over Head
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.
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.
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.
1. As Close As It Got
2. Rowing Over Head
3. Headship medal
Bumped by Emmanuel
Bumped by Jesus
We knew Jesus would give it all off the start due to a fast Downing chasing them, and our aim was to hold them off for long enough so that Downing would have a shot at the Headship later in the week. Unfortunately our lack of momentum round First Post meant that Jesus closed rapidly and we were bumped on the entrance to the Gut.
Our lack of experience showed today, as it did yesterday, but every time we go out there we build on that experience, so come Mays, and even next Lents, we'll be in a better position to fight back.
We were quite sure that Downing would bump us at some point, so our plan was to make it as hard as possible for them. With a demoralising bump on Thursday it was a case of damage limitation.
Our start was not perfect, but much better and a lot more relaxed than Wednesday or Thursday despite Downing getting an early whistle at First Post. That was the last whistle I heard from behind and we managed to stride (finally!) to 30 before squeezing to our race rate of 32. By this stage Jesus had opened the gap by an extra length or so.
We had a good Grassy corner thanks to bowside, and a good push into the Plough. By this stage I noticed Jesus wasn't getting any smaller. A tight Ditton thanks to strokeside pressure brought us back on station with Jesus, and an almighty push followed by an excellent rhythm brought us our first whistle (confusing several in the boat, given Downing was far behind!). A quick check of the cox box showed 31, and I could see ahead that Jesus was rating much higher than us, and their faces showed exhaustion. This was followed shortly by two blasts, the Jesus cox steering to the left and my voice apparently going up in pitch.
Absolutely loving the ride at this stage another squeeze got us three, then a continuous whistle. Calls to steer left along with a bumps push were followed by bow hitting 7's blade, creating an unusual double cross shape on the bumps chart, and completely messing up people's BumpIt predictions...
Utterly ecstatic, we don't care how the rest of bumps goes. We proved we weren't a spooning crew and we deserved a place high in the table, despite our general lack of experience.
***Video*** at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tm4V21WVtKo
Not many nerves existed now since there was nothing to really lose. Even if we were bumped we had already stopped the general consensus that we would go a long way down, and that made us very happy.
We showed that, despite having a slower start, we were quicker than Jesus over the course, and we knew that Jesus would have their whistles early on in this race.
Our start was perhaps the best out of all our bumps races, but the stride took a little longer than yesterday. Jesus got two whistles very early on and for quite a long time too, around First Post and into the Gut - turned out to very optimistic given there was still about a length between the boats during this time(?)
No more whistles followed and we opened up the gap from then on. Onto the Plough we were probably about on station with Emma, if a little out, but coming around Ditton Emma gradually opened up the gap until the end showing their speed and strength.
An excellent row from Emma who showed how they deserved the Headship this time round, but also an excellent row from the girls who beat the odds to drop no further than 2nd.
To overcome so many disappointments with injury, obvious from our performance at Pembroke Regatta, and no permanent replacement up until a week before bumps we have done ourselves proud.
Many thanks to all our supporters, and especially to Julijana for subbing in whenever we've needed her, to Kim for being our lifeline, to Jenny and Anne for supporting us on the bank, and of course to Iain who kept us going through the rough times and got us up to speed despite all of the hurdles.
We're already so up for fighting for it back next year.
Bumped by Peterhouse
Bumped by Girton
1. 2nd men row through ...
2. Jesus struggling (bu...
3. Leading the division...
On the plus side, we pulled a long way away from the crews chasing us, and Darwin are certain to make mincemeat of Emmanuel on Thursday so hopefully come Friday we'll have something to hit. Today's rowing was messy but fun in a way, and definitely far from our worst performance.
Bumped by Queens' II
However, based on the previous day there's no good reason for us to have let this happen, so tomorrow we'll be switched on, aggressive, and rowing properly again.
It's an unfortunate result but we're confident that we can pull things together and row to an acceptable standard and recover from this setback. Shit happens, the rest of the week is a test of whether we can harden up and get over it.
It was clear from the first half of the race that if we know we have to row really well, we can do, we just have to have something to motivate us right from the start, like chasing the crew in front. Even in the second half when our technique was poor we showed that we can still move the boat well if we just commit ourselves properly. I'm happy with the result and I think we have a good platform to go from tomorrow, we just need to not get complacent again, everyone else has caught Emma but that doesn't mean we will if we don't put in everything we've got. It's the last day, we need to go all in because that's what they'll be doing too.
After 50 strokes we had put plenty of clear water between ourselves and Selwyn, and may have closed slightly on Queens but not close enough for a whistle. However, just round first post corner Emma and Queens bumped out, and managed to park right across the river. We held it up, waited 10 seconds, and as Selwyn zoomed towards our stern were gently advised by RTT to get rowing again. Thanks, Tom!
So we resumed with Selwyn inside half a length and pushing enthusiastically for the bump, but we made sure the outcome would not be in doubt by gradually pushing them back off until we were back outside station at the finish. For me the moral is that even when rowing poorly, bringing the right attitude gives the boat a couple of extra pips. We only have ourselves to blame for what happened yesterday, but Queens will probably go on to get their blades and I think it's fair to say they've done enough to deserve them.
The scores on the doors:
Jurassic crab recovery 9/10
Desire to throw RTT into the Cam - 11/10
Where we gained was commitment. We didn't care that even if Selwyn bumped us it would be a technical row over anyway because we had to hold it up until they were within a half length of us. All we cared about was dominating them, putting them off-station by the time we crossed the line, just because we believed we could. They didn't make it easy for us, as they were committed and determined too. But we need more of this bloody-mindedness if we're to succeed tomorrow.
