We had a decent start, initially holding Pembroke on station, but as we came into First Post Corner they began to close the gap before getting to overlap coming into plough reach. We responded well and pushed them back to a quarter of a length and held them before they had a second push and came back to overlap coming into Ditton forcing us wide on the corner. Once again we pushed them back to a quarter of a length and reduced the distance to Catz to half a length though about half way down the reach Pembroke had their third push. This time we couldn't quite hold them off and they caught us.
Overall a good row, let's go out tomorrow and see how they cope under pressure! This is my 13th bumps race and the 13th consequtive time I've been bumped (though we did set the record today for the first time I've ever reached a corner), this trend ends tomorrow.
Also, it turns out that Barney's Lycra shorts were see-through. This was a source of great amusment.
Not our best rowing. Went off fairly hard, they moved hard in the gut and were a canvas or so off round Grassy. We took big pushes and held them off - they had overlap around Ditton, and we held till about half way up the Reach. We moved on St Catz past the Plough and around Ditton, but it wasn't enough. They hit us around half way up the Reach. (Barney)
The closest Bumps finish I've ever seen. Epique - good work boys. (Neil T)
After being bumped yesterday we were determined to row over today so decided to go hard off the start and not give Queens any free distance. This worked well and in hindsight probably gave us the race. We had a fast start and pulled away from queens, the exact distances are up for debate though the general consensus is that we were over 2 lengths up and maybe about a length from Pembroke in front. We had a good First Post corner and decent Grassy though lost cohesion a bit down plough reach and around the corner so coming out of Ditton Queens were either on or just outside station. Around the railings Pembroke managed to catch Catz and despite catching them far over on meadowside, decided to clear across the river resulting in some sudden evasive steering that cost us about a length. At this point Queens realised that they'd just gained significantly so called a push. By the time we reached the railway bridge they were at a quarter of a length and gaining, we had a push and managed to slow their progress though by Morley's Holt they were at a canvas and eventually they caught us ... 2 strokes after the finish.
After 14 races, I've finally completed the course and can happily say goodbye to my -1 bumps average and 13 consecutive 'bumped down' results; C-C-C-COMBO BREAKER!
Edit: The Catz day 1 race report claimed we're a 'poorly performing crew', guess they where misinformed.
row row row row paiiiiin row row oww row row ow fuck pembroke are in the way row row row aaaaaaah row row aaaaah wheres the line row row row my legs ow row ugggggh (Barney)
Some interesting parking turned a fairly comfortable row over into a Lents 2012 epic as we moved under the railway bridge. Apparently the official verdict at the finish was 2cm laterally I think we could have held another couple of k.
Pretty much perfectly executed our race plan. We went fairly hard off the start, pushing Queens' away. Plough reach was better than yesterday, but still scrappy, and a solid Ditton is where we started to move. We settled into a big rhythm coming out of Ditton, and soon we were walking up on them. There was a bit of confusion with the whistles, but constant "MOVING" calls from Rob, with no "HOLDING" calls heard, made me more confident that we had it. Coming under the Railway bridge, the rowing became very sloppy, but it turned out that this was just because they were right ahead of us. A few strokes after the railway bridge, we hit them.
What happened after the bump is probably as interesting as the race - we mounted them fairly hard, and took a good 5 minutes getting the boats separated. At least we kept the spectators walking home entertained! I was a bit worried about some ominous crunching noises as the boats were separating, but thankfully both boats seemed fine...
This was my first bump on a crew who knew where they had to row to... at last I see why people actually enjoy bumps! Hopefully there will be less "First and Turd" from the messageboards too....
We had a fast start despite being rather close to the bank and soon pulled away from queens and began to move on Catz. In the gut Catz pushed us back to just outside station though a move on Plough reach bought us back to a length and a half. We had a push through and out of Ditton gaining us almost half a length and once on the reach continued to close. At about a length, Catz appeared to be flagging and a concerted push bought us up to half a length rapidly. A final push into the railway bridge gave us the bump though since Catz seemed reluctant to concede we bumped them a few times before mounting their stern. A check revealed that our boat was still shipshape and we rowed home in style.
A great race and my first ever bump. The double overbump to headship is definately on.
We had a bit of a moment at the start as we almost drifted into the concrete under the bridge, but we got off without too much difficulty. We settled into a nice rhythm. Coming around grassy, we could hear whistles for crews behind Queens'. It was nice to see plenty of distance between us and Queens'. Coming onto the long reach, the bump on Catz was on, and we gradually moved up to one length mid-way along the reach and coming under the railway bridge we were closing on 1/2 length or less. The last few strokes from the bridge to the bump felt like a surprisingly long period of time, and with the bouncing around in the bows due to the wash it wasn't clear to me what was happening. I think I actually felt our boat suddenly stop moving forward, and that was when it was clear we had made the bump. Good strong race boys!
