The Club's Results

Lent Term 2012

1st women's VIII

Cambridge Head-2-Head (1st division)

7th College W1
Time: 16:39
When the time comes each year for Winter Head 2 Head it invokes memories of painful races with scratch crews and miserable weather. This is what I was expecting from the event this year, and in one of the two cases, was pleasantly surprised.
In our race plan I had insisted that we rate no higher than 30, preferably 28, recalling past experiences with too high rates, too early in term (Uni IVs). On the first leg, with the help of the stream and a hefty tailwind, the reach flew by and we were able to develop a nice rhythm with lots of ratio.
On crossing the line, it started to rain. The Met Office had promised me that after a week of miserable conditions, it would not rain today. The Met Office lied. It poured. Thornton and I inspected our wounds in the stern, concerned about contracting one of the many diseases the H2H Safety document implied the Cam contained.
We had a solid start in the second leg, rating 30 with good length and ratio. Our Plough Reach Burn was slightly frantic, but we recovered coming around Ditton. Unfortunately, our wind for the finish induced a larger adrenaline shot than I had intended, as we caught a crab by the white house. In the stern, I wondered if we were towing a fishing net, but Thornton's response soon allayed that fear. A quick analysis of the situation by our cox allowed us to cross the line with 7 people rowing and some creative steering. A shame to end on a low note, but as our first training pieces, the race was a success overall. (Julia A.)
^ top

Robinson Head (1st division)

2nd women's 1st VIII
Time: 4:58
The recent cold weather had us figuring on a 50/50 chance of the race going ahead. Extensive ice on Plough Reach meant that the course was shortened from the spinning area on the reach to men's top finish. The cold made the wait on the reach unpleasant, but Mark kept our spirits up by making this the most medically educational marshaling I've ever experienced.

Matt told us to push hard as the race would be over before we realized, and I was worried that the first half would be spent warming our stiffened muscles.

We built the power nicely from our rolling start and maintained a comfortable 33 for most of the reach. We had been working on time into frontstops on the row up and this paid dividends as the rhythm was good, with enough length and ratio for me to sit comfortably in the 7 seat laying down power.

We wobbled under the railway bridge, and lost a bit of our rhythm and stride. I lost feeling in my fingers and implemented a novice death grip in an effort to make sure my hands stayed on the blade.

Our wind for the finish was scrappy, but did the job. Not very well paced on my part, but I guess pacing doesn't really come into bumps strategy anyway....

Thank you to Mark for braving the temperatures and super subbing, to Matt for braving my tiny bike and bank partying and Yimin for the sympathy measure of taking off his coat to bank party so he'd be cold too. (Julia A.)
Mark gave us a lot to think about on the row down (thank you!), being particularly persistent about eliminating the rush up the slide. Despite the long and carefree queueing, I think this took effect in the race. By carefree I mean focusing on keeping our hands warm and being reminded that hypothermia is one of eight causes of cardiac arrest.

The awareness of how short the race was made us really attack it in the way we hadn't done before, so the Reach felt strong and tidy. A very bad stroke under the Railway Bridge threw us off and we never really got it back completely, but the commitment was still there. Winding for the finish (bump) is something we have to work on, but this performance was definitely a step up.

The general consensus was that starting Bumps like that, or even more front-loaded, was perfectly fine, and that we have to implement that into our training. Definitely the best piece we've done so far. (Nina)
^ top

Pembroke Regatta (1st division)

1st round
Beat Girton I Easily
On the start line, amid waves that were - depending on whether you asked the crew or our bank party- between 1.5 and 0.5 feet peak to peak, I turned to the marshal and asked why we were racing in these conditions. Understandably, he was more concerned with getting everyone straight.

Our start wasn't as panicked as I was expecting, and we got as much power out of the 3 draw as could be expected in the conditions. We moved on Girton on the start and steadily extended our lead. Clipping waves and wobbling slightly, we carried on at 34 for possibly longer than was necessary. I discovered that the perspective on distance is very different from the 7 seat, and was unwilling to wind it down for fear that something disastrous might happen.

