The Club's Results

Lent Bumps 2015

2nd men's VIII

Coxed by: Liv Godwin

Wednesday
Rowed over
Despite all the banter about overbumping Homerton, today went pretty much as expected. We held station on Wolfson, they caught Queen's II very quickly (which bodes well for us tomorrow), and we moved steadily away from Sidney.

As we passed over the finishing line I vowed never to row over again (except, perhaps, as head) as it was a thoroughly uninteresting and tiring experience. The solitary moment of interest was seeing Corpus miss the bump on Sidney on First Post corner, and them then failing to take the corner- subsequently being bumped by Darwin.

Tomorrow will be a much more productive day, I feel.  
(Ben)
Today went pretty much exactly as anticipated. We did our standard warm up down to marshalling and the start where the rowing alternated between balanced and nervous. The practice start was scrappy initially but after the first handful of strokes we started getting our blades in together; this seemed to bode well, given it was the first time for six of us in the boat.

The cannon went off and we performed our start without major incident, hitting 42 on the wind; again, not our most elegant performance but it did the job effectively and we seemed to be moving rapidly. We heard the call from the bank that we were inside station on Wolfson. Wolfson were gaining rapidly on Queens', however, and on their push brought the distance back to station and cleared efficiently before First Post.

Looking behind us we saw Sidney vainly trying to hold off a Corpus crew who were closing the distance incredibly quickly; I thought the bump was inevitable and when Corpus appeared to stop rowing I assumed it had occurred and they were trying to clear, this immediately before First Post Corner. Nobody seemed to tell Sidney this; they continued chasing us and on what was presumably their 'run away from Corpus' push closed the distance on us to something like 2 and a bit lengths, and continued to pursue us all the way down the course.

As we pushed into Plough Reach it felt like we found a decent rhythm, and everything calmed down to the kind of head race pace we were comfortable with. This left Sidney falling ever further behind, and meant we gained slowly on Homerton. By the time we got to the Railings we were still four lengths off, at which point our bank party decided it would be more worth saving the energy for tomorrow; something catastrophic needed to happen to Homerton in order for us to catch them. So, in all, a reasonable and committed row over, hopefully setting us up for a fun next couple of days.
(John)
Thursday
Bumped Queens' II
We bumped Queens' II. It was at grassy. We were much faster than them. It stopped raining prior to this. This was good.
(J. Rowe)
we need to step up our game for tomorrow (Ben)
On my cycle to the boathouse I can't say my heart leapt with the prospect of the coming row; it didn't take long to feel pretty soaked. Luckily, by the time we'd warmed up and put the boat on the water it had completely dried up and I was able to remove my camouflage raincoat (it enabled me to hide and blend in with the enemy).

Our paddle up felt shaky, even when rowing in fours and sixes; sadly it retained the shakiness up to the lock, with some intermittent stable patches, like at the start of the burst. The diagnosis later was that overconfidence led to a lack of focus and concentration; we aren't good enough at rowing on autopilot to switch off like that.

We knew what to expect from behind us, but now we expected and were expected to bump the familiar pre-bumps nerves came back in more force than they had yesterday. With less time to marshal at the lock we just span and sat ready. A reasonable yet splashy wind to 42 gave us some speed; the lengthens were a bit scrappy and the stride followed suit. We kept rowing our race and trying to keep the composure. This was helped by watching Darwin swallow up Sidney without a by your leave, removing pressure from behind in decent style. I have to confess that as we were approaching First Post without hearing a whistle I began to worry that maybe we were wrong about how this day was going to go. After all, we weren't moving together as well as we normally do, and this led to a corresponding lack of boat speed.

Luckily, we got the first whistle, then a repeat, telling us we were moving. Shortly after we got the double whistle and our bladework disappeared into the ether (an unexpected side effect) as the wash and excitement of gaining took hold. Next time let's concentrate on just getting the knees down... Luckily, we were still moving rapidly, and the extra adrenaline the whistles gave us was enough to push us well into overlap without needing three or continuous (or perhaps it was the lack of extra whistles which caused this). Neil shouted to Queens' to concede and very obligingly they did; Liv mentioned later it was lucky they had - a collision could have left us and them in a rather awkward position. We took a while about parking, with conflicting instructions about which bank we should aim for (sorry...), before a chief umpire complimented us on our prompt clearing. Three cheers for Queens' later we collected some greenery.

