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The Club's Results

Cambridge Head-2-Head, May Term 2014

1st women's VIII (1st Mays)

Coxed by: Yining Nie

Time: 16:02
Ah Head-2-Head, the most torturous and horrendously chaotic of Cam races. I won't miss you when I'm gone.

I haven't studied the results in detail, being somewhat preoccupied with looking for jobs and apartments and generally coming to terms with the fact that in a few months I need to figure out how to be a 'real person', and all, but those who have tell me that there's a unique and comedic element to our upstream and downstream time difference in that they're not that different at all. I attribute this to the fact that Thomas was late. He is our good luck charm and we get unsettled without him.

Our first leg of the race was nervy and scrappy. It was our first close encounter with Emma after the WeHORR duel (albeit many places apart) and while we were determined to show that we were still a top crew. It didn't quite work out that way. Our lack of training due to early exams and holidays at home meant we didn't have the legs to make up for our loss of technique. Emma gained slowly but surely on the reach, and on Plough reach crept dangerously close. The Emma bank party was jubilant, but stopped short of giving advice on how to steer. Caught on Grassy, and with them criss-crossing our stern, we didn't know which way to tell Yining to steer. The Emma bank party implored the umpire to give us some instructions, to which they responded 'conceed the line'. We ended up on the inside of the corner, with a brief duel along First Post reach before Emma passed us and walked away. We crossed the finish line demoralized and upset.

While we waited for the second leg, Thomas gave us a pep talk and some advice about pressing through the strokes. We resolved to make some technical changes and set off on the next leg with Downing behind us. The rhythm immediately felt better, and we committed to the race early, moving solidly down First Post reach. Despite our renewed belief and calls from Thomas on the bank, Downing started to gain. On the reach they crept up to overlap on our stern and things began to feel like a regatta. Sensing the gains that they were making from the motivation of revenge, we upped our game and took power 10s all the way down the reach. We crossed the line heavily overlapped but not overcome.

When I started composing this race report in my mind, just after the event, I had a very clear idea about how I was going to end it. Looking around at the competition during marshalling, you see a lot of light blue stash, a lot of people that I recognize as 'old people' like me, who have come back in Mays. May Bumps is, as Thomas once put it, the premier event on the Cam. People care about Mays. But when other clubs are welcoming people back, the women's side is losing people. I could write a lot about loyalty, or the importance of allowing your brain time to recover during exam term, or the fact that Headships aren't just magicked out of the air in a term. But I've written a lot of pleas for people to stay on, to come back, to support the club, and I'm getting tired now. I hope that there are always people like me, who keep rowing because they want to give others the chances they had, because they love it, because it's something so unique to Cambridge and to our time here. I'm so proud of the girls who do carry on, because they will carry the club on to even greater heights. But I guess when you get sore and tired it's time to retire. After all, if you can't beat 'em...
(Julia A.)

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