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W2 Lent bumps: 2 from 2

Day 1:

On Tuesday W2 arrived at the boat house full of anticipation of what would be, for 8 of the crew, our first ever bumps campaign. The row to the start was punctuated by constant calls to slow the rate and not rush the slide as the nervous anticipation showed through. We had no idea what to expect as neither Anglia Ruskin in front nor Trinity Hall behind seemed to have entered any races this term, but we knew we were going into the race on good form and were determined to put out a strong performance.

As the cannon went, so did the cox box and bow four could only hear intermittent noises from the front of the boat, but thanks to a very well-rehearsed start sequence and Frances' reliable intonation we produced possibly one of our best starts to date, reducing Anglia Ruskin to one length by the end of the start sequence. Hearing the first whistle, the adrenaline took over and we were rating about 40spm as we devoured the water separating us. Our speed proved too much for Rosie bank partying as she spectacularly fell off her bike in front of the St John's Ambulance medics (luckily their attention wasn't required), and one whistle was quickly followed by two under the motorway bridge and three as we pushed off the bridge. As we found out afterwards, Anglia Ruskin had reduced Clare Hall ahead of them to about half a length so we certainly needed to produce a quick bump, and that we did, bumping within about 1m20s of the cannon.

Day 2:

Going into Wednesday, the crew was generally much calmer as we now had actual experience of all the events Matt had told us about in the days leading up to bumps (and the many videos he and Rory made us watch at crew pasta). We knew that Clare Hall were well within our reach as long as we stayed relaxed and focussed, and produced a good row. Thanks to the kind donation of a cox box from M1, we had another good start and were putting pressure on Clare Hall from early on. Having escaped a bump the day before, they were clearly a bit more awake at the start today and it took us a little longer to get a first whistle, which we managed as we hit the motorway bridge. We were once again rowing at 40spm and began to bear down on Clare Hall, though they held us at half a length for a few strokes. We continued to advance on them and began to see their cox in our peripheral vision at bow and 2. However their cox was very reluctant to concede and only when we had contact between our bow ball and their 7 did we claim another well-deserved bump after 1m43s.

It was another great performance from this crew and bumping a university crew followed by a college W1 is testament to all of the hard work and commitment shown this term. After a rest day on Thursday we look ahead to the second half of the competition, eager to continue our form as we get ready to chase Darwin W2.


All heads in the boat rowing home after Wednesday's bump

Day 3, Lent Bumps 2017: M3

It is a shame that race reports must be reasonably restrained - what I would like to write would probably result in a stern reprimand, at the very least, from someone somewhere. 

Two row overs had left the third day of Bumps as "D-Day", "our cup final", "our Istanbul". No footballing metaphor (any metaphor in fact), however, suitably captured the enormity of the day of racing that lay ahead of M3. Sidney II lay in wait and with a fast Caius chasing us there was no chance of a row over. Day 3 was to be all or nothing. Despite the danger of being overawed, of choking when it mattered most, the row up suggested that no one was being fazed by the situation - there would be no getting cold feet like some members of the crew (no names here) in Cindies. 

The minutes flew by as we waited on the bank for the chance to write our own piece of history. Four minutes - into the boat. One minute. Go. 

Draw 1. Draw 2. Draw 3. Wind. Lengthen. Stride now. The boat glided through the water, Sidney were reeled in stroke-by-stroke. The first whistle came around First Post corner, soon there were two. Caius were being held, but they did not matter. The call came to kill off Sidney. Up went the rate by 2, and we were greeted by three whistles. Roared on by Hannah and Jack, Sidney's resolve was broken just before Grassy. The bump was secured. The carnage that befell the rest of the division did not matter: M3 had beaten the elements (once again), held off a strong Caius crew, and sent Sidney packing. 

Very well done to the whole crew, most of whom secured their first ever bump. Having rowed home once now adorned with ivy, the boys are itching to give it another crack on Saturday and get a second bump to round off an excellent week's effort. 

Day 2, Lent Bumps 2017: W1

With Thursday came day two,

we were chasing a very strong crew.

With power and force,

we rowed the whole course,

Queens we are coming for you.

Today looked to be of of our toughest races, chasing Caius who had been placing within seconds of us all term. They were chasing a weaker Queens, with a bump likely, but still our race plan was to grind them down over the entire course. We held them at station off the start and with little pressure from Peterhouse behind we settled into a semi-silky rhythm. We continued to hold them on station right up to grassy corner, where unfortunately they bumped Queens, and the crews ahead of them had also bumped out. With people bumping out all around us we were left to finish the course solo, but we used this to produce a very strong and promising row over. We held our pace in the final stretch, cheered on by M1 and our tbc-lunch-dates Christ’s M1. Today we showed that we can row the course well at our target rate and that we do have much more to give this week. Tomorrow we will use the pressure from HHLC behind to power us towards Queens. We have had a taste of bumping this week, and tomorrow W1 come back for more sides.

