The Club's Results

Lent Bumps 2015

The famous Cambridge University Bumps on the River Cam
Wed 25th - Sat 28th February

At the bottom of this page there is a link to Cambridge weather. Club members, please go here to add (or correct) results, crews or race reports.


Results Overview

Click a symbol or crew name to be taken to the relevant part of the page.

1st women's VIII Bumped by Emmanuel Bumped by Christ's Bumped by Jesus Bumped by Downing
1st men's VIII Bumped Christ's Rowed over Rowed over Bumped LMBC
2nd men's VIII Rowed over Bumped Queens' II Rowed over Bumped by Darwin
2nd women's VIII Bumped by St. Edmund's Bumped by Clare II Bumped by Wolfson Bumped by Queens' II
Invictus Rowed over Bumped by Clare Hall Bumped by LMBC III Bumped by Magdalene II

Guide to the table

Double Overbumped
Overbumped - hit the crew 3 in front
Bumped the crew in front
Row over head of division
Row over - did not bump
Got Bumped
Got Overbumped
Got Double overbumped
Got Triple overbumped. D'oh.


1st women's VIII

Wednesday
Bumped by Emmanuel
Executed the race plan, took our bumps push and held Emma at 1/3 of a length for a while; then Emma took another bumps push and we didn't have another gear. Good lines from both coxes meant the bump came within a couple of strokes of the first overlap. (Peter)
On Friday I found out that I was going to be rowing in Lents, having insistently told most of the club about my 'retirement' the previous year. Lydia came to me with an empty seat and after a few heartfelt conversations, what was largely a monologue to my mother, and a decision matrix from Gonzalo, I found myself sparring in W1 the Saturday before Bumps. I had never gone into a Bumps campaign so personally underprepared, mentally and physically. A few people commented about how lucky I was, getting to do the 'fun' part without all the morning slogs up and down the river, but it was the training that had always given me confidence and some amount of calm about the racing.

On Tuesday there were predictions of strong headwinds for the first day of racing, but when I turned up to the boathouse the water was almost flat. It seemed that the weather gods were smiling on us, and I hoped this was a sign of further benevolence from fate to come.

The new marshalling instructions still confuse me, and I'm not sure if it makes me more or less nervous to essentially sit on the finish line and involve myself in the emotional turmoil and pain of the previous division, but due to a day's worth of smooth racing, we had a chance to gather our thoughts before rowing up. The paddling was smooth and powerful, and the burst on the reach wound to a snappy 37. Seeing the river empty behind us was somehow calming, and the practice start was enough of a warm-up to get our hearts pumping as we swung onto head station.

The four minute gun was always where the nerves hit me, the unstoppable countdown to the beginning and end of everything the term had represented for me, and this race was no different. I'm told that Lydia threw up from nerves on the start line, but I was so wrapped up in the race plan, getting a feel for the gap between us and Emma, and making sure everything was screwed on and in and tight that I didn't even notice. There was some confusion about the counting down (Iain's beeping watch had been resurrected just for me!) and between pushing out and the gun all I heard was a frantic '5!' before the cannons and Blanka's back moving towards me in the first draw stroke.

