The Club's Results

May Term 2015

2nd men's VIII

Head of the Cam (2nd Mays)

2nd
Time: 10:00
Solid race. Absolutely nailed it and were 17s ahead of our competition. Sadly Robinson spoiled our fun by being in the same Mays division as us, but we had a chunky row from start to finish.
(John)
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Cambridge Head-2-Head (2nd Mays)

2nd
Time: 13:47
Two decent legs and defended our title as fastest M2 on the Cam. Our wind for the finish was too good; in what became a theme for the term, we need to learn to push ourselves closer to the limit throughout all pieces.
(John)
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Nottingham City Regatta (IM3 8+)

Heats
5th (29s down)
Time: 7:21.9
After the excitement of the IVs, jumping back in the VIII felt stable. We did our thing and it wasn't enough. Not a perfect race, not awful either, and we were at least within fighting distance of the crew ahead of us. Again, this just wasn't enough.
(John)
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Cambridge 99's Regatta (2nd division)

Quarter finals
Beat Clare M2 by 1 length
Clare M2 were faster than I expected but we did our start, strode down to a fine 34 and moved steadily away from them. We were never in danger of losing, but we worked damn hard for the length lead we won by. They went on to win the plate. (John)
Semi finals
Lost to Wolfson M1 by 1.5 lengths
Wolfson were decent. Their start was better than ours, and our start an improvement on the first race. They took ground which we never took back, and then carried on moving away from them. They were aided by a bye in the first round, while I and others were definitely still feeling shaky, but the guys in the Wolfson boat were big enough and rowing well enough together there wasn't much we could have done. They went on to beat Maggie M2 in the final, denying me revenge for Pembroke Regatta in Lents. (John)
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X-Press Head Race (2nd Mays)

5th in category, 2nd fastest M2
Time: 8:15
Not our best rowing. The wind was impressively strong, and this had some kind of psychological impact on our rowing. Even in the sheltered areas simply sitting the boat became a thing we couldn't do. Our race plan was to start as close behind Darwin as possible, then try to blow up by the Plough and spook them by moving closer, as we planned to in bumps. What actually happened was Darwin started miles away and we never got close to them, and we paddled it round at somewhere between 30 and 32, making the rowing calm but still rocky. We weren't remotely dead by the Plough, but this translated into a solid row down the Reach as we tried to put into practice our focus on drive separation. Occuring the day after 2k tests, it was never going to be our best race, but a bit more of what we'd had earlier in the term would have made it more pleasant. Our thanks to Alex Caulfield for coxing us today! (John)
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May Bumps

Wednesday
Bumped by Wolfson
Wolfson were quite fast.

They moved pretty hard off the start, and once they got two whistles we called our bumps push. This was mildly successful, and held them for 20 strokes or so. Coming into first post, hard steering around Darwin ahead cut our canvas lead until we got bumped on the entrance to first post.

Keen for tomorrow.
(Barney)
We went into today knowing that Wolfson were faster than us, and by a reasonable margin. However, we'd put on a lot of race speed in the last week or two and were hitting some decent rates on the start, so we thought we should be able to give Wolfson a decent fight.

This turned out to be a gross overestimate of our ability. A tense row up to the start with reasonable pieces on the way preceded a decent start which saw us marginally gain on Darwin. Our rhythm wasn't the best, letting Darwin move away as Wolfson began eating up the gap monstrously quickly. We strode down to 42 initially, and then again to 38 before rapidly taking it back up to 41 during a bumps push I don't at all remember. We lost the remaining canvas of clear water as we manoeuvred around a slowly clearing Darwin/Christ's bump out immediately ahead of us. They hit us shortly before First Post corner. FaT M2 Mays are still going down...
(John)
Thursday
Rowed over
Not our best row, but it got the job done.

Queens' never got particularly close, and bumped out on Ditton, leaving us with a quiet row across the line.

Christ's II up tomorrow. Let's go.
(Barney)
We'd sparred with Queens' the Monday before bumps and come off better so we felt fairly safe from behind going into today. There was very little chance of us attempting to bump back Wolfson, so we were prepared for the long haul.

Our paddle up wasn't a disaster but I didn't enjoy it much either; the high was the half slide rate build which we've been improving faster than our racing. The race went off and we did our start with water flying around all over the place and essentially no composure, but it was sufficient to keep us outside station from Queens' and to hold Wolfson initially. They bumped out shortly after the Motorway Bridge (boding well for tomorrow) and we attempted to settle down. Through the gut and Grassy we began rowing the race we wanted, and gently pushed Queens' away. I smacked the water with my blade and tried very hard to catch a crab, but luckily got the blade square again just in time - this race constituted some of the worst rowing I've done in years... Sorry.

