After Hughes Hall M1 bumped Jesus M2 and Homerton M1 bumped Pembroke M2, we were left with four lengths to the boat in front of us and no crew in sight from behind. This was the first time in a while where M2 got to row a relatively long piece unimpeded in clear water. Great outing. See you boys tomorrow. (Yi Lee)
As the first Bumps race for a few crew members, tension was high and off the start we allegedly hit rate 43.5 and a 1:24 split. After settling down to a more comfortable rate 40, we were set for a nice calm paddle.
There was a little panic in the stern when Bomber started to shout to get in the middle of the river right before First Post corner and Ilsu took a tight left turn to avoid crashing into Hughes Hall M1 who had just bumped up.
The rest of the race was a very solid row. We distanced ourselves from Pembroke M2 so they were at least two lengths away when they got bumped at the Reach spinning zone and we gained around 3 lenghts on Sidney Sussex M1.
Hopes are high for Thursday when we’ll attempt to follow M1’s example up against Jesus.
Doing a pre-paddle on the morning of the first race seemed like a good idea until we carb-loaded a little too effectively and I was unable to sleep until well after 1 AM. A short 5-6 hours later we avoided the outside possibility of a scratch during Stomp by successfully injuring our five-man's wrist during the pre-paddle. My own wrists were distinctly unhappy as well (though I didn't want to say this too loudly to the crew); but after procrastinating with a prolonged foam-rollering session and figuring out that I could load the outside of my hand without stabbing pains in my forearms, I was beginning to feel pumped up for my first bumps race in 3 years. Watching Homerton M1 push off during a huge downpour dampened our excitement just a little. We decided that our very own backsplash-generated weather system was quite wet enough without having to compound it with British winter rain, and simply sat out the shower. Our relative dryness once again buoyed our spirits, and the pre-bumps nerves showed in a powerful - if very unsat - row-down. Having hidden our speed all term, it was comforting to comfortably hold station with Pembroke downstream and Hughes upstream for the row-down. Meanwhile, Jesus M2 two in front were left hundreds of metres behind, confirming our suspicion that we would be in for the long haul once they were bumped by Hughes. First day nerves were apparent off the start: bow pair were spectacularly ineffective at tapping the boat into position, which probably cost us half a length or so. We responded by winding up to a comfortable rate 43, before chilling down to rate 40. The combined carnage of Hughes bumping Jesus M2 and Darwin catching Eddies within the first 30 strokes required some emergency evasive manoeuvres which likely cost us another half a length. Consequently, Pembroke M2 behind were still on station at First Post despite our strong start. Coming out of First Post, our bank-party spotted Sidney 5 lengths ahead and the possibility of an overbump spurred us on. We steadily closed the distance to 3 lengths and moved away from Pembroke M2 down Plough Reach and were 2 1/2 lengths ahead by the time they were bumped by Homerton on the exit of Ditton. Unfortunately, the lack of pressure from behind focussed our attention on the pain in our legs and wrists rather than the possible overbump, and we didn’t close the distance any further down the Reach. Overall, a good row despite the initial difficulties down to Ditton, followed by a tired last km. A similar race on Friday with no danger from behind awaits - I’m excited to see what we can do!
Being the first ever bumps race for myself and the two other ex-novices of the boat, excitement and nerves were present. The start left a lot to be desired but once the rate maxed out and the rhythms were called we quickly proved that the 50 minute ergs weren't all for nothing. Unfortunately the plan for the long anticipated double overbump on St Edmunds soon went awry as St Edmunds could not hold off Darwin before Darwin could be bumped by Sidney. Clearly they were not paying attention to Ilsu at crew pasta. Thus we had to settle only for the possibility of an overbump, for which I am told 4 lengths is not considered "almost bumping". Thus one day and one repetitive strain injury to the wrist completed, hopes are high for a likely bump on Thursday. (George Mears)
After a term spent hiding our speed, out secret weapon at 5 seat entered in action.
After a quick first whistle and a little hesitation, we rapidly got a second whistle. Homerton, whom we thought would be a bigger threat than Pembroke II on Tuesday, just disappeared behind us. We quickly got a third and then continuous whistle and bumped right after First Post corner.