Our start felt powerful and very neat, and after the first 15 wind strokes (we weren't striding) I glanced up to see us moving away from the field. Through the gut we continued to take distance and the boat seemed to take heart, lifting in speed almost as our spirits lifted - thinking about walking away. As we turned into Grassy and took a lengthen, Emma began to move up on us, but very gently. They got an ever-optimistic whistle, which was immediately called down as bull---- by our bank party. However, as we rounded the corner it became clear that we were no longer moving away. Our Plough Reach Burn gave us a few feet of extra clear water, but once Emma got straight again they began their march towards us. Blanka was calling distances, but it was my job to call the move, when they were at half a length and closing. As their bowball began to inch forward, I called for a push just before the entry to Ditton. With two whistles ringing in my ears we squeezed on the legs and scraped back the few inches. We took a good line round Ditton with maybe 1/2 to 1/3 of a length between us, and once we were straight I called another move to try and break Emma as they lost speed, but they stuck with us. We moved down the reach on essentially the same line, hugging the bank with their bows sitting just outside our stern. I called another move, and Blanka let out an almighty roar, which spurred the crew on to ignore the three whistles now coming from the bank. As Emma inched up to overlap at the end of our unsustainable 10 the two boats were oscillating, almost meeting and parting on the rise and fall of the strokes. With my eyes on their bowball I called a final move as I watched them drifting towards our stern to steer for it. We had little left to give at this point, and Emma had one gear more. They absorbed our push and swung gently across to skim our stern. When Matt's hand went up to concede the Headship it felt as if everyone's heart dropped, exhausted by the battle. We managed to paddle on and clear, stopping on meadowside about 50 metres before the railway bridge. It fell oddly silent for a few moments after the three cheers, but in the stillness of the day we could hear almost everything the Emma crew and bank party were saying. I was reminded of the year before, and of 2011, the cycles of jubilation and despair, the sense of emptiness that comes before resolve.
(Julia A.)
Thursday
Bumped by Christ's
Overall a pretty good row, everything going according to plan (except for the bump itself, of course).  
Pretty good start, considering very few people were actually ready for it (the count-down being a little confusing), then all went rather better than yesterday.  
The pressure came much sooner though, as Christ's made their first move so that we had to take a bumps push in a corner (rather successfully), but  overlap happened somewhere at the beginning of the reach. A second bumps push and a maintained pressure allowed us to hold them for quite a long time. Christ's cox's fretful steering gave us a couple of minutes as well, but made for quite a confusing sight, their bow appearing to one side of our boat then the other.  
In spite of our renewed efforts, we got bumped at about the same place Emma had bumped us.  
(Zoe W.)
When we returned to the boathouse on Wednesday evening I told Fordy that I had a plan. I wanted to turn the gale force winds that were persistently predicted for some point this week to our favour. I thought that if we could hold onto second place, and to Emma's stern that one day they would hit the wind on the reach and stop. We might have just enough time in their wind shadow if we were sprinting to catch them. This plan was probably the result of anger and adrenaline, as cooler heads (Simon, Sean) gently tried to dissuade me, at least for the Thursday.

We felt that we hadn't made the most of our rhythm in the previous day's racing, and so the plan for the Thursday was to push Christ's away and see what happened with Emma, biding our time.

When we arrived at the boathouse reports starting coming in that the divisions were running a half hour late due to carnage and re-rows. While we all agreed that it was more sensible to sit in the boathouse than on the river, the captain (and ex-captain) stood, face pressed to the window, watching other crews glide by and their stress levels begin to rise. Lateness is probably the most feared sin on the Cam, and we compromised and pushed off about 10 minutes late. We still ended up sitting by the barges below the Green Dragon bridge, but at least we were entertained by the antics of the Clare cox, who seemed to have forgotten a life-jacket and made the epic sprint back to the boathouse.

With Emma now behind us to focus our anger and disappointment, the paddling was a little shakier, but our searing start brought that anger a purpose. We spun onto a new station and settled in for a new race. There was confusion again with the countdown, with several people shouting 'square!' with varying urgency and at different panic points, and our start was probably the weakest of the week. We had decided not to change our lengthen point, meaning that we held it at a brisk 38 for five or ten strokes longer. Coming through the gut we stayed fairly effective, but the huge energy expenditure of the start became obvious as Grassy cut into our rhythm. It was here that I began to notice Christ's moving up on us in earnest.

In lieu of a Plough Reach Burn, I called our first move on the exit of Grassy, and we moved out to a more comfortable half a length. Down the straight we were forced to absorb their move, leaving the clear water approximately unchanged. Around Ditton, a good line by us and a poor one by Christ's gave us a few extra feet, but facing the expanse of the reach, Christ's renewed their focus, and we were once again on the defensive. I'm told that somewhere around this point we moved up to an 'Iain length' off Emma, but I was beyond whistles, and trying to decide which were for whom, remaining fixated on their bows. Another move by Christ's and a few panicked strokes from us closed the gap to canvas, and then a few inches of overlap. The Christ's cox steered once, and I saw their bows pass over our stern. This cost them a few feet of distance and our bank party rang out with cheers that they had gone for it and missed. For 5 strokes or so, it seemed possible for us to walk away, but Christ's had soon brought their boat around again to closing, and steered to the outside to try to make a bowball bump. Again they missed, and we moved again to try to gain some clear water. There was a missed stroke from Christ's and we opened up a few precious inches, but the swinging of the Christ's bows back and forth across our stern seemed like the pendulum marking our time running out. Christ's finally decided to go for the full six feet of overlap and steer into Matt, rather than our stern, at about the same point as Emma bumped us the day before. With a sense of deja vu and burning lungs, we pulled into meadowside, still short of the railway bridge.
(Julia A.)
Friday
Bumped by Jesus
Before this Lents campaign began, most people would have said that Jesus was the fastest boat on the river, and that it was nearly inevitable that they would get blades. I had been hoping to use Christ's to avoid them, but we were now faced with the prospect of attempting to row away from them. Fordy managed to (briefly) buoy our spirits by reminding us that the Pembroke Regatta results seemed largely meaningless now and that we had no reason to believe that Jesus were faster than Christ's. We knew that one way or another this would be a long race, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that we were a 1.7k crew, rather than a 2.3k one. We resolved to lengthen down to 34, rather than 36 (both of which made me pine for the days of rowing over miles clear at 32 in 2010) and to do it before the corner. We talked at length about how this rhythm would be called and felt and executed, but were all aware that we would have precious little practice before the race.