(We then spent quite a long time disentangling ourselves as we had by that point mounted the stern of the Catz VIII. At one point bow pair had to climb out of our seats and toward our stern to shift weight off our bows so we could free them.)
While we had discussed the possibility of going for the bump on Pembroke, I don't think any of us really thought we could get within a canvas of them considering the results of day 1. We had a fast start and a good first post corner and came within half a length into the gut. I called a push and we reached 3 whistles into grassy thought weren't quite fast enough to catch them. Pembroke then managed to hold us off past the plough, around Ditton and down the reach though we were still within 6 feet at the finish. Overall an excellent race and definately our best of the term. We rowed home proudly knowing that beer awaited us back at the boathouse. Then they threw me in the river. Bastards.
To stay level near the top of the first division and to get within a canvas of a crew that bumped us on day 1 is a great achievment. Things are looking good for next year.
There was a reasonably strong tailwind down the course, and I think we dealt with it better than Pembroke, so off our start we immediately began to move. We were planning on having a similar race to yesterday, so it was a surprise when we got two whistles in the gut and a bumps push was called.
Apparently we came closest to them around Grassy - a few feet off - and then sat there until the finish, moving slightly. It's a bit disappointing that we didn't manage to hit them, but it shows how much we've improved over the last week. On Wednesday, they were within a canvas at Grassy. On Saturday, it was the other way around.
This was my favourite row of the week, despite the result. A sharp start took us to 48, and we strode out for the second time to 41. Two whistles in the Gut, a Bumps push and then continual pushes down the rest of the course (not quite correct - we did in fact stride back down to 36 for a grand total of 5 strokes on Plough Reach, before we started moving on them again and went back on the hunt). We didn't let Pembroke ease out past a quarter of a length clear water all the way down the course. And we pushed them onto a length from Jesus. In short, by Saturday, we were a better crew to the one that showed up on Wednesday.
It would be easy to look at the negatives of this performance. You could say we had an incredible chance to get Pembroke, and we missed it, and we may have got something wrong on the first day, when we were bumped by them.I don't think either of these points hold much water.
Our crew was forged on days 1 and 2. On day 1, we found that we had composure under pressure, and on day 2, we found the will to keep Queens' off. This was huge for us. It gave the crew belief. You could feel the change overnight to a bullish attitude. We were not awful, we were not a spoonbarge, and we were not letting Queens' anywhere near us. And we didn't. We upped our game, and kept performing. On the final day, we almost bumped a crew who were seemingly comfortably faster, and we threatened them all the way down the course. We didn't bump them, but we must give some credit to Pembroke - they were a good crew.
I'm very glad I decided to row this term. There was a great set of guys in the crew, and nearly every outing saw a step on. We would come back off the water enthusiastic about our progress, and hungry for more speed. It was a new crew dynamic for me, and I loved it. We're coming for you, Pembroke.
The plan today was to bump Newnham 10 strokes out of Ditton.
We executed that plan almost perfectly. We bumped them 8 strokes out of the
corner. Fletch described it as clinical, and it was certainly the closest
adherence to a race plan Ive ever experienced.
At crew pasta the night before the race, Sara Lackner texted
me and said she had left a good luck present in my pigeonhole. This turned out
to be a piece of our greenery from bumping Pembroke last year encased in epoxy.
Thinking back to the last day of last Mays made me wistful for greenery in the
sun. When I got to the boathouse, Yining showed me her pendant, from the
Christs bump. With good luck around our necks, we hoped and wished for the
best. Despite our race plan for the bump, I was privately concerned about the
possibility of being overbumped by Maggie. I was running dozens of scenarios
over in my head, involving sandwiches, technical row-overs, sprints and
surprises. I knew we couldn't be prepared for anything, but hoped we would have
a little luck, and the courage and skill to re-think the race if we needed to.
This was my very first Bumps without the steadying presence
of Iain on the bank. His absence had generated a vast amount of admin,
resulting in multiple purchases of whistles, stopwatches and Fordy effectively
becoming our boatman, complete with VIP bank pass. I had drafted Fletch,
Gonzalo and Thomas in to whistle for us on various days, being skeptical of
Fordy's ability to row in M1 and bank party W1 at virtually the same time. He
made it in time to push us off with whole minutes to spare. He spent the day
pedalling furiously up and down the towpath with a schedule no one but him
could make work. He deserves a medal.
We went into this race as the underdogs. We had raced
sporadically in the past term, and never in the full crew, so no one (including
ourselves) knew what to expect from us. We knew we had found moments of speed,
but we didn't know if it would be enough. We had discussed the race in detail,
practiced moves to run away and kill calls to go for the bump ahead. We had
Cursed with the 7th station, our whole bodies
shook when the start cannon fired, and I understood what Erin
meant when she said she felt like the start was in slow motion. I couldn't hear
Yining's calls, and wasn't aware of my body moving.
The start was effective, winding to 43 and settling onto a
38 that felt much lower. We quickly moved away from the carnage that was to
become the Pembroke-Christs-Maggie sandwich.
