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The Club's Results

Lent Bumps 2022


Coxed by: Emily Man

Rowed over
Tuesday 1st of March marked the first bumps experience for all in M2(a), a historic day for British Rowing, with the exception of Sam Kittle who had subbed in at 7 seat last minute to replace Callum Westwood who was nursing an equally last-minute lateral collateral ligament sprain (mostly self-diagnosed.)

Rowing over is never the most exciting start to a bumps campaign but was certainly better than being bumped. As a spectator, I assumed I would have a better view of what occurred during the race, and could thus provide a more accurate and insightful race report. This was unfortunately not the case, and so this report is based off; 1, things the boys told me when we got back to the boathouse; 2, the date dutifully collected by Chief Performance Analyst K-Dog Hunter; 3, what I could make out of the race whilst dodging spectators and massive puddles on the towpath; and 4, some slightly-made up stuff that will glorify the crew in the history books.

After a chunky row to the start, sandwiched between a roundly bumpable Darwin and an entirely non-threatening St. Edmund’s, a combination of nerves and excitement settled in. Hours of work had gone into preparing for this week and the boys were hungry for victory. After de-kitting the only thing left to do before pushing off was to explain to Emily Man/Wyd Boblo (cox) how we do starts. Although we had been working on this for more than a week prior to bumps, Emily had always executed the appropriate calls with varying success. As the one-minute cannon fires, Coach Fordy begins the monumental task of trying to count down from 60, constantly worried he’d begin counting up again or forget how long a second was. (It’s always sad to see the malicious effects of ageing on such great minds of the past.)

With the push-off complete and just seconds away from the start, the boys focus in on getting to work with a super-chunky start that will send them into the stern of Darwin M1. As the race begins the start seemed powerful from the towpath’s point of view but was described by George Canadine (6) as ‘super splashy.’ Let the record show we must assume EM got the start calls correct because neither GC nor Matthew Yoko (stroke) started screaming out alternative calls to get the boat back in order. However, there was a minor mutiny at this stage and one the rhythm call MY broke away from the race plan and kept the rate at an ambitious 38, inspire of the 34 target rate, claiming “there was much whistling and shouts of “gaining on Darwin,” which the stroke man took as justification for disobeying a direct order. This probably was the right call though.

I was filled with optimism at the very start of M2(a)’s bumps campaign as the gap between Black Prince 804 and Darwin was closing steadily down First Post Reach, at a 1:39 split, with “good evidence for being well under 1:30 for a while” according to Fordy. However, that gap was not closing as fast as the gap between Darwin and Wolfson. Wolfson managed to hold off Darwin for a very short while but were ultimately bumped somewhere between the Ditch and Grassy Corner. It is at this stage that Máté Fehér (2), so certain of M2(a)’s supremacy, was “60% sure we bumped Darwin when we rowed past them,” and came within milliseconds of holding it up. This of course was not the case, as he soon found out, as EM expertly steered the crew through Darwin and Wolfson, receiving high praise from the Marshalls at the end of the race. Rumour has it was at this point that reliable MY caught a cheeky crab in honour of his stern partner CW. Notably, though, it was nowhere near as big or chonky as the overhead crabs CW has a particular appetite for.

Once Darwin had bumped Wolfson, and were out of the race, the boys were faced with clear waters in front and behind them heading down Plough Reach and into Ditton. At this point, the rate was brought down to a chunkier 34 after passing Darwin, and then to 32 once the “coast was largely clear.” It was here we discovered both the unique boredom and excitement bumps can bring. A row over seemed like a certain result at this stage, but that didn’t deter EM from pointing out to the crew that she could see the crew in front (on the long reach, probably a good 5/6 lengths ahead.) There was some relatively technical rowing, though ultimately I’m tempted to say the boys fell into a false sense of security. Towards the middle of the Long Reach it's fair to say Pembroke were gaining significantly, and coming into a threatening position. The last thing we wanted was to be over bumped on our first day out. By the White House the gap was looking good for Pembroke who obviously thought we were eminently bumpable. And suddenly the excitement of bumps was back as the boys got back on the legs, dug in, and began laying down the power this crew is so well-known for…

At the Railway Bridge, the Pembroke crew call an impressive power 10 and manage to gain a length with almost miraculous pace. At this point, it's a real nail biter and it's getting very close to the finish. But the boys accordingly empty the tanks, leaving it all in the boat in the final 200m to secure a row over.