Insistent calls from our bank party brought us down to 30, then 28, eventually crossing the line at about 26. A good race for shaking out the nerves. Many apologies to Girton for having to cheer us first, I was concerned about breaking my blade on the bank as we pulled in and forgot to call for it. (Julia A.)
2nd round
Beat Fitzwilliam I Easily
Conditions had calmed slightly, but a trip to the toilet meant we missed our division moving up to the Railway Bridge and we had to row straight up to Ditton. Fordy's commands became garbled in the wind and we missed out the r26 burst, going for a single race-rate burst on the reach before some interesting spinning at grassy.

Our second start felt much like the first, but I particularly enjoyed the wind. It felt neat and together and we moved away from Fitz nicely. There were a few big strokes at the surge, but I felt it wasn't as definite as it could have been. We built up a lead and then began a series of strides to bring the rate down and conserve our energy. There was a bit of confusion on the finish line, with our 'wind down' coming before the whistle, but we didn't feel it would have made much of a difference anyway.

All in all, this race would have been enjoyable without the weather. (Julia A.)
Quarter finals
Beat King's I by 1/2 Length
We were expecting this to be a much more difficult race than the last two. Kings had come close to us in races before, and we knew we couldn't take anything for granted. I was sitting on the start line with significantly more trepidation this time.

I'm not sure what happened off the start, but if we moved on King's, it wasn't by much. The start was good, and we weren't expecting to stride by much, but I was concerned when the rate was sticking at 37. We were sitting at half a length up, very aware that it was still anyone's race. The rate gradually strode out to 34 with length and rhythm, but most of what I could hear was the King's bank party, and I ended up rowing the race by responding to his calls in order to absorb the King's pushes. We probably should have called one of our own to attempt to gain more seats, but the technical lift after the railway bridge accomplished this reasonably.

I thought the margin was closer than Pembroke say it was, but by 300m to the finish, all I was aware of was Kerrie's back.

King's were very gracious after the line, especially with our indecision causing us to block their path. An excellent race. They stuck with us the whole way and were very worthy opponents. Certainly a crew to watch out for in Bumps, and we wish them all the best. (Julia A.)
Semi finals
Lost to Christ's I by 1 1/4 Length
Some people say that mental strength / hardness is innate, that either you've got it or you haven't. This is incorrect. It is possible to toughen up. This crew has toughened up. (Neil T)
We knew this race was going to be difficult. The fact that conditions had calmed and it had turned into a beautiful day buoyed our spirits, as did some nice paddling on the reach.

Our start was probably the best of the day, but they moved on us here, and gradually ate up seat after seat. As they were edging out to clear water around the houses on the reach I called for a push. There was little response, which (I was assured afterwards) was because we were all at max pressure already. In retrospect, I should have called for it earlier in an attempt to gain back a few seats, but I don't believe it would have changed the end result.

After the railway bridge Michael assured us that we were still in the race and we called a series of up 2's. Unfortunately they had little effect.

Christs definitely deserved to win this race, but I hope we gave them a good one.

Thank you to our incredible super sub Hannah, who we dropped into the 3 seat, having not rowed in months, and slotted in perfectly. Neil's presence on the bank raised everyone's spirits, as ever, and all the support and kit was much appreciated!

Thank you to the Pembroke marshals, who were pleasant and very competent in both rain and shine, and wonderfully patient with all of our faffing.

A good day of racing, and a solid platform to take into Bumps. (Julia A.)
^ top

Lent Bumps

Tuesday
Rowed over
Gooooooooo get Emma girls!!! :-D (Ulrike)
Good luck tomorrow. Find that extra bit of speed! (Thomas)
I think this race is best summed up by what I heard from the bank:

"Yeah Michael, great line!"
Michael continuously gave us distance around the corners with brilliant lines. Queens, behind us, took a 'Garcia Bumps line' round Ditton, which distracted me momentarily from the pain.

"Wolfson have dropped out behind you!"
Obviously this was garbled in the distance between the towpath and the river, they must have meant Queens or Christs. However, this call came a good 2 minutes before Christs actually bumped Queens and the epic battle behind us came to an end. However, the confusion did result in more pain relief.

"Remember what they did to you!"
Neil's motivational call seemed frighteningly close to us, to the point where I wondered if he had fallen in the river and was clambering back out. Apparently you can just be heard a lot better from the grass near the water.

*2 faint whistles* - all the way down the reach
We sat in a 2/3 length sandwich consisting of Pembroke, Emma and us for most of the reach, oscillating from time to time. I kept hearing whistles that seemed too faint and the wrong tone. They were so insistent and seemed so close that I wondered if Iain had bought a new whistle. In an uncharacteristic breach of my 'eyes dead ahead' policy, I turned to look at him, realized it was Emma's whistle, and resumed what Neil referred to as a 'personal push' with gusto.

