The Club's Results

May Term 2009

4th men's VIII

Cambridge Head-2-Head (Lower VIIIs)

Fastest M4
Time: 15:27
300m before the finish of the second race was leaving it a bit late to learn how to bring the qualities of our low rate rowing into the world of 30+spm, but at least it got done. Commitment was good and thanks a bunch to Laura and Anne who cheered us on and got a lot of photos and videos taken - invaluable for analysing our technique.

Bring on Champs Head - what we need to do now is focus on rate, because that's when we get sloppy. Past that, the only other thing we need is to row in a shell of equivalent standard to our opposition. Make cover, not war. (Jij)
Encouragingly, we were comfortably faster than the boat chasing us in bumps. Less usefully, the boat ahead of us was faster than us, but hopefully we'll be able to change that. We had several factors which made this race quite challenging for us. Firstly, we weren't in our actual boat, as Richard Church was being repaired at the time, and secondly we had only had 3 outings as a crew before the race. As for the race itself, we set off, and wound to a rate which felt comfortable-ish, however at this point the cox box ratemeter broke. We settled, and then proceeded to row relatively mediocrely to the lock. Then proceeded perhaps the most entertaining bit of the race, as we almost succeeded in sending a Girton crew over the weir, but tragically they avoided this fate. The row back was similar, with a particularly bad bit into the headwind down the reach, however we then heard a crew ahead of us, picked up a bit, and over took them under the railway bridge. Pity it was a veteran mixed crew, but hey. All in all, not terribly fast, but probably hugely useful for our bumps campaign. (Swords)

1. Unbalanced
2. Allen inspects his s...
3. Beginning the piece
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Champion of the Thames Eights Head (Men's 4th div. Mays)

5th in M4, 43rd overall
Time: 5:38.6
Firstly, I've had a complaint about lack of paragraph use in my race reports, I'll endeavour to improve.
Anyway, on to the race. As a precursor we recently had an outing in which we were described as rowing very prettily, but with little power, so our focus was to really gun it safe in the knowledge that the course was only about 1.3km long. Our practice start and the paddling up seemed encouragingly powerful and fast, so at spinning we were confident of a solid result...
The race started with a pretty smooth effective start, followed by a wind to what I believe was about 39, but I may be wrong here, however it didn't feel too rushed, and we thought we had set off well. The situation changed rapidly around Ditton corner, as we turned into what amounted to an utterly epic headwind, and rapidly lost boatspeed. The loss of boatspeed led to a more unsettled section of rowing, with people (notably myself) struggling for length as our slide was resisted by the wind. This culminated about halfway down with a minor crab as the wind caught my blade in the middle of attempted feathering, leading to a mistimed catch and crab. I also learnt after the race that at one point the wind moved Aaron's blade so much he lost hold of it with his outside hand.
Anyway, we continued down the the railway bridge, and got back into the wind shadow. Having got out of the conditions, the rowing rapidly picked up, and we appeared to pick boatspeed up quickly, and finish reasonably strongly.
To conclude, it was a disappointing result, as we were beaten by the boat chasing us in bumps, however the weather reports indicate we rowed in about 50% greater windspeed, so not altogether calamitous. The technical ability seemed to be largely there, need to work on the guns though... (Swords)
A pretty solid and committed row in very unpleasant conditions. Our time wasn't helped by being blown off course on the start, and my pretty poor line round Ditton (turning right in Richard Church is still a subtle art I have yet to master). I thought the rowing was some of the best we have done to date, with a real sense of the boat being lifted and sent, particularly when we got out of the wind and could get to full compression and square up without having to sacrifice one in favour of the other. Perhaps we went off too hard, but this was probably the injection of power we needed to feel.