My general sense was that the boys seemed disheartened by a neutral result on the first day of the campaign, but I knew this would renew their determination for a bump on Wolfson when we would come to race again on Wednesday.

By the miracle of modern technology, Chief Performance Analyst K-Dog Hunter has been able to provide us with these insightful statistics for the enjoyment of the readership;

Average pace: 1:55
Average HR: 190
Max HR: 197
Total strokes: 306
Average rate: 32
Calories burnt: 126
Time: 9:46.2
Sweat: 86ml
(Callum Westwood)
Bumped Wolfson
WHETHER we like it or not, there are many things that are short about M2(a);
• Westwood's strokes
• K-Dog's attention span
• Versteegen's tolerance for Canadine
• Emily's list of acceptable coxing calls
• The actual crew

ON the 3rd of March 2022, M2(a)'s second day of Bumps, it was the time taken to secure the first bump that was short. And in honour of this, I will keep my race report relatively shorter than I usually do.

LEARNING from Day 1's mistakes M2(a)'s start was much more technical and effective on Day 2. And whilst I'd like to report that an improvement to the start was the reason we were able to bump Wolfson so quickly, factual accuracy demands I inform the readers it was more likely the 45º angle that Wolfson set off on at the start of the race. The gap was closed to a great extent by our first three strokes purely by aiming down the river, rather than across it. Following their skewed start, Wolfson crawled under the A14 bridge, and onto First Post Reach tight to field-side at a relatively low pace. Some skilled coxing from Emily kept us tight to towpath-side, making the bump all the much easier by avoiding any of the wash from Wolfson's stern. Homerton offered a degree of competition coming from behind, building off a strong start, but they backed off after the first 30 or so strokes, never really threatening FaT's bump.

FOLLOWING the first 20 strokes it was simply more determination, more leg press, and more free speed (via stash) that secured the bump for M2(a) in the following 30 strokes. As the boys approach for the overtake the noise of whistles, cheering and general bumps riotousness drowned out any attempts by Bomber, Fordy or myself (no, I cannot actually coach anyone on anything even mildly related to rowing) to offer technical calls along First Post Reach. However, this was all unnecessary as Wolfson never stood a chance, even against some of the most technically unsound rowing I've ever seen M2(a) produce. The Wolfson cox was slow to concede and thus Emily thought it prudent to remind them of the rules with a gentle tap with our bow, and this marked the end of the race and the start of M2(a)'s inevitable rise through the Div 2 Bumps ranks.

SUCH a result would have been welcome and surprising on its own, however, the speed with which the bump was secured is made only more shocking by the final words of strokeman Yoko. On pushing off, I asked the crew for any final thoughts that could be included in this very race report. Yoko replied with what at the time seemed rather optimistic but turned out to be almost exactly true; "see you in 2 minutes."

ONCE the bump was secured, the celebrations began with the boys delighted to have secured their first victory, and everyone was keen to get their hands on some shrubbery to appropriately denote their glorious performance.

NOW the focus for the boys will be on securing a bump on Homerton, our boathouse neighbours, and if not securing a row over with a strong distance between us and the Pembroke crew who will likely again be in hot pursuit of our stern.

By the miracle of modern technology, Chief Performance Analyst K-Dog Hunter has been able to provide us with these insightful statistic for the enjoyment of the readership;

Average pace: 2:13
Average HR: 192
Max HR: 205
Total strokes: 50
Average rate: 29
Calories burnt: 23
Time: 1:46.9
Sweat: 10ml
(Callum Westwood)

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