In our first burst on the reach we attempted to wind to 40, but only reached a shaky 37, and lengthened to a few pips below this. Similarly in the start, we lacked a solid sense of how our cruising rate should feel and made our way to station 3 tipping gently from side to side after what was easily our worst paddle down.

The start was more orderly by virtue of several people bringing stopwatches, and by now we were learning how to channel the adrenaline of the start into a racy first few minutes. Jesus managed to largely stick with us through the start, where we were accustomed to gaining, and our lengthen was confused and ineffective, bringing us to 37, then ramping down to a 35 that was less 'chunky' than any of us had been hoping.

Jesus moved up on us very quickly, forcing me to call our first move in the gut as they tracked us round Grassy. There was no time for our technical calls on Plough Reach as once again we were sprinting for our lives and our bumps position. Jesus began to close the gap clinically, but stuck at a canvas just after the Plough, their bows bouncing in our wash. A big move on their part, and a painful one on ours closed the distance to a few feet coming around Ditton. We were overlapped going round the corner, but Matt's line taking us to the outside of their bows gave us a minute or so of grace. We were out of moves, and out of legs as I watched their bowball creeping past Matt and towards Blanka's blade. Some excellent evasive steering avoided the bow-on-blade bump that I would have predicted, but a final lunge wedged their bowball in Blanka's rigger and Matt raised his hand. It took us some time to disentangle ourselves, and we drifted together towards the far side of the reach.

That 100m of reach or so seemed to be sapping our energy and any sense of hope for our performance, so on the row back I called that training for the row over the next day started now. The paddling was smooth and powerful as we strived to not annoy Blanka. Some of us were channeling anger, some were coiling up a steely resolve, but everyone had only one goal in mind. Row over tomorrow.
(Julia A.)
Saturday
Bumped by Downing
I don't know how other crews approach the possibility of spoons, but the most marked element of the experience, emotionally, was the terrible cycle of decision, optimism, heartbreak, and resolve. We were all taken through this roller coaster each evening after the race and at crew pasta when we analysed our opposition, and decided we could hold them.

The next morning brought fears of widespread food poisoning, as Becci had been suffering all night, but thankfully for most of us it appeared to be an isolated bout of the flu that had been making its way around the boat clubs. Having already employed our emergency sub, we asked Amalie to make a heroic effort and row with W1 after her own race. The relief when she agreed was palpable, and our optimism buoyed again.

Saturday brought a grey sky and the heavy winds that had been promised for a week. Watching the winds whip the boathouse flags impressed upon us all the importance of space around the corners, when we would hit the gusts in new and terrible ways. Preeyan told us that there was no predictable pattern to it, and we knew we would just have to grip our blades, square up, and row long.

After a few more chances to practice our big legs lengthen, we were feeling confident in our long race plan. Jesus had told us that Downing would give us a scare off the start, but reassured us that we were much faster. It felt like we were getting better every day, but sadly so were our opponents, Christ's having bumped to headship the previous day. We hoped that today would be the day all that changed.

We tore off the start line in our usual spectacular fashion, and I glanced up, hoping to see Downing fading and Queens' moving up on them strongly. Sadly, their green blades were well behind as we dragged Downing away from the pack.

The gusts that had begun to whip up the water just before the starting cannon after four minutes of calm were bearing down on us from all directions and playing havoc with our blade work. Coming up to First Post I felt like we were rowing through molasses, and Downing, steering effectively in our wind shadow, gained alarmingly. I called a move in the Gut, and we pulled out as the wind hit Downing, but they barreled on in what was clearly a do or die sprint to Ditton.

Coming around Grassy they managed to get their bows on the inside of us, and as the screaming overlap whistles came from the bank they hit us as we slowed to steer for the corner. We attempted to pull in near the barges amidst the chaos of crews rounding Grassy with variously efficient lines, and for a few moments I thought we were going to capsize. We moved on as soon as the sandwich boat passed us, seeking clearer water. The paddle back was muted, but long and effective, showing how much more we had wanted to give in this race. The reach was cathartic, a long, silent patch where we could row out our frustrations and shock.