Pushing round Ditton and onto the Reach it was easy to feel like Queens' didn't have it in them to bump us and our rowing got gradually calmer. When they were finally hit from behind by Corpus we attempted to obey our race plan and keep it high but the rate gently slipped as we all felt the pressure on us come off. I lost track of my blade again. By the time Sidney chasing the optimistic overbump had been caught by Pembroke behind them it was down at 32, and we all waited for what felt like far too long before the call came from the bank and then from Liv to take it down 6 and paddle to the finish. The rowing naturally became sloppy with a lack of motivation from behind; annoying when you want to look good in front of all the crews watching, and leading to a bark from Barney. We eventually crossed the finish line in the glorious isolation we'd been aiming at from the start.
(John)
Friday
Bumped Christ's II
Boom. Sharp start, sat on a strong 36 and moved from the start. We walked our way through them, and the last few whistles came very fast before we hit them at the entrance to First Post. (Barney)
I have been getting distinctly tired of writing race reports of row-overs and races during which my crew was bumped (see M3 Lents' race reports for more details :P ) so I thought I'd oblige for M2 Mays' historic first bump since 2010, which also happened to be my first.

After yesterday's fairly average row-over, we were determined to have a much more positive warm-up and race. We once again showed off our nice square blades frontstops build to the other crews on the river, and had a burst to 32 that felt more like 24 before marshalling. Our half-slide rate build to rate 52 and burst on the reach felt much more controlled then earlier this week. Unfortunately, we still didn't manage to get a great start at the plough, although this was compensated a little by having quite a nice and relaxed paddle down to marshalling.
On the start, we were much less jittery than yesterday, having remembered which seat we were supposed to row in and not having faffed around quite as much after the 4 minute gun.

After my epic races last term, part of me was hoping for a heroic bump just before the finish or something like that. Unfortunately for some of the spectators, Christs' M2 and myself, the bumps charts are seldom reflective of relative ability - which is why the races are fun, I suppose. We were hammered before first post corner by Wolfson on Wednesday (probably the fastest boat currently in the division, and who completely deserve their blades) and hammered Christs' M2 before first post corner today.

As for the start, ours was decent for once (accompanied with encouraging 'MOVING' calls right after the gun), with our rowing deteriorating for a couple of strokes in the wash under the motorway bridge. After that, we found our rhythm (rate 36 that feels like 32) for the first time since the beginning of bumps. We got our first whistle shortly after the bridge, 2 whistles about 40s later, then 3 whistles followed by continuous whistles immediately after. During the short time that we were racing, it was extremely pleasant to see Corpus Christi falling outside station behind us. Holding it up was a little confusing, with most people rowing on for a few strokes after the call as it was unclear exactly what was happening. After having parked on the outside of the corner, we cheered on the rest of the division and collected greenery.

The row back was amazing; it feels really nice to be cheered on by the crowds, and seems fitting payback for a term's hard work. The strokes were nice, smooth and sat (until we easied around the railway bridge, that is...), and I just found myself grinning like a maniac from the bow seat.

Bring on tomorrow and the second historic bump to make us the first M2 (Lents or Mays) to go up since 2008.

PS: I'll continue to work on sharp catches, as the lack of backsplash really spoils the pictures.
(Neil I.)
We'd passed a pulled-in Christ's crew (courtesy of Wolfson) shortly after the Motorway Bridge on the previous day, so we were pretty sure that we were faster than them. I say this; we'd been pretty sure that we were faster than them for the previous 6 months, so despite the annoyance of Day 1 we went into this race determined to show why we'd been training this term.

The crew chat revealed a unanimous agreement that our rowing on Day 2 had been shocking (shame it was all captured on GoPro) and today we decided to concentrate. This led to a decent warm-up; our first burst was relaxed, Neil was impressed by our half-slide rate build, our second burst felt easy and in the practice start we finally got close to the looseness and precision we'd achieved in training. We were feeling pretty good.

The 4-minute gun went, everyone got back in the right seats and we got our heads in the boat, I visualised the first stroke over and over again (as Neil said, trying to think any further ahead just didn't work). On the start gun we leapt forward; it wasn't perfect but it was an enormous improvement on previous days. Wild encouragement from Alex on the bank let us know we'd taken distance off Christ's.

A few dodgy strokes under the Motorway Bridge and past the outflow were quickly forgotten as maybe 40 strokes in we got our first whistle. This encouragement spurred us on and one stroke into Liv's power ten we got the second whistle. Christ's crumbled at this point; seconds later we had 3, and the following stroke we had overlap. There was no need to bumps push; we got the legs on together in the wash and ended the race there. Hopefully this would make us the first M2 in about 5 years not to go down...
(John)
Saturday
Bumped Downing II
This set of bumps has been so much more exciting and less painful than my last - I can now see why people actually enjoy these races. What was meant to happen did happen, and I believe that we are all happy about how the week's events unfolded, despite being bumped on the first day. Apart from the row-over, we rowed near the best of our abilities, and continued on improving over the week. It takes some serious flair to bump before or just after first post corner in the second division. On that note - congrats to Wolfson who bladed by bumping before the corner on all four days, you guys have an insanely fast start and sprint. On the same note - thanks guys for the awesome rowing on Friday and Saturday, and I'm so happy to have been part the crew that gave John and Crouchy their exciting last two bumps races.