This was the first bump for 5 crew members and we rowed home nice and proud cheering W1 and M1 who were getting ready for their divisions. Tomorrow, we expect a tougher and longer battle against Darwin or Sidney Sussex. But M2 is ready and hiding its speed no more!
Following in M1’s footsteps, M2 bump Jesus M2 on First Post Corner. Their defeat was short, our victory was sweet. Tomorrow, we go for Darwin. (Yi Lee)
If anyone had any doubt that middle four were the powerhouse of the boat, they were quickly extinguished when our recently altered crew for today was revealed. Wearing a modest amount of stash and raising the average experience of the crew significantly, our very own coach decided to show us how it's done and prove himself worthy of his most recent nickname. With our 2 seat finally knowing how to take taps at the start, everything was set for a quick bump. And while the quality of rowing from the original 7 members of the boat perhaps didn't quite meet the standards set on Tuesday, a quick bump was indeed achieved on Jesus M2, the first ever bump for a majority of the boat. Hoorays were hipped, foliage was foraged, and we rowed home tall and proud to the encouraging cheers of W1 and M1. The full celebrations will have to wait for BCD however, as the battle plans are drawn up and preparations are made for tomorrow's race. (George Mears)
My lack of any serious training since Mays means I was glad that race was over quickly (Jedge)
Unfortunately the pleasant weather from the previous days could not last forever, as the crew showed up to the boathouse with plenty of waterproofs and extra layers. Most members of the crew were not looking forward to the conditions, except for Jamie in which it was just rowing as usual. We also decided for some reason that today should be the day we arrive at marshalling earlier than usual. The number of splash jackets staying on during the race increased significantly from previous days; we didn't want Isaac, the latest rower turned bank party, to put any unnecessary strain on his wrist. The race itself was somewhat uneventful; we weren't able to gain anything on Darwin before they caught St Edmunds, and once again the overbump on Sidney proved to be unachievable. Hopefully conditions for tomorrow are more pleasant as we plan to finish off this bumps campaign on a high note with a bump on St Edmunds.
Nothing exciting. We started slowly knowing we wouldn't be threatened from behind, so that meant we couldn't bump Darwin before they bumped Eddies. This also meant we lacked the aggression for the overbump, and lonely rowed over. (Alessandro Angelico)
With Isaac back in the boat after carefully following medical advice, everyone was ready and raring to go for the final day. Having just done our fastest split of the term during a practice start and with the sun shining, spirits had never been higher. After being told there would be disappointment if we didn't bump by first post, we decided to end the race quickly and live up to expectations. Unlike most races however, the chaos began well after the bump was made. Ilsu demonstrated the importance of advanced techniques such as feathering, the boat became essentially bow rigged with Sam stroking, and after seeing them with his own eyes, Alessandro has given up all hope of ever getting the catches all in on time. It's been an amazing term so far for M2 both in terms of results and crew spirit, and it will only get better going in to Mays. (George Mears)
Judging from the previous days and from the paddle to the lock, Eddies did not quite stand a chance against us. But Bumps are always a stressful affair, and this race proved to be the most stressful of our Bumps campaign, at least for me.
We got a whistle in 10 strokes, 2 whistles in 20, but then had to endure a minute or so with three whistles. Every time Ilsu was about to talk, I was expecting a "hold it up" but instead was amazed by newly invented calls (she replaced her signature "squeeze there!" with a "bump there!").
Finally, we got them into First Post corner, for what was, in the end, a strong and quick race.
The pain was not over for me yet, as I had to endure rowing at Bow for the paddle home, while Ilsu was intent in having a celebratory crustacean banquet in the Stroke seat.
Excitement is high for Head of the River in three weeks.
Such an amazing week for our boat, and even a more satisfying feeling for me and the two other novices in the boat, with this beautiful +2 result at the end. Despite my impressive incapacity to take taps at start on first days, adrenaline shot associated to the races was very addictive, and we are all already looking forward to May bumps! It was not my most productive week at work (yes bumps and a full time job are not really compatible...), but it was really enjoyable to row with all these guys in a very nice crew spirit! Can't wait for HoR in 2 weeks! (Ludovic Pilloux)
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