Regarding the disappointing result, the concensus is that conditions were so vastly different between divisions for the results not to be reliable, so we should not be too discouraged by being beaten by LMBC 4 and other boats we were expecting to outperform. That said, Caius 3 were in the same division, so while there is no need to be depressed about our result, there is no room for complacency either. (Tom L)
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Cambridge 99's Regatta (4th and lower division)

Quarter finals
Opposition scratched
Leaving us to paddle around a bit and find out how we coped with the Black Prince. The answer was, with me throwing my weight around in the bow seat (but much less than in M1 or M2) we were pretty well sat, so we rowed up to the P&E and sat there for a while. (Peter)
Semi finals
Opposition disqualified
Racing against queens' M3 was always going to be tough, however we were significantly boosted by a change in the draw which meant we were allowed to use a shell rather than Richard Church. We set off and were about a seat down after about 30 seconds, and on our line. At this point Queens' veered into us, and there was a blade clash, in our water. This resulted in a loss of power on bowside, as we couldn't get our catches in as their blades were in the way, and Tom had to go for left rudder to keep us straight, further slowing us. We then disengaged, and rowed on, however this had largely wrecked our already pretty poor rhythm, so our pushes were a bit ineffective, and we crossed the line about a length and a half down. However we soon learnt that Queens' were disqualified, so were back up again in the final. A bit disappointing to have won in contentious circumstances, but not a bad effort seeing as we had done 1 start in a shell, and only one burst at greater than 28 before the race started. (Swords)
So Queens' rammed us off the start, it's debatable as to how much that contributed to us crossing the finish second but the marshals were sticking fast to the rules, and after several warnings they were DQ'ed.

Anyhow, if we row like we did in that race, crash or no crash we would have lost anyway. Very lucky to get that, and Queens' would probably be right to be quite disappointed that a mistake like that cost them a race they could well have won. Such is rowing however, but the least ideal way to go through to the next round. (Jij)
So the rowing wasn't great. I think we were still getting used to a boat moving under us faster than usual... Catch and finish timing was poor, hand heights were all over the place and the rush was something quite special. I do think the crash contributed a reasonable amount to this, particularly when I found my blade hitting the top of another blade rather than the water at the catch... I think Swords suffered the same. Not helpful for boat rhythm. We rowed like dickheads and the result is indeed fortunate but stuff happens, you move on. (Tsunami)
A novel row and result. All semblance of timing, bladework and other good things disappeared and we spacked our way along. 15 strokes in Queens' decided to head into our water, and in spite of me using up precious air shouting at them to move over they continued into us, and 3, 5 and 7 clashed with their strokeside for half a dozen strokes. They moved back out, settled into their rhythm and rowed clear to win by something over a length.
I appealed semi-automatically as we crossed the line, and was rather surprised to discover a few minutes later that Queens' had been disqualified. I'd probably expect that result in an ARA regatta, but I wasn't expecting coxes to be held to the same standards here. Whatever. (Peter)
The start felt reasonable, perhaps a little rushed, but after the first 25 strokes, albeit with a little encouragement from feeling Queens blades on bowside clashing continuously for about 25 seconds (and some not particularly pleasant but probably necessary evasive action from me), the rowing disintegrated badly. Catches stopped going in, people stopped tapping down, people forgot to square, dragged themselves up the slide, and the rhythm felt dreadful. It's not particularly surprising therefore that we lost (before the disqualification was given) by the margin we did.

If there's one thing that makes our crew fast, it's technique. It has been pointed out to us by almost all our coaches that (especially when we row in RC) our main problem is a lack of raw power. This is a difficult problem to correct quickly. A much easier problem to correct quickly is to make sure that next time we hit rate 36 for a 1k piece we treat it like rate 26 but faster, and we can then really take advantage of the technique we have been complimented on during outings. That said, as our first piece at rate in a racing shell it wasn't as awful as one could make out, and there was still full committment coming from most of the boat.

As regards the result, it could be argued that the blade clash stressed us out and caused the drop in technique. If so, we have a real psychological issue to overcome before bumps, where equally offputting things will probably happen. Unlucky to Queens who rowed an excellent race, and we didn't enjoy winning it by disqualification. (Tom L)
Final
Beat Clare Hall by a third of a length
This race started far more effectively than the last, perhaps unsurprisingly as we had now rowed at least a kilometre at rate. We went a seat up pretty quickly, and then gradually took about half a length out of them. We sat at about that until near the railway bridge where they pushed, and gained on us, however we still had a counter push left in us, and emptied the tanks to hold them behind us up to the line to record a victory. The race was still a bit scrappy, however the power and commitment is very much there, particularly when this was the crew we will be chasing in bumps. On that front it was disappointing not to beat them by more, giving us confidence for bumps, but hopefully with more training we can do something about that. (Swords)
Better rowing, but still not optimal. We need to work on that high rate if we're to get anything worthwhile in Bumps. Rowing in 801 today gave us the edge over a crew that were 20 or so seconds quicker than us over 1.3km last week, and we didn't row as well as we did last time. Kinda puts it all into perspective - losing the Janousek is going to cost us a result we deserve in the Bumps.