Moving down first post reach we heard calls of 'just inside
station!' and took a lift for the first whistle. Newnham were sprinting hard to
get Caius and we sat somewhere between station and a length until Grassy. As we
started to take the corner I saw the Pembroke bow-girl catch a massive overhead
crab as they rounded first post corner, and watched my best-case scenario of
Christs bumping Pembroke and messing it up enough to impede Maggie playing out
behind us. This gave me confidence that we could afford a sprint.
We took a good corner and got our whistle. Yining called for
another push and and we started hearing calls of 'Mooooooving!' from Fletch and
'inside length!' from Fordy, duly repeated by Fletch. As we powered through
push after Plough Reach burn our bank party became increasingly jubilant and I
began to get concerned that Fletch might forget his whistling duties when he
screamed '1/2 a length!'. Thankfully, whistles soon followed.
Newnham took a wide line around Ditton, which Yining
communicated to us and immediately took advantage of. We started to get overlap
whistles and bumped 8 strokes out of the corner, though Nina says she hit their
stern 2 or 3 times, and I was told that if we hadn't held it up when we did we
would have mounted their riggers, though I didn't hear any calls from Yining or
the umpire besides wild cheering.
Once clear, we crossed over to get greenery and celebrate
with our bank party. The row home was sedate, except for the moment of high
spirits when I told the girls that this was the highest position FaT W1 have
ever held in Mays (while its been rowed in VIIIs, we were briefly 6th
in the 1987 IVs races). An exciting achievement for us, and I hope to see
further rises in the future. Now all that remains for tonight is to prepare to
surprise everyone again tomorrow.
The great British summer is a strange and capricious thing. Today, it threw blazing sun, and close oppressive heat at us. I wasn't feeling well, which I blamed on a poor night's sleep and the restaurant where I ate lunch, however I told myself that we train so that we can row well enough on the bad days, to accomplish what we set out to do. We were riding on the high of our elegant execution the day before and just hoped to be able to carry out another detailed plan.
There were high spirits in the boathouse as we celebrated M4 and W2's bumps. M3 were rejoicing at another row-over. We were distracted by the infectious energy and our nerves and excitement for the day led to a slightly scrappy row up to the start.
We knew our new station, 6th, with the outflow, would be a challenge for Fordy, our novice boatman. Since we arrived so early (some 10 or 15 minutes before the start) we had a practice push-out. There were plenty of acrobatics with Lydia's and my blades being held by Neil and Thomas and the discussion and constant fear of some reeds, which were 4 feet in from the bank and almost breaking the water, getting stuck in the fin unsettled us.
We pushed out, but not far enough, and as Daisy and I called a frantic 'Square!' amidst the confusion, I knew my blade was deep in the reeds. As Yining called the first draw stroke I felt my blade tug and pull under the water. I swore loudly as I felt the boat swing towards the bank, yanked my blade out of the water and took two of the biggest strokes of my life, watching the bank to make sure we'd miss. It's a credit to the girls that no one panicked, and once we were safely out of the reeds we raised the intensity to go after Caius. Newnham, surprisingly, didn't gain in the start, but coming around First Post corner it was clear that Caius were sprinting out of our reach. On Grassy we called it down for a long race, hoping Jesus would hold off Caius long enough for them to make a mistake we could capitalize on. However, it was here that our focus shifted significantly.
Newnham took a much tighter line around Ditton, and got a first whistle here. They followed the corner round, and lost some ground, but not as much as I would have expected, and I called for a move. It was becoming a very different race.
Caius evenutally caught Jesus on Ditton, and some chaotic and ineffective clearing here forced Yining to go wide, while Newnham could cut through the path we made, and started to gain heavily. I made an inadvisable move call on the corner, which was reinforced by Daisy a few strokes later, and we lifted again.
Despite our move, Newnham got 3 whistles at the railings, and it was at this point that I stopped hearing anything from the bank and fixated on my legs and Newnham's bow. Down the reach we took push after push, moving away, falling back, holding them, then nearly overlapping. Halfway down the reach I could see Newnham's rowing falling apart, and at the railway bridge we started pulling away in earnest. We knew when we saw the bow girl looking around that we had broken them. We kept the pressure on and moved steadily away out to station by the finish.
We limped back to the boathouse, spent in so many ways. Once parked, Yining collapsed in her seat, and my heart was in my mouth as I panicked and called out for Thomas in the hopes of a steadying presence. Thankfully, she just needed some sugar and water, and we were able to get the boat away with some help from Rosemary. We were proud of rowing away from them, but filled with trepidation about what Day 3 would bring. (Julia A.)
A valiant attempt to chase Caius though it soon became clear that they would catch Jesus before we could make much of an impression on them. Their bump just before Ditton and subsequent indecisive clearing made cornering difficult and allowed Newnham to make up some ground behind us, sticking at 1/4 length for the middle half of the Reach. We pressed on with various combinations of sharp catches, legs, and/or hips, took it up at the Railway Bridge and finished about a length clear.