I don't know if any crew 'deserves' to get spoons, as there's an element of bad luck involved that I wouldn't wish on anyone, but I can certainly say that the result the girls (and Matt) have faced this week is in no way representative of the heart and soul that they have poured into this campaign. This is a young crew, but they have shown commitment and maturity well beyond their years. They have dealt with injury, illness and uncertainty with the stubbornness and drive of true competitors. They were presented with a situation that would have been crushing to many talented oarsmen and women, but they rose to that challenge and embraced it. I am incredibly proud to have rowed with this crew. Despite what the numbers might say, and what those who only look at the Bumps charts might think, this is not the fall of the women's side. It's the fire before the phoenix rises again.
(Julia A.)
^ top

1st men's VIII

Wednesday
Bumped Christ's
While possibly not the prettiest rowing, today was a collected and disciplined row. A well-sat start moved us into a good position to settle into our racing rhythm. A bit of adrenaline pushed the ratings somewhat, but we got into a nice rhythm on first post reach and steadily gained on Christ's through the corners. Coming onto the long reach we were getting close and had plenty left in the tank to just steadily continue moving up until we got the bump. Though not observable from the 6-seat, Christ's reportedly were a bit slow to concede resulting in a Christ's blade running underneath our bow section. Nice solid bump.   (Sean)
Although not rowing particularly cleanly due to wash and adrenaline, we stuck with our race plan and rowed our confident 34 throughout. No massive gains were ever made, but we brought down the distance consistently from the start. Upon hearing the Christ's cox coming out of Ditton we again pushed forward and finished off the race. The eventual concession saw Christ's cox hit hard by bow's blade, after their stroke's blade had been sucked somewhere underneath our bows. A good race, and a thoroughly enjoyable first bump for me! (A. Strange)
Thursday
Rowed over
We believed Maggie would be caught reasonably quickly today, and so we raced to Ditton. Settled off a good start onto a good 35/6, and came into First Post corner just about a length from Queens'. Lost a bit of speed round the corner, probably due to large wash, and then never really got the firm, sent rhythm we had previously. Sat at just outside a length to Ditton, blew as per our race plan, and then were moved away from by Queens' and Maggie, who had a great row to hold off Queens'.

Overall, committed really well to a race plan, executed it to the best of our ability, didn't pull it off. Looking forward to tomorrow's racing!
(Sam)
We approached the race slightly differently to the previous day's, instead relying on going off unsustainably hard to get the bump as opposed to grinding Queens' down over the course. The start was solid and we moved to just over a length at first post corner, holding our rhythm from the previous day but with greater power application.  

Queens' held us at this distance more or less until the end of Plough Reach and possibly into the entrance to Ditton. We lost the send we had slightly through the corners and never really managed to recover it, with Pembroke, Maggie, Queens' and us all churning up the river significantly past the Plough. Out of Ditton we blew as expected, and then rowed over without crews behind.
(A. Strange)
Friday
Rowed over
After the tail-end of the W1 division saw a re-row, the race got under way. Moving off the start in a similar fashion to the previous day we again gained on Queens' to slightly more than a length before being held round the corners. This time we held our rhythm through first post and the Gut before losing it on the entrance to Grassy (I assume due to the amount of wash) and then getting it back on the exit.  

They moved to outside station on us coming out of Ditton, and down the Reach we didn't quite get the same rhythm back. Queens' then bumped Maggie somewhere near the kink leaving us to deal with Peterhouse whom we'd held comfortably so far. In the last 200m of the Reach they began to lift closing to a (somewhat suspect) whistle's distance away which spurred them on further to an equally dubious two whistle's distance.  

Although they were making up ground past the railway bridge we got our long, confident strokes back at this point and sat in our sustainable rhythm until the finish. Credit to Peterhouse as they clearly threw the kitchen sink at us until the end. Overall a good row, and we're now looking forward  to chasing Maggie tomorrow!
(A. Strange)
Today, we decided to revert to our first day plan of hitting a solid 34 and seeing what happened. We executed this pretty well, staying on a better rhythm than yesterday, and moving away from Peterhouse over the first half of the course. Down First Post we again moved on to almost a length from Queens', before they held and then moved again, bumping Maggie somewhere on the Reach. After this, we just took it home, lifting somewhat ineffectively when Peterhouse attempted a stupidly late wind and sprint to catch us. Pembroke must have wound down pretty hard, as we finished about a length and a half from them.

In other news, a BNY Mellon fleece is warm, but when wearing Ali's I feel like a very small child.
(Sam)
tomorrow (mt)
Saturday
Bumped LMBC
It has been quite a turnaround since my last bumps - having experienced the lows of spoons 12 months ago to have gone out and rowed with this crew was pretty special. Even at the boathouse the aggression and intent was clear, and we channeled that well in the warm-up. The only previous race I had against Maggie was losing in the final of Clare Novices, so the incentive to hit back was there.