Both crews made a decent start but we steadily left them behind until about halfway down the reach where they stopped falling back. Then just under the railway bridge Clare Hall made a valiant push and took nearly all the ground back. A final, well placed 'up 2' call from Tom Lovering finalised the win as we left them behind once more just before the finish line.

A very tight win, and a very worthy opposition. Glad to have raced them. (Jij)
My view of the distances was slightly different to everyone else's, but I wasn't hugely aware of what was going on in the other boat so maybe they're right. I really wasn't expecting much from this race, Clare Hall looked pretty big and had beaten these guys by 39s over 4k earlier in term. Maybe we scared them earlier with our flair easying; not sure many crews in Div 4 can easy in a racing shell, sit the boat for 10s, and carry on rowing.
Whatever, we took most of half a length early on with a semi-decent start, the stride wasn't particularly ridiculous, and we settled probably a quarter of a length up. At this point I was quite worried; with a crew who'd shown some pretty ropey bladework under pressure in the previous race, sitting 1/4 of a length up on a closing crew is probably about as hard mentally as it gets. Both the power and the technique held together well though, and we sat more or less there to the finish, with them closing a little through the railway bridge. The power I could put down varied with the togetherness through the race, but in what I assumed to be the good bits (in that I could pull very hard) we took a few seats in not many strokes, then drifted back again. We came towards Morley's Holt probably a canvas up on them, with the stagger taking it out to the esoteric official margin of 1/3 of a length.
I can't remember the last time I competed in a race this close; it's conceivable it was 4 years ago where I won a sculling race by the truly bizarre margin of "305mm", judged by eye after a free start... Anyway, this was a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon's entertainment, and I hope the crew manages to take some of its finesse into rowing at rate over the next fortnight, and starts to realise the potential locked away in these lightweights. (Peter)
And so we did move on and got on with it. I guess this one felt a lot more chunky and marginally less rushed, rhythm felt better. We moved off them from the start and it was nice to hear from our cox that we had something to push off of. It really came down to the wire and we pulled clear of them for a few seats after they seemed to blow up under the railway bridge.

Certainly going to be quite a task bumping these boys on the first day but it's certainly progress from the Head-2-Head result. We lost to these guys by a good 30 seconds or so during that race. To come back and beat them a couple of weeks later is really quite awesome. Then again the lighter shell may have had quite a part to play in it. Pity that we won't be able to use it come bumps day. Although it'll perhaps cost us the bump, you move on.

Good to see this crew is carrying on the form from last term. You still can't stop us motherf**kers cause we're still on a boat ;).

Many thanks again to our bankparty and particularly to Pete for subbing in for us today :). (Tsunami)
Hell, this was an exciting race. Comparable to the almost incredible final of Pembroke Regatta last Lent term (before some unfortunate steering resulting in LMBC III being disqualified). Knowing these guys would be ahead of us on day 1 of Mays, this would be an important result.

We had a good start, and managed to build the lead to about a seat and a half by the kink, but both crews were looking fairly even, so as it translated into about 3 seats after the kink it could still have gone either way. We then put in an impressive push and built the lead to approaching a length.

However, our rowing was starting to flag noticeably coming under the railway bridge and with the advantage of the inside corner, Clare Hall put in their killer push to draw back to a position of almost level behind (though with the staggered finish it was difficult to judge the actual margin). It came down to the last ten strokes or so, when we managed to pull a little bit more energy out of the bag and grab the win, but heavens it was close.

Congratulations to Clare Hall on an impressive row. We still have a lot of work to do if we are to bump them on day 1.

Thanks to Liz, Anne, Pedro and Laura for their revision procrastination in supporting from the bank at various times, and to Peter Ford for subbing in at bow. (Tom L)

1. Clearing the puddles
2. Coming past the boat...
3. On the way home
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May Bumps

Wednesday
Rowed over
Unfortunately perhaps the two fastest boats in the bottom of div 4 are right next to each other. Hard row over, we started to row properly after Ditton and took off 3/4 of a length. But it was not to be; it was a little too late and we didn't make the bump. Once again Clare Hall proved to be a formidable opposition, and it's always a pleasure racing against these gentlemen.