The row back was also pretty miserable, with collections of sat strokes followed by so many which weren't. Happiness at bumping and the wash of the Downing crew ahead of us contributing to less composure than I'd like. I flippantly mentioned that the outing today was all quite terrible, apart from the bump; this wasn't entirely fair, but also not far wrong. Luckily we know tomorrow is going to be a tougher race; we're going to attack it like we know we can.
(John)
Friday
Rowed over
We went into today with a much better attitude than yesterday, and it showed. We knew that Wolfson were fast and that if we wanted to bump them we needed to row well, and for them to kill themselves trying to get Homerton before Homerton hit Downing. If by some miracle Wolfson and Homerton bumped out then we'd go for the overbump on Downing and try to make Neil very happy indeed. Our warm up was reasonable, and after some shaky tapping and all eight arms only we had a passable paddle down to marshalling.

At marshalling we had a brief discussion and considered a change of race plan; we elected to stick with settling to 34/35 and trying to grind Wolfson down the course. I was also pointed out somebody who finished like I did (excellently, of course, however, the word 'brutal' was used yesterday. In a good way.).

We rowed up and did our bursts; the concentration was more present, although we were very rushed in parts, and our practice start wasn't disastrous, although at least one stroke had something peculiar happen to it. Paddling afterwards felt a bit more composed and we gained nicely on Queens'.

Again, feeling nervous on the start, the time went much quicker than yesterday and before expected we were on ten and squaring blades. We had a clean and fast start; our emphasis on moving together off the front end seemed to have paid off and we felt smooth. We strode it out to 37 and let the rate slide to 35 over First Post Reach and settled down into our race rhythm. Queens' appeared to sprint hard off the start, but quickly disappeared as Darwin came up behind. Encouraging calls from the bank told us we were inside station. Crews taking a while to clear gave us slight advantages coming into First Post and Grassy, and even slightly on Ditton, as Wolfson tried some evasive steering, but they followed it with a push and remained a length and a quarter in front as we pushed onto the Reach.

A very long time later we ended up under the Railway Bridge, Wolfson having matched ever push of ours with one of theirs and getting away from about a length at Ditton back to the length and a quarter. We heard Neil call for an unsustainable push before the line, and heard distant cheers from our girls at marshalling; we went for it and filled our legs with acid. Shortly before the line we got our whistle but it was too late and Wolfson had too much left; we wound it down after they crossed the line.

Some of our absolute best rowing of term, with brilliant dedication leading to a fantastic race. We couldn't reasonably have expected more. In some ways the complete opposite to yesterday; everything was great, except we didn't get the bump.
(John)
Saturday
Bumped by Darwin
We went into this race knowing it would be difficult because Darwin were fast off the start, but we suspected that if we could hold them for long enough they would fall off and we'd be able to row a decent head race.

Rowing up to the start we saw Darwin women being given their flag, and then later on at the lock the same flag was cycled past us in preparation for their men. We decided we were going to deny them their blades.

We had a good start and settled to a decent feeling 36 or so; according to our bank party later we got down to three quarters of a length off Wolfson. Darwin gained along First Post Reach but it still felt possible and we were successfully pushing them away. Unfortunately for us, Downing II were not this year's most successful crew and Wolfson hit them trivially, somewhere at or before the corner. Because the distance between us and Wolfson was so small the evasive action we had to take to get around the lines the previous crews had taken was drastic - well done to Liv for getting us through. Sadly, this and combined with a couple of bad strokes before the corner cost us order half a length.

We rowed through the gut with something like a canvas of clearance gradually being eaten up by Darwin (who, incidentally, all looked much bigger than us) and we came to Grassy with decided overlap. At this point we were rowing well, quite together and with as much power as we could. To me, it looked like we were just beginning to pull away and out from overlap. Both crews finished cornering and straightened out for Plough Reach but tragically their line was identical to ours and their bow canvas hit our stern.

Talking about it afterwards, most of the crew was happy with the way we'd rowed that, and there wasn't much else we could have done to change that result; it's just incredibly frustrating as I'm certain we'd have got away if they'd been but a foot to one side.
(John)

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