The race itself was all a bit of a blur. With conditions being poor on the start line we began our start fairly well and moved on Maggie slightly. Peterhouse behind us really attacked us off the start, getting an early whistle but only closing to a length at most before dropping back. Meanwhile, our chase began in earnest.

We settled on to our rate well, taking the corners as they came until conditions again deteriorated coming round Ditton. It was here we strode into our headwind rhythm and again made inroads  into Maggie getting our first whistle I think. With Queens' bumping Pembroke ahead of us Maggie took a wider line whilst Tom brought us close (despite our bank party's calls) in a perfectly judged line. Thanks to this we gained about half a length in 200m, moving to within quarter of a length.  

On hearing two whistles the crew lifted again, and again on three. We stayed at three for what felt like a long time; Maggie here pushed and held off the charge coming through the railway bridge. Then we went again. Tom's call of "They're going to fail" led the surge and we went through them eventually holding it up 10 strokes before the line, although we later learned the bump had been awarded earlier. The reaction from the crew and bankparty was terrific - certainly this was the most exciting and rewarding race I've ever been a part of. It has been a pleasure to row with these guys, and I cannot wait for what May Term holds.
(A. Strange)
I was pretty fired up for this, and judging by the row down, so was everyone else. It felt pretty special to be in the boat today.

I was bumped by Maggie in my first ever Bumps race, and subsequently bumped by them again, 20 strokes from the finish, in my first Mays. Now I'm even. We sat on our 34, and got the legs on down the reach, with the rate maybe dropping a couple of pips as we came into the headwind round Ditton. This was where we took the race to Maggie, getting our first whistle somewhere around the spinning zone, and our second whistle by the white house.

The second whistle was gotten not only through the better rhythm of our crew, but also the incredibly tight line taken by Tom next to the Queens' and Pembroke crews that had bumped out. His lines have been fantastic this week - we have the GoPro footage to prove it. This got us about half a length in 200m.

At two whistles we moved to an unsustainable power, and started to make some real inroads. At about the railway bridge we decided that it was getting a little close to the finish for comfort, and we went again. What followed was possibly the most satisfying push I've ever been involved in. There was an awesome lift in power, and we munched the last quarter of a length up.

Having caught Maggie, Alex crabbed, Bence collapsed, and Neil T threw his phone in the river. Despite Neil's best attempts to drown himself, only two of these were rectified before the row home.

Finishing what might be my last Lent Bumps race with such a good race was special. We may have failed in Operation Tripod, but we can be proud with our efforts this week. Let's make sure we start May Term with ALL THE WATTS.
(Sam)
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2nd men's VIII

Wednesday
Rowed over
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)
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)
Thursday
Bumped Queens' II
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)
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)
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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2nd women's VIII

Wednesday
Bumped by St. Edmund's
We were very nervous as we waited for the cannon to fire. Many in the crew were racing bumps for the first time and as such, had little idea of what to expect.
The race started quite well, as we initially pulled away from St. Edmunds.  We held them off until the Motorway bridge, at which point, St. Edmunds suddenly made a move and started gaining on us rapidly. All the crew can remember from this point onwards is them coming closer and closer, though apparently, we held them off again at a distance of 3 feet.  After that, St. Edmunds started overlapping, leading to a bump about 900m from the start.
Although this was clearly a disappointing start to bumps, we are looking forward to the next few days. (Amalie and Eduarda)
(Amalie)
Thursday
Bumped by Clare II
Panicked and frantic.

Tomorrow we will be calmer. This will be achieved by:
- having full crew;
- winding to rather less than 40, and putting our blades in the wet stuff;
- the sky not raining spitefully at us;
- the cannons being an order of magnitude quieter (according to the inverse-square law);
- coach actually being present on the row up, having not destroyed Rebecca's bike on the ascent of Emmanuel footbridge;
- stroke remembering to wear her gold socks.
(Preeyan)
Friday
Bumped by Wolfson
A good start with an effective rhythm call down to 32. Got panicked when the move was called, bumped after first post corner.   (Seema Syeda)
Initially felt quite good, although we rated higher than the initial plan was. There was little response to moves / the three bumps pushes in terms of boat speed, although I think that was more a case of panic leading to inefficient work. Didn't manage to find new gears to push Wolfson off. (F.R. Barber)
Saturday
Bumped by Queens' II
Super happy because we're now finished wahey. We weren't to panicked during the race unlike the other day and we held it together at a lower rate so yay.. Actually had some good pushes where we were able to hold Queens' away a little and even though we got bumped kinda quick we all finished with a SMILE on our faces 'cause were the best x

(Leyla)
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Invictus

Wednesday
Rowed over
M2 might have had an uninteresting row-over, but ours could hardly have been less eventful for a first bumps race. We were planning to bump Churchill M2 somewhere along the second half of the course, but a series of interesting plot twists meant that we spent about 80 % of the race at less than a canvas from being bumped by Clare Hall M1, whom we had beaten by about 10s in Robinson Head and did not see as much of a challenge.