We're bringing the fight to day 2 lads. (Jij)
For our first bumps race in the still fairly unfamiliar shell I thought the rowing was brilliant. There are definitely things we can work on, most notably the bladework into and out of corners and keeping together and relaxed during the recovery (especially coming into the catch), but I do think we should be really quite satisfied with how today's rowing went. The whole crew response to the 'up 2' coming up the reach was magnificent, as we seemed to find half a length in amazingly little time. Let's build on it tomorrow. (Tom L)
A fairly reasonable row on the first day considering the potential nerves and all the various things that could have gone wrong. All in all, the row was fairly solid and the commitment and effort was certainly there. Although the result was disappointing, we do have a reasonable platform to build on tomorrow when we start afresh.

Having said that, much of the technical side of things could have been better. A great deal of momentum was lost around the corners and much of the rowing was scrappy particularly around the back end. It is a pity that much of our focus on posture, hand heights and loose catches that we'd worked on at low rates were not carried through at race pace. Perhaps a little too much adrenaline had made things all a bit too frantic for comfort. A little more focus on moving together and pulling together with the rest of the crew rather than rowing our balls off individually may have paid more dividends.

Having said that, we do indeed have a strong platform to build on, there's bags of potential in the crew. If we can keep our heads and not get overwhelmed by the situation, there's much to be gained in the next couple of days. (Tsunami)
So much committment from such an excellent crew. I really enjoyed bankpartying you today. A decent start had you one length in and you held them on station throughout, except on the Reach where massive pushes brought you closer, 3/4 length near the bridge.

A disappointing result, but there's a very good chance of doing very well tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to your race then. (Mark)
All the talk before the race was about overbumping a truly awful Jesus IV crew 3 stations up on us. However, we were foiled by the extent of their awfulness, they got bumped somewhere on First Post reach, near the Motorway bridge if I remember correctly. This left us chasing Clare Hall M1.

Anyway, to start from the beginning, our start was okay, not as good as we can do, however we were still up to one whistle after about 20 or so strokes. At this point TJ's seat blew up at seven, so he spent about 5 strokes fixing that, then rejoined us. This unfortunately killed any momentum we had out of the start, and pretty soon they were back out to station.

We continued on, pretty much just sitting on station on them, however were rowing really pretty badly by our standards, until we had completed the corners. When we arrived at the reach Tom called a push, and as a boat we seemed to find some form, and actually start rowing properly, and pulled them back to around 3/4 of a length at one point, however it was all too late and we crossed the line about a length behind them.

All in all a pretty disappointing row, however there was one massive bonus. We had the amusing sight of watching Maggie 4 coming round grassy when we were somewhere near the Plough. By the end we had about 6-7 lengths on them... (Swords)
Thursday
Overbumped Corpus II
Y'all sure have the longest race reports of all of the crews... Congrats on the overbump today, guys! (Laura)
Having seen Jesus IV get taken out fairly rapidly by Corpus II the previous day, we'd expected that Clare Hall would make mincemeat of them. Indeed, around about the railway bridge that was exactly what had happened.

We'd got off to a fairly solid start, seems the first day nerves had faded and we'd manage to keep our heads and what felt like a fairly relaxed 38 turned out to be around rate 42-44 at the peak of the wind strokes. We settled about fifteen strokes in to a rate of 38 before lengthening it out to something more sustainable. Calls from the bank had told us we had moved on Clare Hall so we were confident that we had a fairly solid foundation for the rest of the race.

After the crews ahead inevitably bumped out, it was down to us to close down the remaining four or so lengths we'd had between Corpus and ourselves at the gut. Rounding grassy corner, we knew it was do or die. The lungs were really starting to burn by now but we soldiered on, chipping away the distance along Plough Reach.

Coming round Ditton and onto the long reach, Tom called a massive 20 on the legs and we really went for it, closing the gap further. By now, the posture and technique was starting to go and an up two call really brought the crew back together bring us to a length and giving us our first whistle. By now, we were dying by we knew the other crew was going to be hurting a lot more. Whistles came in quick succession and their game was over pretty fast. An absolutely massive result for us. It's times like these that make all the training worthwhile.

