The Club's Results

May Bumps 2009

1st men's VIII

Coxed by: Natasha Menell

Wednesday
Rowed over Head
First day nerves out the way now... (Thomas)
A good row to get under our belts. The finish margin was 28 seconds which I believe is our biggest yet, but LMBC may have front-loaded or eased off in the later stages with no pressure from behind. (Tom C)
Thursday
Rowed over Head
Didn't do a great job in the first two minutes, if anything we were slower to the Plough than yesterday. It looked like LMBC were trying to outsprint Caius, and were on station with us at the exit of Grassy. From there the margin increased exponentially, and Caius, without the flair to overtake, followed them to the meadow. In case anyone at home is feeling worried, I'll record that Downing were closer on the first day of Lents.

The second half of the course was uneventful. Jesus were well out of contention for the overbump, so we wound down to a comfortable 32 at the railings and finished 35-40 seconds clear. (Tom C)
Friday
Rowed over Head
That was a really harrowing race to watch from the bank. You guys are amazing and you know you're the best. You can hold off Caius, and I know you'll do it again. You're all gods to the rest of us and I have complete faith in you. Go disappoint Caius again!! (Julia A.)
A good race, finished a length and a bit clear. (Tom C)
Saturday
Rowed over Head
First post...YEAH FIRST AND THIRD! (Mark)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZaOFeW5jF0 (Emma)
The row didn't feel as pretty as Friday's, but it certainly had the guts. A little rough around the edges, everyone could feel the exhaustion from the previous three days.

We won the headship on Friday, we won it by breaking Caius at the Railway Bridge. Today we knew we could do it, but we also knew it'd be hard, and it was a question of going out there, having the guts to execute our plan and prove ourselves worthy of the first Mays headship retention since 1967, 42 years ago. Job done!

Everyone in this crew owes great thanks to everyone who contributed to making this boat go fast, in particular coaches. Tom Rose and Jon Davies have devoted endless hours on their bikes coaching and we are tremendously priviledged to have these guys. We also owe great thanks to Iain who contributed a lot of advice, some coaching and was a very calming influence on the towpath during bumps week - when he pushes you off you know you have one less thing to worry about!

I am excited for next Mays - Ra Ra First and Third! (Flo)
Many, many CONGRATULATIONS for finally claiming our record after 42 years and coming top of the comparison chart.

Four days of thrilling racing. WELL DONE!

I hope you heard the support from the May 1967 crew. Olly Olly First and Third!!! (Fitz67)
I think this set of bumps warrants my second ever race report! The first couple of days were fairly straightforward, although tension began to rise as we saw an unexpectedly fast Caius crew bumping up behind us. We knew that the third day would be tough, and that the result would probably determine the final result too. It turned out to be one of the hardest races I've ever done, with Caius sitting 1/4 - 1/3 of a length off our stern until the railway bridge, at which point we gradually began to move away. Lessons we took from this were that our start was pretty terrible and lost us about 1/2 length, and that we needed to go much harder down Plough Reach which was where Caius seemed to really go for the bump. On a positive note, at no point did anyone panic and we produced our best row as a crew, finishing in 7:38. The fourth day was much less eventful. Caius never seemed to come inside a length (from my view anyway, could be wrong) partly as a result of a much better start from us. We pushed hard down Plough Reach and the rest, as they say, is history.
Many thanks to all the people who came to cheer for us, especially the fleet of bikes on the meadow side! Also many thanks to Caius for such a fantastic couple of races and for being such good sports about the result. To be continued next year! (R.J. Fletcher)
Almost two months later, and Ive finally got round to writing a race report. I still dont know what to think of this, and its probably fair to say we came very close to becoming a cautionary tale. The saturday before bumps, we were bumped in under 500m by Downing in sparring, and only a few days before that Pembroke had done the same (with the help of Kieran West). Knowing that neither crew was realistically in range was small consolation, as we suspected that Jesus, at least, were of similar speed to them. Quite how this could happen, after the successes of the previous term, was uncertain, and Sasha and myself probably both wondered what we could be doing wrong. Our problems were due in part to an inability to transfer a fast head course speed in to the faster speeds required on shorter courses, but more importantly an awful lot of complacency. After that saturday, our aim changed from rowing over uncontested to rowing over at all, and believing that in two outings we couldnt make any further improvement.