I for one was distinctly apprehensive and excited about this race, which would be the first bumps race for six ex-novices in the boat. We did not really know what to expect, although we knew that our technique would significantly deteriorate in the wash around Grassy, and that, starting at station 7 under the motorway bridge, we would probably not be able to hear much of what happened in the first few hundred metres of the race. This, together with the adrenaline and trepidation from the start, would likely take up the rate and make everything altogether messier and less effective. Most of these predictions turned out to be correct to some degree, but the only way to really feel how bumps are is to do bumps, plain and simple.

After a crew erg and core session (best abs on the cam boys!) we pushed off and had quite a nice paddle down to the marshalling area, if a little unsat and not entirely in time at the catch (we really need to focus on this for tomorrow in the bows). Our practise start was measured and got us up to a decent rhythm and boat speed. We span and de-kitted with five minutes to go, with the four minute gun taking me completely by surprise as I quickly got out of the boat. Those last few minutes seemed to go by so quickly. In no time at all, it was time for the one minute cannon, and then we were pushing off, and then...

...An explosion of noise (admittedly not as bad as I had perhaps anticipated given what people had to say about our station) as the cannon went off. We wound it up to a ridiculously high rate, as we usually do under race pressure, and gained about half a length on Churchill after our fast start. We took our usual power strokes, but they seemed very ineffective, which I attribute to a combination of the wash and the rate, and we were probably back on station by the time we strode. In no time at all, we were at the end of first post reach, and we started to hear a whistle. Assumed that it might have something to do with us, but I did not really know what that may be at this stage. First post corner... ...2 whistles... ...wait, what? I looked up and saw (although from the bows I'm pretty useless at judging distances) that Clare Hall, which we had so far ignored behind us, were moving up and were closing on us at a noticeable rate. I admit to have been quite surprised and afraid at that point that my first bumps campaign would start (and presumably end) in total failure. Three whistles at Grassy lead to five seconds during which I wondered what would happen if we were bumped. Would we spoon? And then came resolve. Why should we let ourselves be bumped? After (as Shahid pointed out after the race) 360 squat jumps every time we had circuits sessions, compounded with the 630 other elements in our routine? After all of those times when we were on the river in pain instead of lazing around drinking and eating crisps? NO, we were First and Third M3, we would not let this happen. All of this happened more or less around Grassy (can't remember exactly where, but it can't have lasted more than 5 seconds).

It was only then that I realised that Clare Hall were being pushed hard by Magdelene right behind them. Great, our first ever sandwich, and we were on the receiving end of the trouble. Clare Hall took a strange line around Grassy, going really fast into the corner and then turning quite sharply close to the towpath side, which presumably was in an attempt to avoid the bump, and that somehow worked out fine for them. This led to them probably coming to a few centimetres of overlap, but about 3 metres to the left of us. In hindsight, this manoeuvre probably gave us the race, or at least took the chances of a bump down significantly, but I think that that was due both to the slight distance lost and the fact that we (or at least I) strengthened our resolve at this point. Magdelene blew quite spectacularly down plough reach after coming within very little of Clare Hall's stern. The sandwich probably ended at around the Plough, and that left us once again in a two-boat race. We pulled ahead a little, then were bunched up again around Ditton (2 and 4, massive strokes!!). The race so far had been hard psychologically, now it was starting to get really hard physically (not that we hadn't been working hard - I think that the adrenaline had made us not be conscious of it).

As we began racing down the reach, the boat started to move better and our confidence grew. Perhaps the strangest moment was when Rob gave the thumbs up to Catarina, which she understood as an indication of a good racing line, and returned, which at least two of us in the boat thought looked suspiciously as if she was conceding... (we had moved away, Catarina, what were you playing at?). That little glitch aside, our rowing improved dramatically after Ditton. We have consistently had excellent reach pieces in our races, and although this was a little scrappier because of the wash (together with a few missed strokes and air-strokes from essentially everyone in the boat), it was still vastly better than in the initial parts of the race. Clare Hall stuck with us for another 500 metres or so, presumably doing almost continuous bumps pushes because of the fairly constant 1/2 length whistles that were being communicated from the bank (thankfully we did not come to within a metre or two at any point on the reach). And then, the pain starting to really show, our better fitness finally came into play. We somehow (I don't remember how...) pushed away from them just before the motorway bridge, and then we just opened up the gap until the end.We must have finished slightly inside station on them and outside station on Churchill, so not quite the race that we had planned, but by all means an exciting first time in bumps.