Nonetheless, it's no reason to get complacent about the coming days. Pembroke were allegedly pretty close to overbumping Clare III today so tomorrow is not going be easy, particularly with Clare Hall on our tails. As ever, there remain many technical points to sort out and plenty of focus is still needed on moving more as a crew and keeping our heads in the midst of chaos rather than getting too frantic. Having said that, I reiterate that there's bags of potential in this crew. If we keep our heads and keep doing what we do, things should go well in the next couple of days.

Many thanks again to Mark, John, Emma and the rest of our wonderful bank party for giving us the calls that kept us going today. We wouldn't have managed this without you. (Tsunami)
So, today in the M4 boat wasn't drastically dissimilar from yesterday. Just more stuff to hit. The corners were improved quite a lot, and we managed to start rather better (taking it to a rate which seemed a little low, and a quick coxbox check revealed was actually 42 - 4 higher than usual), but more importantly we really rowed our own race again with the same level of committment, and unlike day 1 there were more realistic rewards in sight, though they were tough to take, but we really took them. May the stuff to hit keep coming :).

Many thanks to Mark and Kiely for bankpartying us, especially for the really motivational distance calls from Mark (who understands that a gap of 3 lengths and a gap of 5 lengths don't look that dissimilar from the cox's seat). (Tom L)
I missed three catches today.

1. First Post Corner: oddly the one I was really meant to take well. Emma screamed for me to catch quicker and I airstroked hard, but luckily with Shot-sauce for backup and me recovering to a motion that bore more resemblance to rowing (in that there was a catch and a finish and some movement in between) we cornered First Post just fine.

2. The Reach: I really wanted to put my blade in the water but a curious plastic thing got in my way. I hit the water again halfway through the drive.

3. The Reach, one stroke later: I hit the weird plastic thing again and I realised that it was the stern of Corpus II. By this time people were calling to hold it up. Hopefully the last two missed catches won't be held against me.

Bring on tomorrow. But more importantly bring on sleep zzzzzzzzz. (Jij)
Incredibly well done guys!!! You were bloody arrogant (Richard) but obviously it was justified. I'm so happy for you, and I love seeing a boat full of leaves row by so keep it up! :) (Julia A.)
Well, this was fun. On the way to marshalling I spotted a friend of mine in the Corpus II stroke seat, so I told him we were going to overbump him. I imagine he thought I was joking...

Anyway, the race progressed as planned, with Clare Hall hitting Jesus very early. After some minor issues with clearing easily navigated by Tom we settled into the task of catching Corpus II. The rowing was pretty good at the start, however drinking too much water before the race started to tell it's toll on me, as I was retching pretty hard. Jij also took an interesting take on cornering by airstroking merrily round First Post. However down Plough reach our rowing, although not pretty, was just more powerful than Corpus, and 4 lengths became 3, then a slightly wide line from Corpus added to an up 2 call from Tom took that to 2 lengths. At this point they fell apart completely, and when we got a whistle it was a done deal.

The next few whistles came mercifully quickly, and we hit them somewhere before the railway bridge.

All in all, not our usual exhibition pretty rowing, however it seemed to work. Tomorrow we'll have to row well to stay away from Clare Hall until we either row over or hit something ahead of us. All that remains to be said, is yeah buddy :) (Swords)
It was incredible bankpartying this race. Clare Hall dispatched Jesus IV around the motorway bridge as expected and the overbump was definitely on as Corpus failed to make ground on Pembroke ahead.

Through the Gut Corpus were going round Grassy and coming up to the Plough 4 lengths was called which shortly went down to 3 lengths and then 2 coming round Ditton.

The whistles soon followed and FaT IV reclaimed the IVth headship in style by overbumping in the straight leading up to the Railway Bridge. An incredible row! (Mark)
Friday
Bumped by Clare Hall
Richard's bankside text update: "4th men bumped whilst only 2 lengths off the double overbump". 'Nuff said. There are two exceptionally fast crews in the bottom of the fourth division. We are one of them. Unfortunately, Clare Hall are the other, and today they rowed better than us. Simple. (Tom L)
An evidently disappointing result for many crew members. It's hard to pinpoint precisely what went wrong. Perhaps much of it was psychological. The generally feeling was that Clare Hall had brought their A game and we had failed to respond, our game was up.