A solid race despite Julia's duel with the lilies and weeds in the first three strokes - not to mention the heat, pollen and random massive gales of dust. Thanks to the girls and especially the ever-bright Thomas and Rachel for putting up with my theatrics afterwards! Maybe coxes do need to eat...
About a squazillion times better than yesterday. The rhythm sounded awesome. Jesus had a solid row ahead and were never under serious pressure, but Newnham were miles back. (Neil T)
On Day 3 I felt good. The weakness and nausea of the day before were gone, and we had a solid plan, relying on accurate distances and some key moves. Before we left the boathouse I told the girls I was feeling strong and that I believed every one of them had the guts to push Newnham away.
Clearly, our new resolve showed, as Gonzalo, bank partying us for the first time in a term, was shouting encouragement and surprise about how much power we were putting down. We had a very solid paddle to marshaling, buoyed up by his confidence. We elected to sit in the shade this time, but discovered the perils of marshaling towpath-side when we had to leap up to keep our blades from clashing with the racing Caius and Downing crews.
We had another practice push-out on the start and this time knew that we had it right. With my blade safely buried away from the reeds, we had a good start and began to move away from Newnham. Our of our stride, we were just inside station on Jesus. Our plan was to row hard to Ditton and try to get inside station, then go unsustainable to try and bump them.
On Grassy, Christs got a whistle on Newnham, and Maggie one on Christs as the crews bunched up on the corner. Maggie were pushing Christs into Newnham and causing them to panic under pressure. I watched the rowing becoming scrappy as we moved steadily away from them. Coming onto the reach it was clear that we weren't making much of an impression on Jesus, but the huge margin we had opened up on Newnham was heartening, and our rowing became long and powerful in the second half of the race.
We watched Christs and Maggie bump out just after the Plough, but were beyond worrying about a sprint from Newnham at this point. At the railings, the gaps between the 3 racing crews had increased. Jesus moved out to 3 or 4 lengths, and Newnham had falled 5 or 6 behind. We strode onto a strong steady rhythm that saw us increase our lead by another length by the finish.
Gonzo called for a wind at the bridge, which became a half-hearted push, and then calls to conserve energy, when it became clear that there was no chance of a bump on Jesus.
We paddled back to the boathouse, pleased with our performance, and gathered around the radio to listen to the mens' race. We quickly gave up on the patchy Cam FM commentary, and huddled round the computer screen, staring at the live timings, waiting to see if a time would appear for Catz and FaT at the finish. We held our breath. When the crew names italicized out, we screamed and raised our arms, and Yining jumped into my arms and I spun her around. When I eventually put her down we realized she was crying with joy, and we all put our heads down and had a group hug, sharing in our happiness for the boys. We stood on the balcony, singing and waiting for M1 to come back so we could cheer them. As they rounded the corner, we counted to three and then screamed and cheered and pounded the railings. The row-over was sweet, but what I'll remember from Day 3 is the boys, and how glad we were to have them to cheer for. (Julia A.)
Jesus were visibly alarmed when they noticed us having a practise push-off into the station 6 outflow, which was worlds better than yesterday's nightmare. The real push-off was coordinated perfectly, courtesy of Fordy and our illustrious bankparty.
Despite a scrappy first three strokes (but at least this time Julia's blade wasn't held hostage underwater), we wound to a record high and settled into a strong rhythm. We stuck on station with Jesus around the corners while steadily pulling away from Newnham, who started to fall apart coming out of Grassy. Then both gaps opened on the straight, where Jesus moved away and Newnham just faded into the distance, resulting in a rather quiet end to the race.
We felt healthier and more prepared today, and it definitely showed. One day more now, girls - tomorrow we go for the bump!
The final day of bumps is always hectic. We spent the day signing cards and books, rushing to make last minute preparations for presents and boat club dinner, and trying to get in the right mindset for the race.
Our row-over the day before had given us the opportunity to adopt an ambitious race plan. We were sure that Maggie would take care of Newnham for us, hopefully bumping them quickly, allowing us to go hell for leather and sprint for Jesus. We knew we had held them briefly round the corners on a more steady pace the day before, and we figured our only chance for a bump was to rattle them with an all out sprint in the first two minutes. We planned a series of up 2s and bumps pushes, committing to a 500m race. It was gutsy, but we figured we had nothing to lose.
Sitting on the start line was tense. We had been trying to make some technical changes on the row up, and Yining reminded us of these as we sat waiting for the cannon. As we pushed out, I readjusted my grip on the handle, watched my blade to make sure it was clear of the reeds. I had been thinking about lasts. Last crew pasta, last row up to the start, last tense stance in the boat, waiting for the start gun. When the cannon fired, time seemed to move slowly. Our draw strokes felt long, and then we were in the race, firing our legs and sprinting away from Newnham.