And finally, after the race,
"None of the women at the top of the division were the speed I thought they were."
At least we have a better idea of what we're dealing with tomorrow... (Julia A.)
Having come into Bumps believing (based purely on Pembroke Regatta) that Downing, Caius and Christs were comfortably faster than the rest of the division, I nearly fell off my bike trying to work out what Christs were doing behind us (nearly getting bumped by Jesus before remembering to row a bit faster).
Returning to the race we were involved in, FaT and Emma were fast enough to threaten the crew in front of them, and Emma and Pembroke were tough enough to avoid being bumped. (Peter)
Wednesday
Rowed over
Well done for the row girls - definitely robbed, Pembroke had better watch out :) (Angela)
There's not much to add to the report itself, but the flavour is very different after sleeping on it. After some initial wobbles, all we could feel until Ditton was real commitment to following the race plan, grinding them down inch by inch. Michael and the bank parties report some misterious occurences around Grassy affecting the line, but not the feeling in the boat.

The inch-by-inch approach meant that we didn't have a whole lot to give once we heard the overlap whistle, but the rise in speed was noticeable and we emptied the tank. Drained it completely. In such a situation, with legs all over the place, not even the 2-3 lengths ahead of Christ's were enough to feel comfortable (pardon my incapability to judge from the 4 seat).

Our bank parties found this race great fun, so they were very excited right away. We were overwhelmed with thoughts and questions about what would / could have happened if... But after thorough investigation, the answer is - not much. We still have enough time to achieve our target, and knowing that we can bump Pembroke and hold Christ's off means that we should just go out and do everything as we did today. (Nina)
We got our first whistle at Grassy, lost some distance dealing with the corners poorly, but then gained back to two whistles in our Plough Reach burn.

Michael took a brilliant line round Ditton and we quickly heard 3 whistles, then the overlap whistle. We knew it was make or break, but Emma did too, and used their push off of us to gain on Pembroke.

Motivation to push was lost when they bumped out in front of us and we let it slip until we came under pressure from Christs, giving everyone on the finish line the wrong impression. Never mind. (Julia A.)
Denied! Go get Pembroke tomorrow girls! (Thomas)
Thursday
Bumped Pembroke
Yeeeeeaaaaaahhhhhhhh!!!!

Well done girls (and Michael)! Can't wait to be cheering from the bank tomorrow! (Liz)
Yay! I am so happy for you! Well done!!! I look forward to tomorrow and the bump on Emma. Nothing to lose, just give it all. Ra ra! (Julijana)
First time I have ever seen W1 as the first listed FaT crew. If Julia had said you could reasonably finish second on the river at the start of term, would you have believed her?

Finish the week on a high. Go get Emma. They haven't got anyone to catch to get away from you. Hope to see it all. (Thomas)
The result we wanted, but probably not the way we wanted it.
We were feeling nervous rowing up to the start (in fact, our paddling was so bad that Fordy felt the need to jump in after the race to remind us how to row).
Our start wasn't great, I was distracted by Christs appearing to point into the bank rather than at us. We strode to 40 and kept it high through Grassy. I was concerned about how much Christs were gaining through the corners, and Kerrie kept calling for pushes. Michael responded with calls for length and power, which worked well.
Iain was calling for time over the feet to calm our frantic rowing, and Kerrie tried to change the rhythm, but it was feeling sharp and I wanted to keep it that way through the corners, consoling myself that we would stride properly on the reach.
Michael was excellent, telling us what was going on in front of us and exactly how we were going to respond to it.
I think we heard 2 whistles in Plough Reach, 3 just after coming round Ditton and then overlap on the reach. The whistles came mercifully quickly as we dug deep for a bit more at the end of Pembroke's sprint.
A very welcome result, my first greenery since Mays in my 3rd year. Pembroke gave us a very good fight, and were exceptionally gracious, congratulating us as we paddled past their boathouse. I wish I could have found the wisdom to be as magnanimous last year. All credit to them.
Bring on tomorrow girls! (Julia A.)
Woooooooo!! Go girls :- D (Charlotte C)
A great race. The margins were bit like yesterday, but the girls had the final killer push out of Ditton and finished the job as their blade caught our stern. Hopefully they'll go one further tomorrow and end up 2nd on the river...