Day 1, Lent Bumps 2017: M1

M1 awoke to a rose-coloured sky for our morning pre-paddle, the wind having dropped to almost nothing, with only a slight whisper of "SCCBC, SCCBC, SCCBC" in the air. As Basile and Jack rumbled through the door an average of 10 minutes late between them, and Jon began his obscenely long stretching and contact lens ritual, the rest of us felt a strange sense of calmness. Everything was as it should be. Everything was ready.

The morning row reflected our new mindset, the turns felt sharp and the pause felt long (this is a good thing). I was still sending backsplash reminiscent of the tsunamis that followed the eruption of Krakatau backwards over bow six but anyway, that's missing the point, we all (well stern pair at least) felt good and more importantly, we were having fun.

After a hearty breakfast in the bar (attended by stern pair) we all parted agreeing to meet (ON TIME) at 1500 to kick off our Lents campaign. At this point I realised I had completely forgotten to rearrange my chemistry practical, so swiftly commenced a rescue mission to save as many tripos marks as I could before this time. Having saved basically none at all, I arrived at the boathouse at 1500, to find the crew already there (apart from Chris, Chris was late, shame on Chris). Following some questionable music choices (e.g. "Waka-Waka" by Shakira, (metal version), and "Give it Up" by KC & The Sunshine Band) we headed downstairs and, cheered on by a W2 that have now got the same number of bumps in the last two days as I have in my entire life, rowed off down the river. (Well done W2)

bla bla bla... marshalling.... bla bla bla (you get the idea)

And we were off, scything through the water like Stuart through the heart of seemingly every girl on the Spotted: River Cam Facebook page. We hit a strong rhythm at rate 38 and drew within station on Christs, holding Churchill on station. Hitting the wave-tank that is the gut, we lost some send and then slipped further back after following the wide-line around Grassy as instructed by our marshall (Churchill obviously not getting this memo). End result: we had a crew only three-quarters off our stern and Basile was starting to squeak. I've been in crews where that would have been the end of that, but not today. We found our tempo past the Plough and locked it in round Ditton, hardly feeling the gust and sending the boat effortlessly.

At the end of the day we were three lengths up on Churchill, still feeling fresh and ready to have a go at 'Binson tomorrow. Watch this space.

Day 2, Lent Bumps 2017: M2

We were greeted by much warmer, drier weather today. Down our trusty coach, we had some old stooges to keep up our spirits at the P&E. Some technical issues meant that James’ usual sultry tones over the cox box were reduced to static, deciding that in the absence of clear calls it could only mean ‘row harder’. Being chased by Maggie off the line we were pulling away as Magdalene drew them in and bumped them in the gut, exacting revenge from the previous day. We stayed on station with Hughes much of the way, Pembroke having bumped back against Emma by Ditton, but couldn’t draw them in any closer over the still-gusty Reach. Buoyed by cheers from W1 from the bank coming up to the P&E, our rowing mysteriously tidied up and we finished off the row over. Bring on day 3.

Day 1, Lent Bumps 2017: W1

There was once a Catz W1,

whose Lents day 1 was a winner.

They powered from the start,

their rowing an art

And Peterhouse were eaten for dinner

Looking towards to day 1 we were nervous about being chased by a strong and experienced Hughes Hall/Lucy Cav with a looming track record of blades. Following their progress throughout the term, we were well matched over a 2k course. Our race plan: to bump Peterhouse to avoid a long battle with Lucy Cav/HH. We were quick off the start, gaining half a boat length on Peterhouse, but behind us they also gained a similar distance. Keeping calm, we kept our rowing technical and responded to Alex's calls, settling into a silky rhythm. Storming under the motorway bridge, we heard the whistles coming, and soon we were on continuous. By now HHLC had blown out after an explosive start and they were falling behind with every stroke, looking to be less of a threat than we had originally anticipated. A kill call and cry out of “for the wheel!” from Alex saw us snatch Peterhouse a few hundred metres after the motorway bridge. A promising start to our lent bumps campaign left us in high spirits. We look towards our race tomorrow knowing we have a tough race ahead, but we have a tough crew to field. Lucy who?

*S.C.C.B.C…S.C.C.B.C…S.C.C.B.C*

Day 1, Lent Bumps 2017: M3

On paper at the start of term M3 seemed destined for mediocrity, on the water even more so. Pembroke Regatta came and went with little to show for it. A loss to Pembroke M3, followed by a calamituos start against Emma M3 in a second race (though apparently we did close them considerably) did little to strike fear into the mass of crews marshalling for the Getting-on Race. Nevertheless, M3 pulled out all the stops to row onto Bumps where they can now really prove their worth.

The first day of Bumps provided much encouragement for a crew comprimised of German post-grads, the odd Hungarian, and a raft of inexperienced freshers. Starting third in the division meant little as Clare M3 bumped King's M2 to clear the way for the mighty SCCBC M3 whose strong start had St Edmund's kept well at bay. Coxed expertly through the corners by Hannah, the boys pushed hard along the Reach into strong winds to hold their place and ensure they did not suffer the same fate as Jesus and St Edmund's who respectively crashed their way into being bumped and overbumped. A row over in such conditions is nothing to be sniffed at. 