Off the start, Maggie didn't seem to move on Newnham, and we pulled away from them slightly. Newnham's sprint for their lives seemed to be working, but they weren't moving up on us enough for me to be worried. The information from the bank was that we were holding Jesus around station, and we began the first of our lifts and power 10s to try to get a whistle and start our sprint. Around Grassy, Yining decided that it was now or never, and called the first of our up 2s. Behind us, the Maggie bank party were frantically whistling, and as Newnham came round the corner I expected them to be pulling in. They managed to pull away, and we took yet another huge lift in Plough Reach as a last ditch effort at a bump. Our bank party swelled with cheering, and I believe we moved on Jesus slightly here, which was as close as we got. We were red lining it, and our pace fell as we came around Ditton. Jesus started to move away down the straight, but this is when the race behind us got more interesting.
Newnham went wide round the corner, and Maggie followed them. I thought they were attempting to drive them into the tree but aborted at the last minute and steered. With significant overlap Newnham pulled away, and Maggie started to fall bad. With our legs screaming we were all internally begging Maggie to save us from a painful row over under pressure. As it became clear that Maggie had missed their bump, our bank party turned their attention to distances between us and Newnham. Halfway down the reach they called a stride down to a long race rhythm, and we tried to open up our 3 length gap to gain some space. The rowing was smooth despite the fatigue, and coming under the railway bridge to the cheers of the mens crews we had a push off the bridge and started our wind. Maggie was still close on Newnham, but we were comfortably moving away. We crossed the finish line as the highest placed Mays W1 ever. Crews around us were cheering and lying exhausted in their boats. Newnham were jubilant at having rowed over, Maggie crushed at missing at Ditton. We waved to our bank party and began the last row back of the year.
As I've become accustomed to now, Blanka laughed manically at the ridiculousness of rowing, and bow six and Yining sang our theme song as we rowed back. We paddled with a mix of little and some pressure, glad to be finished and proud of what we had done that term. The plan had been to bump on the first day, with no dress rehearsals, and as Kate pointed out, we had done just that.
This bumps marked a milestone for me, my 50th bumps race, and my last bumps at First and Third. Thank you all for this unbelievable journey. It's meant more to me than you know. I remember listening to the bufties talking about how their time at First and Third was the beginning of so much for them. Through the club I've found my best friends, a love of sport my parents never would have believed, and a purpose and drive that have carried me through the stresses of a Cambridge degree. I hope that this is just another beginning for me. It's time now for me to find out what the real world is like, pass on the torch and leave all of these rowers I've seen grow and learn and become the core of the boat club, carry it on to greater heights. I know it's in good hands. Good luck, I'll be watching the website. Make sure someone writes race reports. (Julia A.)
We took a little while to settle into our race rhythm, but then hit it hard- Queen's appeared right up behind us and began to sit scarily close to our stern in the gut, causing us to call a sprint. Jesus came right up behind them, and forced them to bail out of the race on Grassy and park neatly out of the way. Nice.
It then turned out that we were gaining on Christ's- our original aim for the day. We got to three whistles somewhere near the Plough, and things looked set for a bump, but we were unable to seal the deal, getting tantalisingly close at 5 ft off their stern, but not closer. We held this close distance around Ditton and tried another push out of the corner, but never quite managed.
At that point the whole crew blew up pretty decisively, and Christ's managed to hold out and slowly but surely pull away from us. We decided to pursue them to the bitter end up to top finish, but were back on station by the end. Feelings on the finish line? All I could taste was blood in my mouth, and I couldn't talk, which I guess is a sign we were trying hard!
Overall, I think we gave it a bloody good go, but just lacked the energy to make that final move and end it. Tomorrow- we'll go for it again, but this time with some serious pressure from behind- Jesus. Go hard or go home.
One more thing- we've ended the tradition of spooning M2 Mays. Yeah boys!
I went into this race with mixed feelings: on the one hand I
felt that we had a long way and a lot of work to go before we were actually
decently prepared for bumps, and on the other Rob exuded blithe confidence that
the bump on day 1 was definitely on (although perhaps this was a front to give
us confidence in ourselves). My uncertainty was compounded by being told that
if we could pull off a fantastic start wed break Christs, and if we couldnt
the race outcome wasnt so rosy.
Signs were encouraging on the way up; we had tremendous fun
being better at paddling than Queens and listening to Seema have the internal
debate were at a canvas off them and gaining fast should I easy?, with a
practice start which wasnt perfect but gave me hope for the real thing.