Fortunately for us, this turned out to be wrong. After sunday off, we rowed off on monday, and suddenly the boat felt different. We finally managed to rate above 40 properly, and although we knew that we were never going to be as quick off the start as the tidier crews starting behind us, we did have this email from Flo to inspire us:

HERE WE GO NOW BOYS, PLOUGH REACH BURN, IN TWO, IN ONE, PLOUGH REACH BURN N O W, MASSIVE!!!
So looking forward to coming out of Grassy and just motoring it down Plough Reach, fucking off into the distance.

For Plough Reach Burn the water is going to be on fire...

I've never been as keen for a race as this. May bumps here we go!

Thought that deserved to have a permanent record made of it... We were perhaps fortunate on the first day to have LMBC behind us, as we didnt regard them as the major threat to the headship. This proved to be accurate, their higher rate no match for superior power as we cruised over 28s ahead of them. More worryingly however, Jesus were rapidly bumped by Caius at Grassy, and looked to me to be well inside station on us at that point. So the next day didnt hold much worry for us in terms of being bumped, but would show us how good Caius actually were, and whether the much-lauded Jesus crew had just been surprised off the start or possibly if they were just as bad as they had looked in training. All three crews moved quickly off Jesus from the start, Caius closing on LMBC as we began to pull away ourselves. We expected Caius to fade away at this point, having been promised that they were merely fast starters. Instead they continued to close, and out of Ditton LMBC went wide in a dubious effort at avoiding the bump. Caius however followed them across and struck rapidly, with us around half a length outside station at this point. We rowed over sedately, though still appearing to gain ground from Jesus.

The theory for the third day was that once we got on to the reach, there wouldnt be a crew with the fitness to stay with us. A poor start, and it looked like we mightnt get past grassy, with Caius inside a length out of first post and continuing to close down the gut. Out of grassy with around half a length the plough reach burn was unleashed, and probably gained a seat, though to the spectators and myself it looked like a temporary reprieve. A good ditton maintained the distance, but they closed slightly as we hurtled down the reach, and by now I was not the only one wondering when their promised epic blow-up would be. Tom Rose had promised to give the order from the bank to begin the reach burn, but with the noise of the supporters on the bank we heard none of this, and just kept going as hard as possible to try to hold out for as long as possible. At the railings it looked to me that they had overlap, and they appeared to begin steering for the bump, although Im told at this point they were still a quarter of a length off us. This probably cost them speed, though they were still fast enough to stay at this distance until the P&E, where we pushed a bit of water out to make ourselves more comfortable as we rowed over, with the crews behind our pair long distant.

The final day held less fear for us. Having already shown them that we could beat them, we knew that every stroke the race took the more they would question their ability to catch us. We also knew that our start could go much better if we didnt spend it looking out of the boat to see whether theyd gained on us yet. But after three row-overs tiredness was beginning to take its toll, and the possibility of making the small slip that would cost us the headship often crossed my mind. But we were wished luck by most of the other crews, and even the Cauis women looked a bit interested in us. The start was clean, but still couldnt hold them fully. As the video below shows, they probably got to about three quarters of a length off us at grassy, but then we threw everything at them in an elongated plough reach burn, and moved almost back to station. Down the reach the two crews held their ground far ahead of the other colleges, before the final onslaught that must leave ones dreams shattered for another year. Our fantastic support raced down the meadowside and towpath and roared us on as push countered push past the railway bridge, and we moved slightly away. Past morleys holt, and the weeks exertions finally hit home as the wheels began to fall off our boat. Tom O went interesting shades of orange and purple, and the limited technique wed displayed up to that point began to leave us, but by now they didnt have enough time left to catch us, and we limped over the line under a length ahead of them. Though we both knew that they were the faster crew, they came along afterwards to shake our hands, as gracious losers. Next year Im sure theyll be back for more, and with a very strong-looking Pembroke in the mix the 2010 mays crew will need all the resolve and (occasional) skill that we displayed this year. This was my last bumps race for trinity, and first headship, so hopefully anyone who reads this far will forgive the length of the report, but I thought that with the Caius propaganda issued by the Cambridge Standard a full record of what happened would be nice.

Video from Grassy- http://tinyurl.com/mxpexm (I don't think anyone has put this up yet, the crazy shouting person is my mum, while my brother looks a bit disinterested. For some reason the site won't take the full address, or apostrophes?)

P.S. Silas Stafford is my bitch (John)

1. Fantastic sight of M...
2. Rest of the division...
3. Nervously watching t...
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