I remember trying to yell as we reached the P&E but instead just grunting and collapsing into my seat (a great reason to be at bow by the way... ...unless you have developed a strong physically intimate relationship with one of your crew mates in which case you would probably not want to be there). I was completely spent, I couldn't take another stroke. We then had quite a poor row home, which tells me that everyone pushed hard, which is a good sign... Hopefully tomorrow we will hold them at station rather than at a canvas. This means having a much better first post reach and then taking advantage of our superior fitness across the rest of the race. If we come within half a length of Churchill, then we bump, otherwise we try to emulate M2 and have a slightly less exciting, although hopefully not uninteresting race tomorrow, and wait for the bump on Friday.


(Neil I.)
For most of the crew, this was their first bumps race. To make matters worse, we're on station 7, literally metres away from the cannon. Understandably, today's racing start was not the best the crew has ever executed. Once the boat got moving, there were some neater strokes, or at least until we hit 6 crews worth of wash- another first for many!

It took most of the first km for the crew to settle into a proper rhythm, by which point they'd already had to fend off Clare Hall M1's first push. Our tight lines contrasted with their wide ones, and we escaped on both Grassy and Ditton. On the Long Reach, Clare Hall sat a canvas off our stern for the entire length. The boys must be commended for their control at this point: no shit-we're-going-to-be-bumped panic crept into the boat, and we held them calmly until the Railway Bridge, at which point Clare Hall started to break.

From there, encouraged by the screams of our  W2 under the bridge, the boys dug deep and pulled away, crossing the finish line pretty much back on station.

A very gutsy row today, but a challenging day tomorrow with the same crews in front and behind. Hopefully, with a cleaner first km we can try and hold them off a little further away from our stern...