All in all however, rowing over has never felt so good.
UPDATE: Now Bumps is over I definitely nominate this as our finest hour.
Bumped Emmanuel II
We should probably have done a bit better than staying level, but that's Bumps, complacency on day 2 led to our current situation.
But still, a committed and gutsy row. Pity about the technique, but there you go.
Gentlemen, it's been an epic term and I have to say I could not have wished for more from a crew. You boys have been FUCKING AWESOME. 2 wins in Robinson Head an Pembroke Regatta and holding onto our already high position for a 3rd VIII in bumps is a pretty decent achievement lads. The banter has been immense and I owe a big thank you to the rest of the boys for making this term so worthwhile (and generally putting up with my arsey-ness).
Gents: Massive. Indeed. You can't stop us motherfuckers cause we're on a fucking boat. Yeah Buddy ;).
1. Rowing home with gre...
2. Setting off home
3. M3 are happy after b...
It was pretty controlled off the start (the real one...) and we wound to about 38 before settling around 33. By grassy we were inside a length and a solid push saw us close to half a length by ditton. However we died a bit round the corner and they were able to pull ahead. Not long before the finish they crabbed and we steadily gained on them, but it was too little too late and they crossed the line about half a length clear.
Tomorrow we are chasing Wolfson who we should catch, which means we are still on for going up a division.
As more information came through it seemed like you had rowed over half a length of... Therefore it was a pleasant surprise when the radio guy asked a marshall who said simply 'FaT bumped Wolfson.'
The start felt nice - it's going to take more than a crab and some over optimistic whistles from the crew behind to unsettle us. We ditched the stride and powered along at 36 round first post and grassy where some nice pushes saw us fend off Clare and move within a length of Wolfson. At ditton it all got interesting. They went wide and a solid push from us saw us close to half a length. Then an even better push saw us close the gap steadily with every stroke. At this point everyone on the bank was screaming at me to steer over, but apparantly I go deaf in races. We hit them eventually with their bow over the line. Phew!!!
Thanks to Wolfson for a great race and to their cox for pulling us in when marshalling. Cheers, much appreciated. Thanks to the girls for getting me my first bump and sorry to our bank party for making it so tense.
Tomorrow we have nothing chasing us and have a longer course to have another go at Corpus over. Hopefully we can keep it together in the second half of the race and take the bump that eluded us yesterday.
Rowed over as sandwich boat
Rowed over Head
We were confident for the row over having bumped Wolfson earlier in the week, but we knew that they would be behind us for a fair bit. Our start was clean but lacked power and this let them take some distance off us in the gut, but after we came round grassy (a bit tight...) a series of pushes saw us pull away. By the time we came onto the reach there was loads of clear water between the crews and then Clare II bumped Wolfson at ditton. We wound it down to complete an enjoyable row over.
Bumped St. Edmund's as sandwich boat
Keen to get Corpus tomorrow!
The start was powerful and controlled, although we may have settled a few pips too high. This didn't really matter as we had planned to be in for the short haul. Once round the corner (without hitting any reeds this time) we were inside a length and moved to within half a length by the bridge. A nice push saw us close the gap even further and we hit them not long after the motorway bridge which turns out not to be the best place in the world to bump due to a slight paucity of greenery. Oh well, with my bumps record I'll take anything.
We've achieved our aim of moving up a division and tomorrow resume our tussle with corpus. Hopefully third time's a charm...
1. Rowing over as sandw...
2. Back of the pack - c...
3. Skewing round Wolfso...
Bumped by Magdalene II
Bumped by Peterhouse II
Technically, it was a little messy but the boat got moving on well enough due to the mountain of power you guys have. Squaring up early will help you, hopefully in the row back you managed to find some of this in Hans's coaching. There was inspired coxing and no-regrets style effort going down during the race.
At the end of the day there is plenty of gratuitous crap I could spew about participation and patting you on the back, but I know this crew isn't about that. This crew is about mental and physical solidarity without cliched bullshit. You keep your fighting spirit and you could have something to celebrate between now and the BCD, whether it's bumping up or just knowing that you left bumps a stronger rower.
Good luck for the rest of the bumps.
^^^^ Think I must have been logged in when this was written. It's fair to say Magdalene had pulled away a fair bit when the bump occured. After evading overlap round Grassy, the seemingly inevitable occured around Ditton. A good try, but it's tough for a 4th VIII in the 3rd division. Let's see what the crew can do after a day's rest.
Bumped Fitzwilliam II
Thankfully that was the row home, and today we also did some of the best rowing this crew has ever done.
I think it's safe to say this was the best race of the week by far, since Caius (who had overlap on us the previous day by Ditton where we bumped) were a good length behind as we ploughed into Fitz.
The only complaint with this row was that we would have hit them quicker had the boat not stopped dead as everyone launched themselves to frontstops every time Hans called for a bumps push - I think by the end though we had worked out what was going on, and our last push was effective.
This was a determined row, everyone gave it their all, and this showed through. This week has been an intense week for this crew, but I am proud of the result despite going down 1 - our rowing has most definitely improved a lot, and indeed, I would be interested to see if Peterhouse could still hit us now. Bring on the Mays!
1. Rowing home with gre...
2. Cracking open the be...
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||8.00|
Ineligible after entering fewer than 3 crews:
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1. Downing cross the li...
2. The new women's head...
3. Dowining chasing Jes...