The Club's Results

May Bumps 2015

1st women's VIII

Coxed by: Michael Thornton

Wednesday
Rowed over
I was nervous before this race. Really really nervous. I was either going to burst into tears, throw up, or pass out as we rowed down. To my surprise none of those things happened. Sitting on the start line, when the gun went things went quickly, having a good start which moved up on Jesus. Newnham also moved up on us but a push down plough reach saw us open up a bit of distance and the rowing just got better from there. Another push at ditton and newnham died a death. We rowed happily down the reach at a comfortable rhythm two lengths clear. On to tomorrow. (Imogen)
A slightly nervy first half of the race today, despite a strong start gaining on Jesus and very solid corners, Jesus were a fraction outside distance at the Plough and Newnham were  pushing hard and closed to within a quarter of length entering Ditton. Another good corner and a superb push out onto the reach and it was clear that Newnham's race plan didn't extend any further down the course. Everyone relaxed at this point and the rowing consequently improved, which bodes well for the entire course tomorrow!   (Jon)
A fairly textbook start despite being released from blade tips with 15" to go due to the outflow and strong tailwind. We moved on Jesus, who moved on Clare. We found our usual base, with Newnham slowly grinding us down at full whack behind. Fairly tight around the first 2 corners, a little wide around the 3rd for a possible escape with Newnham a little too close for comfort - too many times have I been the chasing crew only to have the enemy disappear and us to blow for us to not let them die a death on the inside. The semi-tactical puddles hitting their bows led to a crab, flawlessly timed with a push from us that would make even the spice man himself proud. Newnham were broken, and we just kept moving away for the rest of the course finishing several lengths clear. (mt)
From our vantage point opposite the Plough the kink in W1's line halfway down Plough Reach,  coupled with perspective shortening, made me think they were already having to steer evasively. As they came closer it became clear they had a little more space, but it shortened to a couple of feet of clear water as they turned in for Ditton and I thought that they would need some luck to survive the corner.  

Thankfully they survived to fight another day,  and hopefully have a shot at giving W1 2016 their first ever chance to aim at a Mays headship :-)  
(Peter)
Rowed over! Felt fine and chilled the whole way down, good starts and bursts. Nerves hit me at the four minute gun when my brain finally realised that we're doing this again, despite many previous vows  of "never again".
Good start, especially given that it was from the outflow. We apparently closed on Jesus slightly off the start but never got to any whistleable distance. Newnham starting closing from about First post corner. We took our Plough reach burn which felt good but had little effect as they were taking a push as well. Coming around Ditton they looked worryingly close from my 5th seat. A couple of strokes out of Ditton, they were maybe a canvas away, we took our bumps push, big legs and then raising the rate by a few pips. The push was SUPER EFFECTIVE, pushing Newnham away to about station at the kink. Then it was a, although slightly painful, cakewalk to top finish where they were about two three lengths off.  

It was one of those rows where you just kinda know that they're never gone get you. YAY



 
(B. Kesek)
Thursday
Rowed over
Much more aggression than yesterday. I think we pushed ourselves to a new limit today. We held onto our boat speed as we transitioned from our start far more effectively than in any short piece we've done this term. Steering the crew was always going to prove tricky with selection being forced so late, and so little time to get any real hard long pieces in as the crew before bumps. That said, if the right hand bends had Chris clenching on day 1, I hope he brought a change of underwear today. Grassy went wide to the exit, but still tighter than Clare - nothing that can't be remedied from the entry tomorrow. (mt)
Not bad, for a first shot at bumping for most of us in the boat. A significant change in tactics from the previous day, when we didn't get close enough to Jesus to really go into offensive mode.  
Good first half, according to plan, followed by intense second half, when bumps push after bumps push made us gain on Clare, but were not sustained enough to get us closer than canvas.  
As the bow girl, it was super frustrating to feel wash periodically, and we got to the point when I could hear their oars clicking when they feather, and make out their cox's words. But that never lasted more than a few strokes.  
Our pushes became less and less effective as we rowed down the reach, and by the time we heard the cheers of M1 between the railway bridge and the P&N, it was becoming clear that the bump was not going to happen. We focused on finishing the race without incident, with Newnham far behind, never a real threat.
We at least have the satisfaction of proving the predictions of the bumps program wrong, which saw us as "too high up the chart, and easy pickings for Newnham".  
Let's prove them wrong again tomorrow!
(Zoe W.)
Ow. Ow ow ow. Good start, great first half, couldn't quite seal the deal down the reach, painful row to the line with newnham miles behind. This was just the trial run. (Imogen)
Au.  
Couldn't find the rabbit in the hat.  
(B. Kesek)
Friday
Rowed over
Newnham, being hounded by Christ's, went back to their "Go Hard" strategy leading to a repeat of day 1 in terms of Newnham on us, and then a repeat of yesterday in terms of us on Clare. Highly unfortunate that we had to take our moves early to escape Newnham but Bumps is often unfair. Tomorrow we're back to a full strength crew (huge thank you to Julia Attwood for subbing) and we're going to fly. (mt)
I am disappointed we didn't get to do our "pre-bumps push" / chase the whistle move we had planned to do in order to move from half  to a quarter of a lentgth, as pressure from Newnham (themselves pressured from Christ) had us spent our bumps pushes on them. It would have been awesome to have a real shot at bumping Clare.  
Absence of panic even with overlap, and good steering by MT meant that we were able to move away, and Newnham blew.
Which is when Christ, who, until then, were steadily moving up on the towpath side of the Reach, veered and harpooned Newnham (according to PF, Christ thought we had been bumped and were moving for the overbump, and their bankparty had to be reminded to go for Newnham). After that, we tried to refocus our attention on Clare, but they were farther away than ideal, and we quickly realized the bump was not going to happen, so MT called for us to wind it down at the railway bridge, and we rowed slowly towards the finish line.  
Tomorrow will be a question of bumping Clare before Christ bumps us, so all-in for a sprint!
(Zoe W.)
Solid start, taking a good chunk out of Clare and holding Newnham and Christ's behind. Lost some momentum with a shaky first corner which shifted our focus onto defending from Newnham rather than attacking Clare. Newnham slowly crept up on us as they went hard for the bump in a bid to escape Christ's.