#bestabsontheriver
(Rob)
Thursday
Bumped by Clare Hall
After yesterday's very long race report (which I felt was required given the nature of the race that we had), I told the rest of the crew that I would only write a longer one if we bumped at some point during the week. As such, I will try to make these a little shorter (I was hoping that someone would step up to the challenge of writing them, but it needs to be done, and the morning after Lents Dinner seems to be a good time to do so).
The report of yesterday's heroic race may appear to fall flat on its face after the rest of the week's results, and the crew name 'Invictus' may seem to reflect the irony of a crew that thought that they were better than all of the other crews that they had to face. I do not think that this is true in any way. We realised on the first day that we were in danger, and consistently focused on improving technique and control in the face of fierce opposition.
I will not bore you with the paddle up any more than to say that it was shaky on Thursday and steadily improved to acceptable by Saturday, which is a sign that even when faced with adversity, this crew was able to hold its own.
We once again started under the motorway bridge, but a long discussion on start strategies at crew pasta (remember, this was what had caught us out yesterday) meant that the start was much cleaner than the day before, and so Clare Hall only gained marginally before First Post Corner. A boat-stopping crab from the spooning Peterhouse M2 (which we were hoping to catch on Friday) meant that Churchill M2 ploughed right into them at the entrance of the gut, and we were forced to hold it up to avoid complete carnage.
I think that on everyone's mind was the hope of a technical row-over to spare us a race as painful as yesterday's (probably amongst the top five most painful five minutes of my life to be quite honest). After hanging around for five minutes, however, we were told to spin and return to our stations (why couldn't we go to head station and avoid the cannon?).
By this point, we had warmed down physically, and I seem to recall that we were a little more jittery and as a consequence of this our start was not quite as good as the first start. Clare Hall closed a little more off the start, but a much better first kilometre from us meant that we were at about 3/4 of a length until the exit of Ditton. Once again, we saw Magdelene M2 blow down Plough reach, but this time, due to some much better cornering from Clare Hall, they never came within a canvas of our pursuers.
I believe that the beginning of the Reach is where we made our mistake. Guys, tell me if you do not think that this is the case, or write your own race report detailing what you think happened at this stage. We were a good distance from their bows and I think that the utter determination that we had had on the previous day was not present for most of the (admittedly very painful) race down the Reach, because I expect that part of us thought that we were safe. We did not kill ourselves yet, because we thought that we needed the energy at the end of the race. Yesterday, on the other hand, we were just as composed but determinately pushing them away for most of the race.
How very wrong we were to think that the danger had passed. We took a few bad strokes after the kink, due to the washy and nervous nature of bumps, and realising that they had gained a little (two whistles as I seem to recall), they started pushing much harder. We were resilient and could row well and hard in the face of constant pressure. This saved us on the first day, and might have saved us had today's race unfurled differently. They were bigger and could sprint faster than we could. This gave them the advantage on the second day. By the railway bridge their effective push brought them to a canvas, and then overlap. We held them off for an agonising half a minute, but a shudder in the boat told me that the bump had occurred. Catarina's hand went up, conceding the bump. We rowed on as we knew we must after a bump to clear the river, which was more of an ordeal than expected as they were slow to hold it up.
I for one was crushed at the result, repeatedly swearing in frustration at having been caught so close to the finish line after yesterday's pain. I vented much of my frustration by taking power strokes back to the boathouse, which led to some steering issues (sorry Catarina...).
The consensus at crew pasta was that we had raced well but could have gone a little more unsustainable at the end, which might just have enabled us to row-over. Just about. Maybe.
(Neil I.)
Friday
Bumped by LMBC III
This race was so similar to yesterday's that I really will not elaborate very much. We were the faster crew (by a lot) at Pembroke regatta, they had since had a crew change and some practise and had gained a lot of boat speed (~5% is my guess). They were on their way on for blades. We were determined to stop them. They had bumped Magdelene after their second failed attempt at bumping Clare Hall. They were once again a slightly bigger crew than we were.
The lack of a restart today meant that we raced even better than yesterday, and this was starting to be an excellent race. Maggie ominously came to within 1/2 length after the kink, and I started to get a sense of deja-vu (@ webmaster - you should enable accents in your race reports as they are necessary in words such as this). Unlike on the previous day, however, we were pushing as hard as we could, and continued pushes from both crews must have led to interesting yo-yo effects down the second half of the reach. At the railway bridge, however, they had moved to within a canvas and then quickly had a little overlap. The first of our unsustainable pushes was called, and we had clear water again. The pain was atrocious. Maggie were coming back, and with desperate resolve we took another unsustainable push. Once again, there was clear water. We were now further than yesterday. Could we do it?
This time, it transpired that the tank had been properly emptied and they got their bump, fair and square. They were the faster crew. Credit to them for a good race. At the time, though, a huge frustration at bumps racing and the fact that I had been so emotionally involved in this that I had not been able to work properly all week ensued, and I believe that there is somewhere a video of me splashing water on Patrick. All very funny in retrospect of course...
We had lost the M3 headship. As people pointed out later, no-one cares (except for the crew itself), but I see this as a springboard on which we, as a crew, will build future successes. I for one will follow Felix's example and erg every day over the holidays. And when we come back in Mays, dear Maggie friends, we shall bump you, fair and square, before you even have time to bump Selwyn M2. This is not the last that you will hear from us!
(Neil I.)
Saturday
Bumped by Magdalene II
We knew that they had an exceptionally fast start (before they blew that is), so we were determined to match theirs. We had our best start yet, gaining somewhat on Maggie, and kept our distance from them until the end of First Post Reach, where they really gained on us quickly. A much less excruciatingly painful bumps push for both parties considered ensued, and we were quickly bumped in the Gut. Unfortunate, but they were by far the better crew before the 1k mark.
A ray of sunshine came in the form of M1 bumping Maggie even closer to the finish line than we had been bumped on days 2 and 3 (if such a thing were possible...).
(Neil I.)
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Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the following information, note that the results are unofficial.

Men's bumps charts

Men's bumps chart, Lent Bumps 2015

Women's bumps charts

Women's bumps chart, Lent Bumps 2015

Michell Cup points

Churchill40.00
Darwin24.00
Pembroke18.00
Jesus16.00
Fitzwilliam15.00
Queens'12.00
Sidney Sussex12.00
Wolfson12.00
Emmanuel10.50
Caius4.00
Hughes Hall0.00
King's0.00
Peterhouse0.00
Robinson0.00
Clare-2.40
Corpus-4.00
Magdalene-6.00
Murray Edwards-8.00
Trinity Hall-8.00
LMBC-9.60
Christ's-12.00
Downing-20.00
1st and 3rd-20.40
St. Catharine's-36.00

Ineligible after entering fewer than 3 crews:

Girton6.00
Homerton6.00
Clare Hall0.00
Newnham0.00
St. Edmund's-6.00
Selwyn-24.00

Cambridge weather: Wednesday text or graph
Thursday text or graph
Friday text or graph
Saturday text or graph

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