The race itself was composed half of relief and half of
frustration. To me our start felt terrible with blades all over the place,
although I gather from the bank that we gained on Christs and Queens. Our
rowing continued choppy and as we entered the gut things became very hairy as
we saw Queens bearing swiftly down upon us and their whistles became more
frequent. Thankfully, Queens chose a style of cornering Grassy very familiar
to Steven, Matt Crouch and I which bore a striking resemblance to not cornering
Grassy and Jesus promptly overtook them, setting the stage for a very
satisfying Queens II spoon. The whistles didnt stop, however, giving rise to
the sudden realisation that our bump was on! Rowing continued to happen,
poorly, down plough reach and up to Ditton where in the bows we were spurred on
by the wash we could feel from behind us; 5 feet was the closest we got,
according to David Jones. About around Ditton they started to pull ever so
gently away and despite our best efforts we didnt have the energy to keep the
speed and the rate up. Our plan was to race to the Plough and thats pretty
much what happened. Down the reach to me our rowing felt weaker but so much
tidier than the rest of the race and something like 32 and Christs gradually
opened out their lead. Thank you to W1 for their energetic and invigorating
support as we rowed past them!
This race was much easier to face than the last one; we knew
how much faster Jesus were so our only strategy was to go as hard as we could
and hope we hit something else first. Everything else was pretty similar; had a
decent paddle up and a moderately better start but we were too panicked to row
nicely together which led to the boat being thrown all around. It wasnt a
tremendous surprise that Jesus hit us as we got to First Post corner.
Bumped by their coach. You should definately withhold payment unless she lets you get them back... (MC Row(e))
Chased by Hughes Hall, coxed by Rosemary, our primary coach
this term, we were pretty certain this race would follow the pattern of the day
before. It seemed very unreasonable that in the queues for the toilets we
overheard them saying things like with a little bit of training I reckon you
could get down to, ooh, about 6:10 pretty easily (although at least today
nobody had burnt the toilets down...). Anyway, we set off and the extra
resignation played its part and the rowing was much calmer, neater and a lot
more fun. We didnt eliminate the wobbles in the first few strokes but it was a
lot easier to put down power when we settled into our rhythm and we had a
decent stab at a very fast First Post Reach. Im told we moved away from them
off the start and gained on Jesus. Sadly the fact that they were better than us
showed through pretty quickly and we again got hit just after the corner.
The frustration at bumps shone through on the paddle back,
with a desperately slow Pembroke crew paddling back ahead of us, allowing us to
gun every single stroke, safe in the knowledge that wed have to easy very soon
to avoid stabbing their cox in the back. Some of our best paddling and pause paddling
all term; shows that sometimes anger is productive, although sadly not enough
to change the race results.
Even less to say here; we watched Queens get thumped by
Darwin before so we knew, again, that the crew chasing us was much bigger,
better and faster, and the crew ahead was also much bigger, better and faster.
What can you do but sprint for the overbump on Jesus? Back to a race very similar
to day 2 without decent cohesion. We all tanked it but I guess our lack of raw
power combined with inexperience in how to apply it together properly meant the
race was never going to last long. Pulling in on First Post corner gets old
Back atbh the now-traditional throwing everyone in the river
took place, along with quite a lot of washing the boat half with soap and half
with beer. Steven and I thought the best place to participate was probably
safely on the balcony in an attempt not to swallow too much Cam water 2 days
before May Ball. Sadly I also entered the cardboard boat race. Ah, well.
Another set of bumps over and another sorely negative result. And the one thing
everybody is glad about - at least we didnt spoon!
Still waiting on those spoons from last year though Rob...
With the crews around them quickly bumping out the guys relaxed slightly before getting to the reach and finding Queens going nuts behind them while going for the double uber bump (up 4 due to a technical row over and a bump). M3 responded briefly and held them at about 2 lengths before a small crab took the margin down to a length. By the railway bridge Queens were maybe down to about three quarters of a length though at this point M3 were spared an excessively painful row over by their start position with Queens being forced to stop at bottom finish due to starting on station 11. Overall not a bad row and a good reminder that you're only safe once you're past the finish (or at least the other crews' finish). (MC Row(e))
Rowed over trivially. With Selwyn and Peterhouse swapping back and Tit Hall trailing by at least 5 lengths there was never really any doubt about the result, unless someone ejected of course. (MC Row(e))
With Tit Hall falling rapidly to Maggie behind and Selwyn and Peterhouse continuing to repeatedly bump each other in front instead of sending some stuff down, M3 were soon left as the only racing crew on the river so rowed over yet again.
Overall a rather uneventful race. This turned out to be a good thing as Catarina lost her voice on the reach which would have made a close run race rather iffy...
Unfortunately Maggie were quite fast and managed to catch M3 at some point along the course that I currently can't remember. Anyone else wish Peterhouse and Selwyn had made up their damn minds a bit sooner? (MC Row(e))
Having lost two of our top rowers from Lents to the first VIII, we welcomed in 4 new girls to W2. Despite some exam-centred stress through the middle part of term, the final two weeks of preparation have seen the boat improve vastly, Talbott style.
On the row down to the start, the girls surged up to Fitzwilliam's stern a fair few times, giving us on the bank a fair amount of confidence that the threat from behind wasn't huge. As is often the case in Bumps, however, we weren't quite right.