As for what happened yesterday, a great square blades warm up allowed us to get the sit of the boat right and we found our awesome rhythm in the bursts. The 1k before marshalling was probably the best paddling we've done this term, and it really helped us get into our race mindset. The bursts down the reach were good and we actually managed a really good start for once in front of the crowds at the Plough. We were soaked by the persistent drizzle at this point, but we did not allow this to distract us and focused on our race plan before the 4 minute cannon.

As for the race, we had a good start, gaining on Downing due to the corner advantage, and then moved outside station during the stride as they were carrying out, to the best of their abilities, a 'sprint or die' race plan in a last ditch attempt to avoid their spoons. Unfortunately for them, the best of their abilities only carried them halfway down first post reach, and then they died, at which point we got our first whistle. As for us, we strode it down to 38 and then to 36, at which point we found the oarsome rhythm with vast amounts of ratio that we had been trying to get all week - our excellent warm up that allowed us to calm down had paid dividends. This the best rowing I've done so far, it was a bit of a pity that it couldn't last longer, really :P

After our first whistle, it was essentially a foregone conclusion, as we just ate up the remaining distance. We got 3 whistles coming into the corner and continuous whistles as we came out of the corner for only the second time this week. In the gut, I could see their canvas progressively getting closer to Crouchy's blade, but realising what was at stake, I made sure that I heard the 'hold it up' call twice before I stopped rowing. We were slightly inefficient at clearing from the middle of the gut, pulled in and collected ridiculous amounts of greenery in a haze of happiness. I created a jungle replica around me in the bow seat and Crouchy gave himself wings to celebrate his victory - we'll be fined, but as the first M2 to go up since 2008, I think it was justified.

The row back was not quite as good as the race, but no-one really cared and I for one could not see much due to the branches around me.

Celebrations, photos, singing and much more ensued...

Despite the result being only 'Up 1' on paper, I believe that this is the beginning of FaT M2's climb back up to the top the second division, although we might never reach the highs of 2007-2010, as the grad colleges appear to have learnt how to row (as we found out to our expense on the first day). We have all learnt a lot from this term's rowing, and provided we can carry all of that into next year's campaign, I can see a time when Maggie M2 will be bumpable and the M2 headship in sight. We shall see... ...when the cannon comes!

Update: We were not fined for excessive greenery - CUCBC do not seem to have their eyes or their priorities in the right place. Oh well...
(Neil I.)
We were all pretty fired up for this race, sitting down near the lock after some of the best rowing we've done this term on the warmup. We knew we had a good race pace, and were eager to give Downing their spoons.

A solid start was followed by a good transition to race pace, and we coped better than the previous few days with the wash under the bridge. Coming under the motorway bridge, I heard a call from the bank that we were just inside station, and began to prepare for a long race. Within 10 strokes, however, we had our first whistle, then the next few whistles came quickly.

The final few strokes before the bump was one of the best experiences in my bumps career so far - coming round First Post, we hit a wall of noise from the bank, at the same time as getting three whistles. Liv was screaming over this mayhem, calling a power 10, and three strokes in we had overlap. The bump followed quickly.
(Barney)
I was a bit more worried going into this race: Downing were clearly not terribly good, but they'd been hit on Day 3 at about the same point as we were on Day 1, so I didn't think the speed differential would be that great.

We introduced some square blades into our warm up to try to stop us feathering out of the water and otherwise finish more cleanly, and fix the irritating dip to strokeside. It worked; after our best legs-only rowing I think we've ever done, we did a burst at 32 which was golden. All I could think was that if we'd managed to hit this for HoRR our result would have been phenomenal. The rest of our warm-up put us in the right frame of mind; some poor strokes paddling but everything at rate actually worked. Every time I felt nervous about the race I remembered how Downing must be feeling going into their final opportunity to avoid spoons, and this made me feel better.

It was a glorious soggy day, with mist and constant drizzle. David Jones kindly lent us his umbrella to keep us relatively dry, and we entertained ourselves watching various people have a go on Dad's hand powered trike. Neil nearly incapacitated a couple of innocent spectators (as I so thought, until it was pointed out to me that they were Pembroke supporters).

We did our start, we settled onto rhythm, and we happily rowed along First Post reach for a while, hearing a couple of 'Moving!'s from the bank. I really didn't feel like rowing the long race but had already resigned myself to a much later bump than Christ's, if we hit them at all. My pessimism was ill-placed, however, as we got the first whistle most of the way along First Post Reach. The second whistle didn't take long after that, and the cheering of the crowds around First Post corner spurred us on to take the remaining distance. Downing had gone off at a sprint and when they died, they died very quickly. We hit them in the first part of the gut (bow pair saying they rowed along with the stern canvas of the Downing boat within touching distance off to the side).

So we gave Downing spoons and became the first FaT M2 to go up since 2008. Yeah boys! Kittens. We picked up an impressive amount of tree and had a proud paddle back, trying to keep the boat level without being able to see through the leaves in front of our faces (or being able to tap down due to the branches of the person behind...).
(John)
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