Our start had felt reasonable, but our general rowing had an air of complacency and perhaps a lack of concentration. The technical faults that we had shown on the previous days were all too obvious by reach. The gap was closed down steadily down the course before they put us out of our misery just before the railway bridge. Perhaps the physical strain of the last couple of days had really started to take its toll on us. After all, it's never easy to row balls to the wall three days running for 2.5K.

Excuses aside, we broke. Be that either physically or mentally, we didn't do what we needed to do when it mattered and Clare Hall were the better crew on the day. Our tendency to get flustered when a crew closes in on us was all too reminiscent of the situation with Queens last term. It seems we still haven't learned and perhaps ought to grow a pair. Hardening the fuck up and not rowing like dickheads when a crew closes probably helps with being successful in bumps racing.

Jokes aside, a focus on keeping our head in our own boat throughout the race is perhaps something to bear in mind for the final today tomorrow. The crew certainly has potential, a bit more focus and concentration could go a long way to realising it. (Tsunami)
Well, this was hardly ideal. 2 pretty average practice starts, and a complete absence of the usual M4 pretty paddling didn't exactly bode well for today's race, and it seemed that most people's heads were in the Clare Hall boat rather than our own.

We were pretty slow off the start, and Clare Hall rapidly gained the first whistle on us. We failed to make any serious impression on the Pembroke III crew ahead of us, and they bumped Trinity Hall III at some point near first post if I remember correctly. We continued on with us periodically pulling away from Clare Hall when we decided to row, and them gaining on us when we spacked about. At some points they got to about half a length off, but we held them off reasonably until the reach. Here we actually rowed alright-ish, however unfortunately, so did they, and push and counter push lead to them being a canvas off. We then held them there for pretty much the entirety of the reach before a massive push on their part led to us going down just before the railway bridge.

When we finished it transpired that we were two lengths off a double overbump, so it is ultimately frustrating that on the one day when we had a real chance to do some serious damage we elected to produce some of our most awful rowing. A failure to concentrate on our rowing really cost us today, hopefully it won't happen to anybody in this crew again. (Swords)
Saturday
Rowed over
This row was symptomatic of our crew, and the bumps we have had. We set of at a relatively calm 42 odd, settled to a chunky 38, and then everybody else in front of us bumped out. We were left chasing a triple overbump, and despite the fact that we had planned to chase it, a triple overbump was possibly a touch optimistic. We still took about 10-11 lengths off it, which over 2.5K is reasonably massive.

It is a great pity that we didn't produce today's row yesterday and escape from Clare Hall, and probably double overbumpe St Catz III, but these things happen. In all, our bumps was pretty quick, however a combination of unfortunate starting position, and never finishing a race before the kink in the reach led to what many will agree was a disappointing final result. This years plan is therefore to get massive, and then come back and destroy everybody. Yeah Buddy (Swords)
A row over, and an end to an iconic bumps. We retook the M4 headship and found great and worthy sparring partners with Clare Hall M1, who throughout the term have been our main rivals, main motivation and also a great bunch of blokes to be on the river with. Today's row went well. Our start was the most sat of any day - the boat dipped slightly to bowside on the 3rd wind stroke but did not do so again until the outflow. The rowing was gutsy, Tom was inspiring, and it was clear that each crew member was willing to destroy themselves for each other.

We emptied the tanks but unfortunately only managed to gain about 10 or 11 lengths on the triple overbump crew by the end of the course. We just weren't fast enough, probably because we didn't train enough during the term. It's kinda unfortunate because that would have been the equivalent of a kilo of icing on a not very substantial bumps cake. And everyone loves icing.

Before the May Ball we will be going for a technical paddle to get back into rowing but then the pussyfooting around will stop. We're going to hit the weights room massively, keeping up with the lightweights training regime. We will impose a minimum weight per rower of 65kg, because it was a bit ridiculous being under this the whole term. This crew will lose some members, but will gain others from the other teams at FaT, and will become something more massive than before. What is more massive than the M4 Massive Headship Challenge Crew? Mate, I'll be damned if I know. (Jij)

1. Overbumping
2. Moving up First Post...
3. Bows riding high
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