Off the start the girls moved slightly on both Newnham and Fitzwilliam, but hadn't significantly closed the gap when Newnham bumped out halfway between the road bridge and First Post Corner. Chris provided some fine evasive steering to prevent a tangle with the two crews ahead, but the necessary application of hard rudder took away enough speed to allow Fitz to start to move back on us.
The facts of the rest of the race are these: Fitz continued to move on the girls despite a cohesive row, getting to within a length at Ditton (accurate distances should be reported by someone who remembers). Their progress was slowed at various points by pushes from the crew, where a really nice rhythm developed. They had advanced to within half a length at the railings, spurred on by Jesus, who were closing on the overbump. The last 90 seconds of the race were a mix of bloodcurdling shrieks from the 3 seat, pain faces, and a cohesive, determined push for the finish. They made it. Relief.
A few of the girls had stated their fear of rowing over beforehand. While this shouldn't be the aim for the rest of the week, hopefully the crew is now aware that they have enough to last the course, and they can hold off Fitz again as they push for the bump on Pembroke. I am proud of all of them, particularly those who had the shadow of being bumped 200m from the finish in Lents in their heads, and who have so emphatically put that to bed.
Regarding accurate distances I believe it was three quarters of a length at Ditton and then closing to about a third of a length around the railings. W2 began to pull away briefly about half way down the reach, a move that possibly led to the aforementioned shrieks (and some impressive facial expressions), though couldn't quite hold it, crossing the finish about a quarter of a length clear. Well Rowed Girls, it's upwards from here! (MC Row(e))
The key to success is preparation, preparation, preparation. Noting this, practice pieces in all training outings were capped at two minutes and nothing beyond that point of the race was ever discussed.
Just before boating, Amalie's brow furrowed slightly as she asked: "What do we do if we're still rowing after two minutes?" The answer, of course, said with what I perceived to be an innocently nonplussed expression, was naturally to row for four minutes instead. The furrows vanished and we proceeded.
After two minutes of the race (including a very respectable start), the girls were still rowing, and had plenty of distance on the chasing crew, Fitz II. Luckily, no-one stopped rowing to ask any awkward questions.
This pattern was repeated after four, six and eight minutes, but replacing "plenty of" with "some", "not much" and "frighteningly little". At this point the meticulous lack of preparation kicked in, as the girls found in the tank the extra that they hadn't considered they wouldn't have and were able to push clear over the final two minutes for a stupendous row-over.
One member of the crew later claimed to have actually died at the finish, but this was disproven.
This story has a number of morals; most are left as an exercise to the reader, but the main one is that our cox, Chris, should remember his lifejacket tomorrow.
Today was a well executed bump. Went hard off the start, moved on Pembroke, moved more on Pembroke, mounted their stroke girl's blade. Boom. (Sam)
A convincing bump and well deserved, earned by the terrific effort yesterday. The next opposition is a better crew, so let's raise our game. (Neil T)
A great race. While easily holding off Fitz behind, W2 closed rapidly on Pembroke and bumped them around station 6. The pembroke cox seemed unwilling to concede and the umpire was rather quiet resulting in some confusion in which pembroke were bumped several times before both crews realised it was over.
Having Coxed W2 last year and spooned, it's good to see you back on the rise. Well done Girls!
Like W1, like W2. The girls ground Newnham down around the corners and made massive gains past the Plough and into Ditton corner, where it became clear that the opposition were falling apart. Newnham tried to flee to the far side of the Reach but W2 stayed hard and committed, with 1/2 a length of overlap for a full minute before Newnham were forced to drift back past the kink and simply steered into Chris' line. Very satisfying.
An awesome race to watch, and one to be proud of. Collecting greenery was pure joy and laughter at Harriet's repeated declarations of W2's greatness. Looking forward to another bump from you lovely ladies tomorrow!
A great bump that was described as 'textbook' by an umpire. W2 moved on Newnham continuously throughout the race due to a good rhythm and some impressive cornering that took at least half a length out of them. Coming out of Ditton they were about half a length from the bump and a determined push bought them up to two thirds of a length of overlap with Newham running away to meadowside. Chris held his line and slowly drifted over to secure the bump. A great race girls (+Chris), let's go out tomorrow and give Girton spoons! (MC Row(e))
Forced to sprint early to avoid a desperate Newnham crew, W2 weren't quite able to settle into a fast enough rhythm to catch Girton. Despite this they've had a great week and 'Up 2' is the best result for the second womens eight in 5 years. Well Done Girls! (MC Row(e))
The race panned out almost exactly as anticipated - with a fast crew behind, Newnham went all out to bump back before First Post Corner. They almost did it. When ARU bumped Newnham, there was about 3m separating Newnham's bows from our stern, and most of that was lateral. The rowing had been frenzied, and had lacked some of the assuredness and rhythm of the previous day, but it got the job done.
The inevitable relief-fuelled sag in speed lasted a minute or so, before the girls refocussed and pushed on towards Girton, who were sitting around station. Beforehand I had seen Girton as a relatively easy bump - they were down 3 coming into Saturday, and hadn't gotten past the Plough on any day. However, the Girton crew we raced held the girls between a length and a quarter and 2 and a half lengths for the rest of the course.