With the experience of a row over under their belts, and ever increasing faith in their start, M3 move on to Day 2, itching to give King's a run for their money.


Day 1: Showing the rest how it is done

Day 1, Lent Bumps 2017: M2

M2 pushed off onto a windy, cold river Cam shaking with a mixture of cold and anticipation. With over half the crew new to bumps there was a lot of excitement and hope as we did our squat jumps by control. The remainder of the more experienced had stepped up from the M3 boat last Lents and were keen to exact revenge on Emma, who had kept them from their blades that campaign. After a typically stoic speech from Chris Eddy and some dirty jokes from Joe we were invigorated and put in some solid rowing to scare the other crews. We pushed onto Emma off the start, despite their fly-or-die move on Pembroke. Unfortunately they quickly caught up with Pembroke, who panicked and caught more crabs than you can find off Cromer pier. Hughes started to reel us in around first post, quickly coming within half a length. They had three whistles coming into the gut, an ambitiously large canvas that even Michelangelo would struggle to fill. But coming around grassy they dug deep and the game was up coming just up to the Plough. A valiant attempt: we’ll be coming back at them tomorrow.

Pembroke Regatta 2017

Better late than never... Last weekend M1 took on Emma in the first round of the Pembroke Regatta. It's been several weeks since Winter H2H, so we knew it wouldn't be a walkover despite beating them comfortably there. The row down was too close to call between us, with Sam helpfully pointing out that "they're looking quite tidy." We spun on Plough Reach (after being shouted at by a boat owner for coming within the one nautical mile exclusion zone surrounding his slightly fading paintwork) and drew in to marshall.

The start of the race was a bit of a shambles... Emma with a canvas lead despite not having taken a stroke and the "attention, GO" being called with Sid's hand still in the air and half of our crew not even vaguely near front stops. Even so, we were well practiced in surprise starts, having to execute one a few days before to escape a race-pace Catz W2 who hadn't seen us until it was undoubtedly too late to avoid a messageboards-worthy collision. Even so Emma had half a length by the end of the start sequence and held that down the reach.

Coming under the railway bridge, it was clear all the grim 16 x 2 minutes and 4 x 8 minutes that Sam had been setting us on the ergs were doing their job. We could hear Emma struggling and we capitalized on it, bringing the margin back to canvas. However, following a couple of blade clashes it turned out to be too little, too late and Emma took the race by a nose.

On the upside, Emma went on to the semi-finals, so we're looking forward to bringing some of that form to the bumps campaign starting this Wednesday, following some sparring with Emma this afternoon.

Pembroke Regatta 2017 W2

On Saturday 18th March W2 competed in the second women's division of Pembroke Regatta.

We squared up against King's W2 in the first round (who Matt very kindly "backed us" against). Despite their start being at a higher rate than ours, we pulled away from the beginning of the race thanks to the power we'd developed in practice starts during the week's outings. We settled into a rhythm and continued to draw ahead throughout the race, comfortably finishing 2.5 lengths ahead.

The second round saw us up against Pembroke W2 who were a much more formiddable opposition, being 18 places ahead of us in the bumps starting order. Cheered on by W1, who were marshalling as we rowed past to the start, we prepared ourselves for a strong effort, eager to put the term's large number of high-rate ergs to good use. It was fairly close from the start, though we got our nose in front, and we continued to widen the gap as we settled into a steady pace. We once again had clear water between us by about half way through the race, and the final 500m were almost a victory parade past the cheering M1, as we continued to pull away to finish 2 lengths in front.

Now came the semi-final against Emma W2. 20 places ahead of us for bumps, we knew that they were a strong outfit and would be difficult to beat. Matt's arrival to bank party after his exploits with M1 (and some well-timed sweets provided by Kloe) gave us the motivation we needed as we lined up to start on the towpath side of the reach for the first time that day. It was neck and neck from the start and both crews were level for about the first half of the race. Not used to the pressure of a boat right alongside us, our stroke rate crept up and we got a bit messy with the catches, allowing them to pull ahead in the third minute. As we passed under the railway bridge, we had nothing to lose and regained our composure. Everyone dug deep and we gradually began to close the gap towards the end of the race, but were unable to do so before crossing the finish line a length behind.

Overall, it was a very successful day with signs of exciting things to come for this crew. Matt was "happy to admit you surprised me with your performance today" - it's always good to know you have your coach's unfailing backing. Thanks to Izzy Short and Laura Paterson for subbing, and to Joe Cooper for bank partying and fishing Laura's hoodie out the river. We now turn towards bumps, reenergised and excited for what will be the first bumps campaign most of this crew have experienced - watch this space...


W2 racing in the semi-final