We had to start taking pushes up the Plough Reach with Newnham far too close to comfort behind. Rounding Ditton they kept up the pressure relentlessly and had gained an overlap. In what can only be described as a heroic refusal to give in we pushed on with mere inches in it for 200m.

A spent Newnham began to speedily fall back into the waiting clutches of Christ's, who had sneaked up on the far side of the river. It was a satisfying sight to watch Christ's veer halfway across the river into a defeated Newnham leaving us with a relaxed but tired row to the line.  

Tomorrow Christ's will be looking to do the same to us and we'll need to get Clare before they get us. Bring on the sprint.  
(S. Gibson)
Saturday
Bumped Clare
Major congratulations from afar! You have made all of FaT very proud with this historic finish! Kate B-L
(Kate)
So, last day of bumps you sprint. It's a tradition as old as the stomp, bumpers, and all the other silly things we do this week. And we all know it doesn't work. You always end up blowing up and desperately having to push off the crew behind, if at all possible. Yet we still do it cause...tradition. Except today we didn't really have a choice. With christ's behind us hungry for blades, we knew we probably didn't stand much of a chance over 2.7km. So sprinting it was... yay.. The plan was to do the start per normal, and then just pick it up til we bump, racing to the Plough, where whatever was bound to happen would. Except we didn't make it there...
The start went down fine and I think we strode at some point, thought I didn't really notice it much as we'd already gotten our first whistle at that point. The ten on finishes after the stride brought us our second set of whistles, which I believed at the time to be some sort of ill conceived scheme, designed to trick us into... something. Anyway, coming around first post, MT called for our "second to none" bumps push and I figured that I might as well give it a go, even if the whistles are lying, given that we'd basically covered half the distance to the designated fate point already. And the whistles kept blowing. And blowing. And blowing. And then we held it up.  
SUREAL!
Having chased them down the reach, coughing and vomiting  
on previous days, catching them in the gut without dying prolongely was AMAZING! Sprinting worked! We were stronger, hungrier and faster and so we bumped!
Excited about operation toast next year!!
(B. Kesek)
What an amazing result! A crew that has risen to the challenge and thrived under pressure over four seriously hard days of racing. So much potential for next year, but for now just bask in the glow of your richly deserved bump and highest ever position for a FaT 1st Women's VIII! (Jon)
To sprint, or not to sprint - that is the question. Luckily for us, Christ's made the decision pretty simple. We closed to a length on Clare in the latter stages of our start, closed to 1/2 in the middle of our transition push, a canvas in the middle of our push off 1/2 a length, and overlap as we reached the step in our bumps push. Somewhat mirroring the Grad VIII, it must be noted how incredibly distressing it is to have such well defined sequences, which everybody is familiar with, which work well, only for the gap to close so rapidly that the cue for the next move comes in the middle of the previous one! We hit them in First Post Corner, and we have a nice hole in the boat to prove it.

Joking aside, last night a severe lack of alcohol in the cloisters and at dinner (beers after outings with the grad boat building an unusual non-zero tolerance perhaps) meant that I was unable to channel my inner-Jackson upon reading in my card from M1 that "one of these days a FaT crew may actually impress you". This seems as good an alternative platform as any. If any crew has impressed me whilst at FaT it has been this term's W1. Through a fractured term on the water, every single girl has put the effort in on land to make the boat faster, to push each other on to reach new limits, whether it be leading weights sessions for the newer girls, training with CUW in the background, or just knocking second after second after second off their splits. Two weeks ago when we finally come together as a set crew, we knew we had big improvements to make. Whilst there were some rocky outings along the way, whenever we really, truly needed to step it on, to find that extra gear, to push that little bit harder for that little bit longer, it happened. When we had Newnham close behind/beside us on days 1 and 3, we could have given up. Nearly half the crew's first introduction to bumps was spooning off head last term. Nobody could have blamed them for wavering, for thinking this is it, it's happening again, now we give up. But they didn't. We had the strength, the mental toughness to keep going, the grit to take push after push, full crew, and just let Newnham blow hard behind us. And then there's today...today was something special. Coming into first post, we were moving the fastest we've been all term; I don't need a speed coach to tell me that. I thought out final push was a formality: the words necessary to tell the crew that this was it, that we would just hold our boatspeed and use the corner to hit them. I was wrong. No other crew I've sat in has come close to having the cohesion of that lift. Technically we're not particularly noteworthy, we certainly don't have the pedigree of the men's side, so you could be forgiven for thinking that we finally sharpened a bit, or sat up that little bit more. Maybe those things did happen, but that's not what was impressive. What was impressive was that 8 girls believed in all respects, without exception, that they would be backed up in what they did by the 7 others. And they were.
(mt)
So proud of you girls (and guy). You committed to each other and making the boat work, and your dedication shone through today. Congrats on your success!! (Yining)

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