To answer Thomas' point, <statto>today is the first time that the 1st Women have been higher on the river than the 1st Men since 1982 - 30 years ago.</statto> (Richard)
Woooooooooooooo!!!!!
So so proud of you girls, amazing! Go finish off Emma now and put yourself in the perfect position to attack Downing next year! (Ulrike)
Friday
Rowed over
Gutted.

To the Emma crew, respect. If I'm ever in a similar situation then I hope I'm able to lift my game and hold my nerve like you did today.

To the FaT crew and our wonderful coaching team, I thank you. It's been immense. (ktj)
Well done girls, a very credible Bumps this Lent term. Bring on the Mays! (Mark)
Well done. I didn't watch this race but I can only assume it was close. I wanted to congratulate you not only for doing well this term, but also for being honourable and fair. When we won in a close race with Emma in Lents 2008, they gave us only offensive words.

And remember, there will be other races to come... (Julijana)
I've been hesitant to write much about how we were feeling during the races, or whether they went as planned since our race plans were almost the same each day. However, with the benefit of hindsight and a long rest in front of me, I'd like to go back to each of the races.

Day 1: We had no idea what we were getting into. The Pembroke regatta results suggested that Christs would bump Queens' early in the race, leaving us with clear water behind so that we could go after Emma without worrying about blowing up. We weren't sure how we measured up against Emma or Pembroke, but were fairly certain that Downing would badger off into the distance.
What actually happened was that Christs and Queens' were behind us for most of the race, and we soon realized that our sprint for Emma might have to be more sustainable than we intended. Some confusion about how to deal with sitting 2/3 of a length off of Emma meant we never really put them under much pressure. We crossed the line largely confused.

Day 2: We resolved to really go for it on Day 2, knowing that Emma had a slower start than us, and figuring that the only reason for Christs appearing to lose a huge amount of speed since Pembroke was that they were holding back, thinking the bump on Queens' was inevitable. Iain came to us after the race the day before and said there wasn't much between us, Pembroke and Emma, but that if we actually settled the next day, we might have a chance. We did attempt to, but were far too excited when we started getting whistles on Emma. It was heartbreaking to get so close and miss, but you don't expect crews to break and give up at the top of the first division. Christs were nowhere until our pressure died significantly on the reach, and they got a few whistles after the railway bridge. By this point, we had stopped worrying about them, and were thinking about trying to bump Pembroke.

Day 3: Frantic, manic, crazed. Iain was not happy. We were after the bump, and it was a fantastic result considering what the women's side has been through in the past year. We were told Pembroke were inside station on Emma when we bumped them, so were focusing on bumping the next day as well.

Day 4: We were cocky. We thought we were going to bump. After coming away from a day with overlap on Emma, we figured they would be terrified of us. As it turned out, they weren't, they kept their heads, and it was day 1 all over again.
We actually did settle this time, albeit only to 35. Better than 40, like on day 3. It was a good row, and I said afterwards that if it had been a 2k head race, I wouldn't have done anything different. We didn't take as much out of them on Plough Reach as we had on days before, and as the race went on, there was no obvious place to make a move. It was committed and it was fast, but it was only when we returned to frantic rowing after the railway bridge that we closed to 1/2 length. It reminds me of not quite bumping Maggie on day 2 in Mays '10, but in reality it was nowhere near that close. However, unlike day 2 this year, the expectation was there.
Fordy said that obviously when both we and Emma rowed well, we were a length faster. We both had good races that day. To their credit, Emma were ladies about it, and seeing the 5 top crews collapsed at the finish line seemed to sum up the Bumps this year.

We have to look at this result in terms of what we, and everyone around us were expecting. My goal for this Lents was to stay level. I wanted to keep W1 within reach of the headship. Instead, we defied the early results, and most of Bumpit, and went up. The headship can still be the target for the crews that come after us, and we've pushed them closer to it. In a race which requires as much sweat and toil and history as Bumps, I think this is the best possible thing we could have done.

Now it's up to you, W1 2013. (Julia A.)
^ top


Facebook Instagram LinkedIn Twitter
If you have any comments or suggestions please email the webmaster. Click here to switch to the darker, gold on blue, design. If you log in as a First and Third member, you can set a preference for a color scheme on your profile.
^ top