W2 finish up 2, a fantastic result given the starting point this term. There are many people to thank: the girls, Chris, Neil, Daisy, Fordy, Thomas, among others. I only hope next year's WLBCs can find a similarly determined set of young women to keep First and Third rising. To be a small part of success this year was a privilege and a pleasure.
The start seemed to take them by surprise so was a bit scrappy but despite this they quickly began moving away from Jesus IV and gained a bit on Hughes. Unfortunately Hughes had gained rapidly on Tit Hall and caught them within 3 or 4 stations before forgetting to clear. Tom (correctly) elected to stop before any collisions ensued. Jesus and Magdalene also decided to stop resulting in a re-row of the bottom 3 boats. Unfortunately this left M4 with nothing to chase and after they'd rapidly pulled out to around 3 lengths on Jesus, Jesus were caught by Magdalene leaving M4 as the only racing boat in the division. Instead of winding down and paddling home Tom decided that some practise was in order so completed the course at race rate. From todays performance I'm confident that M4 are faster than most of the boats around them so it's upwards from Tomorrow! Well rowed guys!
(p.s. James Dixon: If the name tag on this race report shows up as Ronnie Coleman, you're in trouble...)
Edit: It would appear I am no longer Ronnie. Good.
A really close one... After a frantic start, we gained to about half a length off Tit Hall M3, while at the same time Magdalene M3 also chased us down to half a length. While a stride was called, the amount of whistles, shouting, and turbulence in the water meant that we kept the rate very high and hectically tried to close down on Tit Hall through the wake. Approaching the motorway bridge, both boats closed down to canvas, and then overlap. At some point during the sandwich, Barney screamed to hold it up, and after pulling in, told us we had bumped (mounted) on Tit Hall, barely missing Magdalene. I now have a floppy branch in my room. Awesome. (Tom)
After nearly being run down by what initially appeared to be a large Flump while cycling round Chesterton (later revealed to be a hideously painted car), I arrived at marshalling to find the division had been delayed by an errant horse. Luckily M4 proved able to improve my mood and, after a respectable start, rapidly began to close on Tit Hall. A few frantic strokes later M4 got the bump just after the motorway bridge with Magdalene just coming into overlap from behind. A great row guys, let's continue upwards tomorrow! (MC Row(e))
Today was both Flump-free and horse-free. Unfortunately it was also bump free. Despite some good rowing and impressive cornering from Tom, Christs were able to hold M4 off and push away. Coming onto the reach it became apparent that Sidney were gaining and despite some evasive steering, were able to bump just before the railway bridge. (MC Row(e))
A decent start off first post corner, but rapid gains meant a bump by Jesus was inevitable shortly after grassy. Even so, the crew gave it their all, well done guys, you deserved to have done much better. (Tom)
I woke up (later than planned) to find an email informing me that a pyromaniac had reduced the toilets at baits bite to a heap of molten plastic and advising 'suitable preparations' be made. While wondering if they where suggesting investing in 6 crews worth of nappys I looked outside and found that it was rather overcast. This was especially disappointing as a term out in the sun wearing sunglasses had resulted in some strange tanlines that made me look like a reverse panda and any chance of correcting this issue appeared to have vanished.
Hungry for bamboo I set off towards marshaling and soon received a phonecall from Barney requesting I return to the boathouse to retreive a new cox box. Luckily I'd been lugging one around for the whole week as a spare so continued my journey, happy in the knowledge that my ridiculous over-preparation had finally come in useful (I've yet to find a use for 100m of gaffer tape, 20m of rope, 3 pairs of sunglasses, 4 spanners, 15 cable ties, a first aid kit, a sewing kit, an emergency blanket and 10m of velcro though).
When I finally arrived I found that the division was running late, possibly nappy changing was delaying the lower divisions as the horse appeared to has sated it's desire for adventure and remained at home. Eventually we set off and as we arrived at head station the 4 minute gun went leaving us no time to inspect the molten heap of plastic. 5 minutes later, (yes 5), the start gun fired and M4 began their last race of the year.
Unfortunately it would appear that Jesus have learnt how to row since day 1 and they began to close the gap coming into First Post Corner and managed the bump coming onto Plough Reach. Of course this could be a cunning ploy on the behalf of M4 to obtain as many different results as possible having already bumped, rowed over and been over-bumped. If not, at least being bumped prevented the guys having to row the course again, (as sandwich boat), and saved me from having to cycle it 4 times in one day, thanks guys.
Overall I'm extremely proud of the crew and their rowing this week, indeed this year. While Down 3 is not the result we'd hoped for and certainly not the deserved result for the amount of commitment shown thoughout the term, Bumps is, as a nice old guy from jesus told me on day 1, a good reminder that life isn't necessarily fair. Next time guys, Next time.
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